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Community / Popular café closes after plague of flies

The council’s environmental health team advises: ‘The best advice is to keep your food covered and make sure all food waste is disposed of in a lidded bin.’

The Unken Kaffee at Sumburgh Head had to temporarily close on Friday.

THE OWNER of the popular café at a Shetland beauty spot says she is unsure whether she will be able to reopen her establishment tomorrow (Saturday) following an infestation of flies. 

Unken Kaffee at the Sumburgh Head Lighthouse Visitor Centre had to close early on Friday after the fly problem became intolerable.

Unken Kaffee owner Katja Stübinger: ‘There were flies everywhere’. Photo: Shetland News

Many people across the isles have been complaining about the recent influx of flies. They are most likely cluster flies which are irritating but harmless to human health.

The council’s environmental health team is aware of the issue and is said to be carrying out a site visit to the waste management facility at Gremista on Monday.

However, Unken Kaffee owner Katja Stübinger said there were thousands of these flies at her café, making it unsafe to operate the eatery.

She and her team have since carried out a deep clean of the premises in the hope to get on top of the problem.

“We produce fresh food on the premises and you just can’t do that when there are flies everywhere,” she said on Friday afternoon.

“Hopefully I will be able to open again in the morning but if it is like it was this morning I will not be able to.

“I know that sometimes there are a lot of flies but [I have] never had it like this ever. There were thousands, absolutely unbelievable.”

She said the problem started on Wednesday afternoon, on Thursday they managed to keep them at bay, but today she felt she had no option but to close the coffee shop.

Stübinger said she would post an update on the situation on Instagram and Facebook in the morning.

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The council’s team leader environmental health David Robertson said: “We have had a number of calls from members of the public on this issue, which is likely to have been heightened by recent warm weather conditions. No specific source has been identified.

“We would encourage food outlets to be attentive to more flies being about, especially given the need to maintain good ventilation due to Covid-19. The best advice is to keep your food covered and make sure all food waste is disposed of in a lidded bin.”

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