Mission Beach declares war on swarm of flies

Group hires company to help cleanup effort

SAN DIEGO - Swarms of flies are invading Mission Beach, and now officials and residents are doing all they can to declare their area a no-fly zone.

Every summer, Mission Beach's population goes from about 5,700 to 20,000 people.

However, for the last four summers, there's been one visitor -- maybe millions -- that isn't welcome.

Swell Cafe owner John Vallas said, "People had a hard time eating here, eating any meals and it really affected my business. There were flies everywhere."

Entomologist David Faulker, who was hired to study the problem last summer, determined the flies are not from seaweed on the beach. He found that the flies were coming from trash building up in Mission Beach alleys.

The problem, residents believe, started about four years ago when the city started a recycling program in the area. Additionally, city officials also took away the area's second trash pick-up for the week. Because of that, trash began to overflow.

With no immediate solution from the city in sight, Vallas started a nonprofit group called Beautiful Mission Beach. Together with the Mission Beach Town Council, they have come up with a short-term solution.

The group will hire a private trash company for the second trash pick-up for the week. They have also hired another company that cleans, sterilizes and deodorizes trash cans once a month.

The city also plans to sweep the alleys once a month and residents are being asked to bag their trash better to prevent scavengers.

Property owners, many who live out of town or outside of Mission Beach, pay an extra $125 to $160 for summer months.

Deena Stoeff of Bill Luther Realty said, "A majority of them, they understand the problem. They come here to vacation themselves too, and they don't want to deal with the fly situation that we have. So they're all on board to take care of it."

"It may be too early to tell, but as of now, I don't have any flies on my patio," said Vallas.

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