In this blog we’re going to discuss some ‘not so wonderful’ facts about flies, and why they should be kept far away from you and your food.
When we head into the warmer months (soon, I hope!) there’s bound to be one pest that drives me up the wall. And low and behold, it’ll be sitting there too. Flies are one of the most irritating pests out there (in my opinion) – even though I dislike all pests.
Flies and the diseases they carry
At least 65 diseases, including typhoid fever, dysentery, cholera, poliomyelitis, yaws, anthrax, tularemia, leprosy, and tuberculosis are known to be transmitted to humans by house flies.
Flying insects continuously spread disease-causing organisms by regurgitating and excreting wherever they settle.
This is why it’s so important to keep flies off of your food, your surfaces, and as far away from you as possible. Remember that flies are attracted to decaying organic material, faeces, rotting meats, refuse areas and the like. Whatever they walked on last is carried to the next surface on which they land.
Flies and their dietary requirements
House flies have mouthparts that resemble sponges, which work well for soaking up liquids – but not for chewing on solid food. In order to find food, the house fly either looks for food that is already in puddle form, or has devised a method of liquefying the food source.
Things start to get quite disgusting at this point. A house fly will regurgitate onto food when it finds something nice but solid—which, if it’s buzzing over your lunch, can be your food. The digestive enzymes in the fly’s vomit attack the target snack, quickly predigesting and liquefying it so the fly may gulp it down.
How can flies determine whether something is tasty? They walk on it! House flies, like butterflies, have taste senses that are constantly alert. Chemosensillar, or taste receptors, are found near the tips of the fly’s tibia and tarsal bones (in simpler terms, the lower leg and foot). They begin strolling around and tasting things as soon as they come to something of interest, whether it be your trash, a pile of faecal matter, or possibly your food.
Fly Breeding Habits
A typical lifespan for the housefly is 15-30 days, during which they pass through four stages: egg, larva, pupa, adult. Houseflies reproduce through sexual reproduction. When a male and female fly mate, the male injects his sperm into the ovipositor of the female. The female lays batches of fertilised eggs in moist organic material after 3–4 days.
The eggs need 24 hours to mature into larva (commonly known as maggots!), which go through a pupal stage before becoming adults. A batch of eggs laid by a female house fly can range in size from 75 to 150. Starting on average about 12 days after attaining full maturity, she can lay roughly five to six batches of eggs throughout her lifetime.
These are average times, and they can be directly influenced by the temperature, humidity and the organic material that the eggs are laid in. Researchers once made calculations to predict what would happen if a single pair of flies could reproduce indefinitely without any restrictions or risk to the offspring. The outcome? In just 5 months, the two flies would create 191,010,000,000,000,000,000 house flies, enough to cover the entire planet to a depth of several meters.
Flies have compound eyes that are composed of ommatidia, or thousands of separate visual receptors. A large field of vision is created for the fly by thousands of ommatidiums, each of which functions as an individual eye. Every ommatidium is a long, thin structure that starts as a lens on the eye’s surface and tapers to a nerve at the base of the eye. After passing via a lens, a crystalline cone structure, pigment cells, and vision cells, light enters the ommatidium and is filtered. Each ommatidium contains a unique nerve fibre that connects to the fly’s optic nerve and transmits data to the brain.
The muscles that support a human’s eye enable movement, hence enhancing field of vision and enabling the eye to take in more information from its environment. Flies collect information from numerous sources at once rather than moving their eyes. Despite being motionless, a fly’s eyes provide a nearly 360-degree view of the world due to their spherical shape and projection from the fly’s head.
The pupil in a human eye regulates the amount of light that enters the eye and is focused by the lens onto the retina. The optic nerve then transmits data from the retina to the brain. Since fly eyes lack pupils, they are unable to regulate the amount of light that enters the eye. (This could be why shiny objects deter them. Read our myth busting blog post: Does hanging CDs keep flies away for more on whether this is true. Flies are also short-sighted however a visible range of a few yards is considered good for an insect.
Rentokil’s fly control services for your home or business
Keep the above-mentioned facts in mind when the warmer months arrive… and when you start to consider your pest management program.
Flies are difficult to manage because they tend to be where people are, and there are so many factors to consider: light competition, entry and exit points, and waste areas or any attractive characteristics that bring flies to the site or your home.
The main thought I want to leave you with is that when trying to deal with a fly infestation it’s important to have a comprehensive fly management program in place that is robust enough to cover you in the height of summer – when flies will be breeding at their fastest.
Contact the experts at Rentokil for more information on how to manage fly control concerns.