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Ditchling bothered by plague of flies
Ditchling is abuzz with talk of a plague of flies.
People in the Sussex village say the insects are tormenting them in their homes and businesses.
But the source of the lesser house fly infestation remains a mystery, with some blaming the weather.
Environmental health officers are investigating but so far have not been able to identify why the flies are afflicting the area in such numbers.
Warm, damp weather this year is thought to have provided perfect breeding conditions.
Other areas, including North Chailey, have been affected by large numbers of the flies.
But Lewes District Council has written to 25 Ditchling residents saying they are probably not simply suffering from a general problem.
Ditchling Parish Council chairman Roy Burman, of Underhill Lane, said the problem is so bad that after spraying rooms, hundreds of dead flies have to be picked up off the floor.
He said: “We certainly have been having a worse summer than usual for flies.
“You always get them out in the countryside but it is certainly worse this year.”
Goldsmith Anton Pruden, of jewellers Pruden & Smith in South Street, is just one village centre businessman facing fly trouble.
He said: “As soon as you open the doors it is terrible. If they get in, they cluster in the middle of the room.
“I remember it being a bit of an issue last year but not as bad as this year.”
Next-door, at delicatessen The Larder, netting has been spread across the door to stop the flies getting in.
Customers at Ditchling Post Office said they watch to see when owner David Holmes gets back from the cash and carry store, so they can rush over to buy fly spray.
Tina Porter, of The General restaurant in High Street, said: “It is horrendous. We need a can of flyspray a day. We are talking hundreds of flies.
“It has become really labour intensive, a new aspect to running the business.
Frank Hildige, from Brighton, was in Ditchling with his family today. He said: “We are camping here, and you do notice it.
“There are not enough to ruin things but considerably more than there are in Brighton.”
A spokeswoman for Lewes District Council said: “Environmental health officers are conducting a district-wide survey to establish whether the flies currently affecting residents in Ditchling and other areas are arising from the general environment or from specific premises.
“Preliminary findings suggest the warm, damp weather has played a role in the increase in fly numbers generally, although care is being taken not to form any conclusions until our enquiries are completed next Monday.
“Residents affected by the flies have the full sympathy of the council and we are grateful for their tolerance and patience while we complete our investigation.”
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