'Drain Flies' Cause Potential Crisis at the Pittsylvania Co. Jail

Pittsylvania Co., VA - What started out as a nuisance resulted in a total lock down of the kitchen at the Pittsylvania County Jail.

An infestation of flies wreaked havoc on the jail for weeks and almost led to an evacuation of the inmates.

Sheriff Mike Taylor says exterminators, inspectors, and county officials had to work overtime to get the problem under control. Thanks to the fast action of all involved, however, they were able to make sure the facility is suitable for inmates and staff.

Taylor began receiving reports of small flies throughout the jail late last month. Exterminators responded and sprayed, but the problem persisted.

"They told us it would just have to run its course, but the course seemed to just run, and run, and run," Taylor said.

After a second call to the exterminator, Taylor was told all of the pipes needed to be flushed. That's when jail officials learned that many of the old pipes were damaged, which allowed the drain flies access into the jail.
"The term drain fly I guess is the common name, but what they're dealing with is actually referred to as humpback flies," said Extension Agent Stephen Barts.
Barts worked with experts at Virginia Tech to get the bugs identified, but for county officials, securing the jail was top priority.
Taylor says the entire first floor had to be locked down, including the kitchen.
"I did not want to risk any kind of contamination," he said.
Jail staffers made trips to McDonald's to make sure inmates had hot meals, and Taylor met with the County Administrator to decide if they needed to move inmates out while construction workers were fixing the pipes.
He's thankful it did not have to come to that, but he's glad to see that county leaders can work together effectively in a crisis.
"We met that emergency and we tackled it head on, and it worked out for us," Taylor said.
Taylor wants the community to know that security was never breached at any point during the infestation, and DOC regulations for nutritional value were followed for all of the inmate's meals that were prepared outside of the jail.