Homeowners near Lehi mink farm dealing with a fly infestation

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LEHI — Seeing a fly or two buzzing around the house is something a simple fly swatter can handle.

But residents near a mink farm in Lehi are seeing thousands of flies all summer long.

It's been a noisy summer at Brian and Cindy Olenslager’s house in Lehi near 2900 North and 400 West. Bug zappers go off constantly; there are two in the garage and one on the kitchen counter. Their son Luke swats them on the porch with a handheld zapper. And there are fly strips hanging inside and out, covered with dead flies.

“For one thing, my son Luke sneezed up a fly,” said Cindy Olenslager. “We’re sleeping with flies. We’re cooking with flies. This is a problem.”

And not just for the Olenslagers. Neighbors have videos of the flies in their homes, swarming like bees. Several people have zippered door covers to cut down on the number of flies getting in. In a garage, a couple of fans run constantly to push the flies away.

The Olenslagers knew there was a mink farm down the street when they moved in 12 years ago; and yes, minks and the waste they produce draw flies.

“It’s been an issue the whole time, maybe a little worse,” Brian Olenslager said. “Some years are better than others, but this year has been a particularly bad year.”

The fly problem in the surrounding neighborhoods has been an issue for a number of years, and residents have complained to the city and the county but have been told there's not much they can do since the land where the mink farm is located is zoned agricultural and protected by state law.

The Olenslagers said this isn't an "anti-mink farm" issue and there is nothing personal against the owner.

Farm owner Dane Dixon, who was out of town Friday, said over the phone that he's done a number of things over the years to reduce the fly problem, though he wasn't specific.

So what's next for this neighborhood? It's a tight-knit group and no one really wants to move, but sitting outside right now would be nice.

“If somebody has some ideas on other things we could do to keep them away from our house, that would be great,” Brian Olenslager said.

For now, they said they look forward to the winter months when the flies are gone.


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Keith McCord


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