Armies of house flies have terrorised residents of Lilongwe West along Mchinji Road, with the residents blaming the development on a poultry farm which has been opened in the area.
The insects have invaded everywhere in the villages of Mpokosa, Mwandumba, Nkhwangwi, Chigoneka, Chikhawo, Chithope, Chilinde, Mwela and Zalera.
The situation is cause for worry that disease outbreaks could occur as there are hundreds of pit latrines and unprotected water sources in the area.
All residents and villagers interviewed by The Daily Times on Monday and Tuesday blamed the situation on Thanzi Limited, a newly established poultry farm located in the area.
However, Manager of the farm, Anil Alla, said on Tuesday that he did not agree with the assertions by the people living around the area that the flies are originating from the farm, saying the farm actually attracts flies.
"It should be the opposite. Chicken farms the world over attract flies indeed. But we have been taking precautions by periodically spraying chemicals. We last sprayed a month and a half ago. Besides, we bury dead chickens to ensure that there are no flies around," said Alla in an interview on Tuesday.
However, residents interviewed argue that because the spraying is done only in the company compound, the flies are now swarming all over residential compounds which are not sprayed.
The residents said they wanted the government to intervene.
"I understand the poultry farm over there is the problem. Now we can't even clean the homes because immediately you mop the floors, the flies are back all over," said Ainesi Lingitoni in an interview at her residence as she tried to chase the flies buzzing around the place with her hand.
Lilongwe City Council Environmental Health Services Manager Edna Mlanjira said her office was ignorant of the situation, but pledged to move in quickly to establish the extent of the problem.
"We need to inspect the place and after that an appropriate action can be taken. Normally, after such an inspection we can advise on the best way forward. Chicken rearing has its own regulations, it is not just done anyhow but I cannot deduce anything in this case until an inspection is done," Mlanjira said.
According to the Manager of Thanzi Limited, the poultry is currently holding 26,000 live chickens meant for the production of eggs for sale.
The poultry farm has no dumping site such that chicken droppings are heaped in one corner of the farm compound. The farm yard itself is indeed infested with house flies.
However, the area around Chitipi has a number of people rearing chickens, pigs and goats albeit in smaller quantities than at Thanzi Limited.