Phone: 888-231-1002

Your Problems Start with the Crust!

You can’t talk about eliminating flies without talking about manure crust. Crusting may be the initial problem but the presence of crust is what brings the flies.

With greater concentrations of manure in deep pit buildings, coupled with the increased use of liquid saving watering systems - crusting problems have become common place.

PitCharger has proven to be very successful in digesting crusts. Monthly maintenance with PitCharger greatly reduces the occurrence of crusts. The day to day digestion of manure causes bubbling on the liquid surface and makes it much harder for a crust to get started.

What causes the crust?

Causes of crust include:

  • Low liquid to solids ratio when using water saving strategies
  • Floating hulls in the feed
  • Non-digestible fiber in manure due to DDGS feeds
  • Hair and feed dust

A crust starts with a thin scum forming over the water surface and feed dust, forming a platform for additional manure to build upon. The non-digestible fiber of DDGS feeds mixes with manure and becomes a hard packed "oatmeal" on the bottom and doesn't respond well to agitation or pumping. Once the crust is thick enough that the fresh feces can't drop through it, it will thicken quickly. In the spring and early summer as fans are moving air across the pits and the temperature rises, the drying effect increases the process.

Flies Love Manure Crust!

Flies breed in fresh manure (or any organic matter) that maintains the right moisture content, 50% to 85%. A fly population buildup is easier and less costly to prevent than to control once it’s established.

Flies go from egg to larvae to pupa to adult. The speed of this development is temperature dependent. Under ideal conditions this portion of the life cycle can be completed in as few as 6 to 10 days. The female, typically lives for 3 to 4 weeks in the summer and can produce up to 800 eggs, approximately 75 to 150 at 3 to 4 day intervals. Flies can migrate over a mile but typically movement is limited to less than .06 of a mile.

By attacking and breaking every phase of the life-cycle you can get relief from flies for a good part of the summer. You need to attack not only the adult fly but the maggots and the eggs. One of our recommendations has been to attack all three when you are doing a wash out. When the soakers have chased the maggots up the walls, you have a perfect opportunity to eliminate the eggs by agitating the wet crust that lies beneath the slats. 

This crust is made up of the heavy fiber in the DDGS and manure that fell onto the crust.  When soaked and agitated, most of the manure will sink to the bottom of the pit. The fiber will eventually float back to the surface, but most of the eggs are destroyed.  The maggots have no place to return to and the adults (which only live about 2-3 weeks) can be treated with fly bait.