Mausoleums, in general, are beautiful buildings, standing as majestic monuments to the loved ones who are en-coffined in them. These elegant structures, frequently ornamented with bronze and gold accents, marble columns and stained glass windows, are designed and fashioned to mirror a sense of dignity, serenity, and peace. There are two common complications with most mausoleums, however, which, undesirably, distract from the serene and peaceful character from the families of the entombed, and make a mockery of the deceased bodies. These two conditions are mausoleum odors and coffin, or Phorid flies.
Mausoleum smells are from the decomposition process, which occurs naturally as the body passes through the decaying process. Morticians routinely label the offending bodies, “leakers”. These mausoleum smells can be highly overwhelming, and because of the embalming chemicals and the gases coming as a result of decomposition, they can coupled with that pose a health hazard to workers and visitors.
The second problematic issue that is commonplace for many mausoleums is the Phorid or coffin fly. These terrible pests are about one 4th the size of the typical house fly, and while they are in the larval stage of development, coffin flies feed on the decomposing bodies in the crypt spaces. When they come out from the casket as adult flies, they also create a dreadful risk in spreading sickness when they land. Often, they are looking for water, and it is quite typical for them to fly into the eyes, nose and mouths of site visitors or employees in the structure. The flies are so tiny that many folks confuse them as gnats, and insiders in the mausoleum industry do not like visitors to know the truth about exactly where the flies are usually emerging from.
Here is what one visitor to a mausoleum in Glendale, California had to say, “Possibly the most shocking of all is the Mausoleum. I stepped inside and knew immediately something was wrong. There the temperature inside the complex was around 80 degrees. I heard what sounded like insects swarming in one of the walls… many of the vaults have had leakage problems where they have sealed them with shower caulk. As I scanned the flashlight around the room, I saw horrible… damage. There was a discolored substance that ran from the marble plates down to the floor.”
Luckily, there are options to fight both mausoleum odors and coffin flies. For a long time, most inside the industry have tried to use deodorizing sprays, chemical pest control, fly papers, and large fans to deal with the smells and to try to handle the Phorid fly infestations. These sprays and chemicals, etc. have frustrated mausoleum caretakers and other employees, because they are mostly unsuccessful, and also, they become a health risk in the building, producing a noxious condition that could be dangerous to workers and guests as well. A different solution is an electronic machine that mausoleums utilize to neutralize smells and also to manage the coffin flies, which from industry accounts, appears to make the job simpler and easier for the mausoleum proprietors and staff because it is quite effective at controlling the flies and will thoroughly clear away odors on a nightly basis while the structure is empty. Utilizing the electronic method, there is also the surety in knowing that there are not any hazardous poisons being spread through the structure, which in turn makes for a “eco-friendly” treatment which is much healthier for employees and visitors.
Please help to preserve the dignity, peace and serenity for the passed and for their families, and help preserve these beautiful architectures as the memorials that they were created to be. We grieve at the loss of a loved one; there is no good reason to have to perpetually suffer when going to pay respects. If you are in a mausoleum and you observe the tiny coffin flies or if you notice any foul odors, immediately register a grievance with the mausoleum owner and with the Funeral Consumers Alliance,or in the case of a Catholic cemetery, to the church, or the office of the local bishop.