GR Direct - Sony - Save up to £300 on selected Bravia OLED & LED TVs
Tuesday 28 May 2024
 11.5°C   SSE Gentle Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Nature / SIC may take closer look at flies if they return in high numbers next year

SHETLAND Islands Council may look to carry “formal identification” on flies next summer if they return in high numbers in a bid to explore ways to tackle the problem.

Many local residents reported their houses being besieged by flies earlier this month, and it even caused the closure of the cafe at the Sumburgh Head Lighthouse.

It is not the first time flies have flocked indoors in numbers greater than usual, with the issue experienced in recent years too.

Gulberwick was one area hit by flies this summer and local community councillor Bob Skinley has been on the case to the council’s environmental health department.

He said it was now a “known problem” that needs dealt with. It has previously been suggested that the increase in flies could be related to the dump in Lerwick, but the council believes this year’s surge was not connected to waste.

Environmental health is now saying that if flies return en masse next year staff may look to have the flies properly identified to try to learn more about the creatures.

Team leader David Robertson also suggested that as the UK climate warms some insects appear to be gradually moving further north.

“Whether this particular fly phenomenon we have is climate change related or due to a preventable local issue that could be treated in some way, I am not sure at this point,” he said. “Hopefully we will find out in due course.”

But Skinley believes that by the time problem potentially re-emerges next year, it will be too late.

“My reasoning is that if we can quickly identify the flies concerned then we can then understand their life cycle – particularly their breeding cycle – and their preferred habitat and breeding locations, we can take effective, targeted control measures to prevent this from happening again,” he said.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


“My feeling is that this has been happening for at least three to four years now and is therefore a known, recurring problem and it’s about time it was tackled.”

Skinley also said the impact on local businesses, such as on the Unken Kaffee at Sumburgh, is another reason why it needs a proactive approach.

Scottish Natural Heritage’s Jonathan Swale, meanwhile, was unable to offer any explanation about the increased number of flies.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.