HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Summertime heat doesn’t only attract people to barbecues and the beach, it attracts pesky, party crashing flies as well.
One in particular — the green-fly — is out in force this year.
As CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported, one Long Island town is using an innovative approach to trap the seasonal pest in its breeding grounds.
Normally, the last thing Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino would like a handful of is green head flies, or more commonly green flies.
The voracious summertime biters are no threat to anyone because they’re dead, after having been trapped inside a rather innocuous looking wooden box.
“Once they enter the trap they are unable to escape, and then they dehydrate,” Santino (R) said.
Hempstead Town has set up dozens of the green-fly boxes in their breeding grounds in the swampy areas of the Lido preserve.
The flies can enter the boxes from below, but are then trapped by the covering mesh screen.
Every summer, the female green-flies lay millions of eggs in the marsh, but to do so they need to feast on humans.
“They literally need a blood meal to produce more offspring,” Santino said.
Rob Humphreys knows it all too well since he likes to run through the preserve daily.
“You don’t know you’re getting bitten until you feel the pain. You look down, and there’s a nice little hole, blood coming out, and it swells up and it itches like crazy. I hate it,” he said.
The green flies will head anywhere they can find a human host, whether at the beach or poolside.
“In July and August, there’s no wind, and on a hot day and they’re all over the place,” Joseph Chiodi said.
Town managers said there is minimal cost to taxpayers since the wooden fly boxes can be built in-house a cost of $100 each.
Local gardener Kathryn Heneghan said she loves that there are no pesticides involved.
“I prefer that over any chemical treatment because I worry about my kids,” she said.
Town leaders said with sixty fly boxes, they can capture up to 150,000 green flies a day who will never get the chance to bug you.
It’s an approach that may be tried elsewhere, because green flies swarm coastal areas from New Jersey to New England.