The housefly, Musca domestica, is the most common of domestic flies. Originally from central Asia, they are now one of the most widely distributed insects, found associated with humans all over the world. Houseflies feed and breed in animal feces and garbage, and also commonly visit human foods. Their legless maggots feed directly on the material in which the eggs were laid. Adult flies have sponge-sucking mouthparts that allow them to eat only liquid foods; they eject saliva to break down solid foods.
Although they do not bite, this species is a problematic pest as a vector for more than 100 serious pathogens (viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes), including those causing typhoid, cholera, salmonellosis, dysentery, tuberculosis, anthrax, and parasitic worms, carried to human food on the fly’s body parts or in its regurgitations or defecations.
Control of houseflies especially in poor countries with inadequate sewage facilities and sanitation is an important public health concern. Houseflies breed readily, a female can lay up to 500 eggs, and in tropical areas this species undergoes up to 20 generations/year. Two other fly species are similar and often confused with the housefly: Fannia canicularis, the lesser housefly and the stable fly. , Stomoxys calcitrans.
Where they live?
True Flies can be found almost anywhere. Adults of many species are strong fliers, which helps them locate supplies of food for their larvae. Fly larvae are most common in damp habitats, and flies populations are largest in humid places with lots of moisture.
Are Flies cause of concern?
Houseflies carry a lot of diseases; it is estimated they carry over 100 different kinds. Flies sit on feces, garbage, and other waste where they pick up bacterial, helminthic, and protozoan infections. Other than transmitting diseases, ingesting fly larvae can cause intestinal myiasis. Houseflies carry pathogens (vectors for parasites and bacteria) when they land on food surfaces. The contamination happens either through physical contact with the food (or liquids) or from bodily fluids (saliva, stomach contends, urine, feces) from the fly. Here are some diseases transmitted by houseflies.
- Amoebic dysentery: Also called Amoebiasis whereby a parasite infects the intestines. Symptoms include blood or mucus in stool, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach aches. If the parasite gets into the blood stream, it causes liver abscesses.
- Shigellosis: This infection is caused by the Shigella bacteria. Symptoms include diarrhea (stools may have blood or mucus), stomach cramps, and fever.
- Cholera: This is an intestinal infection caused by the Vibrio cholera bacteria. Symptoms are usually mild. A severe attack can kill a person within a few hours due to extreme dehydration. They usually have diarrhea, vomiting and cramps in their legs.
- Salmonellosis: Infection caused by Salmonella. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. People can recover without treatment most of the time. We commonly know this infection as Typhoid fever.
- Trachoma: Infection of the eye caused by Chlamydia trachomatis. Symptoms start as itching of eyes then lead to puss and finally blindness if untreated.
Fly Life Cycle
The house fly belongs to a group of flies known as filth flies, named for their habit of laying their eggs in moist, decaying organic matter - particularly manure and garbage. Each female lays batches of 100-150 eggs over a 3-4 day period. If temperatures are high, eggs may hatch within 7.5 hours, otherwise it may take 1-2 days for them to hatch. The eggs hatch into maggots and feed on the organic material in which they find themselves.
The larvae go through three moults before they stop feeding and burrow for protection in dry surrounding areas, where they pupate. Adults mate within one or two days following emergence from their pupal cases. The entire life cycle can be completed in as little as a week, though more commonly the life cycle takes up to three weeks for completion. During the warmer months the life span of the house fly is 2 1/2 weeks but during the cooler months they overwinter in protected locations in the larval or pupal stage.
What can I do to prevent Flies infestation?
Eliminating House Flies
House fly elimination is accomplished through good integrated pest management (IPM) procedures. The following steps will ride your home and industry of house flies:
Sanitation for the House Fly
Sanitation procedures not only include the obvious (clean trash receptacles, etc.) but also doing the little things that can help reduce the number of house flies in and around a structure. Indoors, make sure that all trash cans are thoroughly cleaned before trash bags are used. All trash bags need to be secured before disposing in an outdoor container. All outdoor receptacles (dumpsters, trash cans) need to be cleaned regularly; they also need to have properly operating covers -- what good is a trash can without a lid? If possible, move dumpsters far away from structures. This will help cut down the number of house flies inside homes and businesses. Keep the areas around dumpsters as clean and dry as possible; house fly eggs and pupae need damp material to develop and survive.
House flies enter homes by several means: doors which do not close fast enough or that do not have a good fit; windows without screens or with screens in ill repair. Flies also enter buildings through tiny cracks around windows and doors; seal or caulk these areas.
Space sprays and pheromone traps can be helpful tools in eliminating indoor Blowflies and House Flies, but the elimination of their breeding sources is the only guaranteed way to eliminate them. Make certain that all possible sanitation measures have been implemented before relying on chemical sprays to eliminate flies. Space sprays can be used to knock down existing house fly infestations, but this is only a temporary fix. If breeding sites have not been eliminated or altered, house flies will continue to be a problem. Surface sprays can be used around windows and doors and should also be used on dumpsters. Any area where flies "rest" or enter an building can be treated with a good surface spray. However, do not spray areas that humans constantly come into contact with or on surfaces where food is prepared or served.
Use baits inside dumpsters and the area around such trash containers, if there are no non-target animals (dogs or children) in the immediate area. Are there homeless people going through the trash at night? If so, do not bait inside the container, but bait the area surrounding the receptacle. Baits should be re-applied after every cleaning or rainfall.
Summary of House Fly Elimination
- Locate and eliminate all possible breeding sites.
- Move all trash receptacles as far from buildings as possible
- Dispose of all moist garbage, rotting vegetation and animal feces in bags; dispose of bags in proper receptacle.
- Keep all dumpsters and garbage containers clean and dry; all dumpsters need tight fitting lids and should be emptied in a timely manner.
- Seal all possible entry points to exclude flying pests from homes and businesses.
- Spray surfaces around windows and doors where flies are seen resting or trying to enter structures. Wettable powders such are the best for surface spraying.
- Use surface spray on lids and sides of dumpsters and other outdoor garbage containers.
- If necessary, use space sprays and pheromone traps indoors to reduce populations of adult house flies.
- Fly baits should be placed on or in dumpsters on a regular basis, during fly season.
Contact a Flora Termite Professional
Call Flora Pest Control Professional an experienced, responsible pest control professional can increase your chance of success in getting rid of Flies.