Flies are in the order Diptera, meaning two-winged. The life expectancy of flies varies from 8 days to 2 months. Flies’ species are over 15000 and can be found in many parts of the world apart from the polar region. They spread diseases due to their fast and wide movement; from garbage to utensils and foods. They also land regularly since they have two wings and thus deposit many bacteria as they land.

Life stages

Eggs: the eggs are laid in clumps of about 300 and hatch after a day.

Larva: at first, they feed on the fluid that comes out of the body. After 1 day, they hatch to the first molt then to the second after the second day. As it nears to the pupa stage, it does not feed and it transforms to a pupa after 4 days.

Pupa: it doesn’t feed and takes 10 days to become an adult.

Adult: after it emerges from pupa, it mates and eats proteins from the body fluids.

Types of flies

Blow flies

Blow flies, phormia regina, are 14mm long, for the adults. They have a dark and a greenish body with a metallic sheen. They have orange pubence surrounding their spiracles. The females give birth to white or yellow eggs of 1.5mm long each.  The blow flies often infest livestock wounds especially on unkempt sheep. They like garbage, carrion and soiled hair. Decaying organic matter forms most of their foods.

Housefly

A house fly, Musca domestica Linnaeus, is a pest present in both farms and homes. This pest is usually associated with humans and is commonly found in ranches, stables and poultry houses. Apart from being a nuisance, houseflies are disease carriers. The females lay over 500 eggs. The adults have red eyes with a black-stripped thorax and a yellowish abdomen.

Blue Bottle flies

These flies are in the Blowfly family. They have a gray head and thorax with a metallic blue abdomen. Their wings are clear and eyes red. These flies live anywhere: in the woods, farms, fields or parks especially the shady areas. They feed on decaying matter dead animals or the living ones with wounds. Their breeding occurs in the warm months; pupae and larvae can survive the winters while the adult may die in very cold temperatures. At times, they lay eggs on animal wounds from which the lava feeds on as it grows. Typically, they are attracted to things with awful smells.

Green Bottle flies

They are of the same size as the houseflies with a metallic green body. Their wings are clear, red eyes and black antennae and legs. These flies are known as the filth feeders; feed on feces, garbage, dead animals and decomposing plants. Since they are associated with filthy substances, they carry disease-causing bacteria that are harmful to humans and animals. Inside the homes, they breed on organisms like dead rats. Their life cycle is completed in a short period though this depends on the surrounding temperatures, humidity or food sources.

Drain flies

These flies are tiny and found in homes near the kitchen or bathroom drains. They do not cause harm although can be a nuisance when in large numbers. They grow in the organic slime which often piles up in the drains. They can also be seen near compost bins. They are also known as moth flies since they are covered with moth-like scales.

Fruit flies

These flies like hovering in the kitchen. They can be often seen in late summer since they like ripened fruits. Grapes, tomatoes, melons and other perishable fruits are responsible for the indoor infestation. Rotting vegetables and fruits also invite fruit flies. These flies are red-eyed and the adults are 1/8 inch in length. Their front part is tan while the behind is black. They like laying eggs near fermented foods. The larvae feed on the surface of the mass fermenting.

Phorid flies

They are of the family phoridae, are small in size and with a distinct hump. They are found in various parts of the worlds, especially in the tropics. Generally, they are weak fliers and often walk fast on surfaces instead of flying. They breed fast in decaying matter, even on corpses and fungi as well thus known as scuttle flies. They are black-brown in color and 0.5 to 5.5mm in length.

Diseases spread by flies

Flies feed on filthy organic matter; feces, wounds and garbage. The flies carry diseases on their legs plus the hairs on their bodies and therefore caused diseases. The adult house flies liquefy food with saliva before eating in the process they transmit pathogens to the foods or the surfaces they have come into contact with. When they land on human food, they cause cholera, typhoid and dysentery. The flies on foods also cause food poisoning.

Other diseases caused by flies are tuberculosis, salmonella, and anthrax, Trachoma, Conjunctivitis and Diphtheria. Houseflies are also known for the transmission of the eggs of parasitic worms. The bacteria carried by house flies such as E.coli and Enterococcus cause diarrhea.

Prevention

  •         For the phorid flies, ensure the sinks and drains are clean and replacing the broken window.
  •         Clean the kitchen surfaces and utensils. Cover foods with tight lids
  •         Cover ripe fruits or vegetables as well as food, or put them in a fridge.
  •         Creation of an air current that will hinder the phorid flies from landing on the places they like is essential.
  •         Garbage tins and bins should be tightly closed.
  •         For the fruit flies, discard or refrigerate the over-ripened fruits. Cracked fruit portions should be cut off since the larvae may be found in the damaged area.

Control Measures

Chemical

Insecticides: DDT BHC or baits can used to control flies. These insecticides can be applied both indoors and outdoors. However, this offers a temporary control. It will work well when sprayed on the flies breeding places. The fly baits like Quickbait contain sugar which will attract adult flies. Flies feeding on the baits die of the ingested insecticide. Insecticides that are pyrethroid—based are effective in controlling flies in homes.

Natural control

Plants do not like the fragrance of Basil. Basil or other herbal plants can be planted in a pot and kept in the doorways and flies will not be able to enter the house. Other plants that can act as repellants include tansy, mint, rue, wormwood and marigold. Camphor wax also repels flies due to its strong smell.

Honey traps can also be set in the homes. The sweet fragrance of honey attracts flies while its sticky nature traps them from escaping.

For the drain flies, removing the slime that accumulates in the drains will prevent their presence since the larvae depend on these. Cleaning the drains include scrubbing them or clearing the clog using bacterial drain killers

Unfiltered vinegar: the fruit flies like the scent of vinegar. Remove the bottle’s lid then cover with a plastic wrap. Poke a hole on the plastic that will permit the flies to enter. Once inside, they can’t exit

A paper corn and a fruit: place vinegar with a piece of fruit I a jar. Roll some paper into a cone and stick at the jar’s top with a narrow opening. The flies will get in but not out.

Clear plastic bags:  The plastic bag is filled with water then hanged at the door entrances. This because flies see plastic bags as spider web due to their eye structure and they’ll fear to come near. Another reason is that the water’s reflection disorients the flies.

A mixture of sugar, pepper and milk: Mix the mixture in equal proportions then pour in a shallow bowl. Flies will drown in it.

Fly papers: Sticky fly papers can be used to eliminate flies. The papers are made sticky by a mixture of resin and castor that is heated till it appears like molasses.  It is then smeared on the paper. This method although, does not create long-term benefits.

Screening: Screening food establishments like houses, markets and restaurant bring a relief from houseflies. However, this method is expensive

Health education: people need to be educated on hygiene, good food disposal, and storage to be cautious on flies.

Fly replants: There are certain substances that flies cannot withstand such as the smell of vodka. Vodka bags will send away flies. Fly repellant oils can also be used. These include natural oils like citronella oil, lavender oil, lemon grass oil and eucalyptus oil keep off flies. When cloves are placed on top of the table, they ward off flies. Smoke from citronella candles also acts as flies’ repellants.

Carnivorous plants: They are attractive and can be used to attract flies. They attack, trap and digest the flies. This can be the Venus fly trap.

Biological control

Fire ants and parasitic wasps can be used to suppress the population of flies. This is a natural control measure which is done by ordering for fly pupae from the insectaries. This fly pupae is infected with parasites; it is spread where flies breed and around homes. The pupae should not be placed in areas of direct sunlight. The parasitic wasps kill immature houseflies and don’t pose any harm to humans. They however, do not work immediately. The method should be combined with other methods.

The advantages of having pest control done by a professional company

  1.                    The infestations of flies easily spread in homes. Hiring a professional providing the services of fly controls, homeowners are assured of eliminating the flies and further prevent recurring infestations.
  2.                  Flies in restaurants can destroy the reputations of the restaurants and other food establishments. It is, therefore, necessary to completely eliminate the flies and in a quick way. This can be effectively done by professionals.

   iii.            A fly control company conducts proper inspection before applying control measures. Homeowners on the hand, are likely to apply control measures on just the viewable infested areas. A professional will make thorough the control and eliminate all breeding sites.

  1.                A professional company does not often employ the use of insecticides as some will be dangerous to humans. Furthermore, Homeowners usually misuse the insecticides and use in wrong proportions. Hence, hiring experts will ensure that fewer pesticides are used.
  2.                  When conducting a pest control, there are risks of illness. To protect the family, it is advisable to hire a professional  for a safe control measure especially in the use of pesticides
  3.                A pest control professional has a wide range of control measures and will always employ the effective ones in a home or restaurant.

 vii.            Besides just the fly control, a professional educates on the preventive measures and best control options. Homeowners will have an opportunity to learn more about fly control.

viii.            Hiring a pest control professional saves money. Most people spend time using pesticides that are not effective and end up spending money on ineffective measures. Thus, hiring a professional ensures a quick and effective control.

How flies spread diseases

The housefly is the most common fly. It can’t bite food but uses a spongy pad.  It feeds in a strange way. First, it pours digestive juices and saliva on the food to be eaten. This creates a solution with the food then the housefly sponges it up. Because of this eating method, houseflies contaminate food in large amounts.

The housefly also contaminates food when it rubs its legs. It does this because its whole body including its feet has bristles while its tongue has sticky glue. The fly rubs its legs to remove materials on the bristles; through this, it cleans itself before eating food. As it rubs its legs, germs are dropped on the food hence contamination.

Flies gather germs from the garbage they step on as they feed. Their spongy pads also rub on the garbage, feces and wounds they eat. These leftovers on the spongy pads are rubbed on the human food they eat, hence posing a great risk of infection. When humans eat these foods, they can diarrhea severely.

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