All about Houseflies

Houseflies belong to Muscidae family and are found in many parts of the world. They do not bite animals or humans, but are very dangerous because they are carriers of bacteria and protozoan. Animal manure, garbage, exposed food and many other human habitations are the main homes of houseflies.

Houseflies are about 1/8 -1/4 inch long and have four black lengthwise stripes on the thorax. The eyes of houseflies are reddish and their abdomen is grey or yellowish in color with irregular dark markings on sides. The female houseflies are larger than males. They can also be differentiated by the larger space between their red compound eyes. They have tube like lower lip. Their mouthpart is of sponging type in order to sponge up food. They have one pair of wings and the hind pair is normally small halter that aid in flying steadily.

The adult female housefly lays hundreds of eggs in decaying vegetable matter like manure, garbage and compost. The eggs require one day to hatch. The larvae get their growth within a week and they have a blunt posterior end. Then they spend five more days in the stage of pupae. The pupae are dark brown in color and buried in the heaps of waste. Hence, they can easily escape the predators. The pupae transformed into adult houseflies and they can now expand their wings. The generation can be completed within two week and these result in a vast number of flies.

The female houseflies are perceptive for mating and the male houseflies are required to mount them from behind to inject sperm. It requires just a few seconds to complete copulation. Female houseflies mate only once and they store the sperm to lay hundreds of eggs in several sets.

The houseflies have sponging mouthparts with which they can ingest liquids. They can however feed on sugar, flour and pollen by liquefying the solid food with their saliva. This unique feature of the housefly is that it reiterates partly digested matter and then passes it to the abdomen.

There are some interesting facts about houseflies. The houseflies can walk on vertical planes and hang upside-down from the ceiling with the help of surface tension of liquids secreted by the glands near their feat. If they do not need to fly in search of food, they preen themselves and clean their eyes with their forelegs. They also dust off their legs by rubbing them together. The reason behind this unique behavior is that the taste and smell receptors of houseflies lie on the hair of their legs.

The average lifespan of houseflies is 15 to 25 days. Despite this shortest lifespan, they are in large numbers, as they reproduce several hundreds of eggs fast. Each female housefly can lay about 500 eggs in her lifetime.

The houseflies are active during sunny days, but they do not prefer artificial lights. They take rest at night in the ceiling hangings or in the corner of the rooms. They have a keen sense of smell, eyesight and curiosity, which lead them to find out every spot or even a bit of spilled food.

The housefly has two transparent wings, which beats 160 times per second. They can travel up to 13 miles, but they do not travel much farther to get food and to lay eggs. They are considered to be the mechanical transmitters of diarrhea, dysentery, cholera and eye infections. Removing any organic waste regularly can limit the breeding areas of houseflies. Garbage should be kept in containers with tight-fitting lids. Lack of sanitation can attract houseflies and they easily access to building where the sanitary measures are not taken properly.

Dangers of Houseflies

House flies have great potential to spread disease organisms. They swarm on dairy animals posing great threat to their lives. Their omnivorous feeding nature enables them to carry disease causing bacteria from dung heaps and fecal deposits to the food prepared for humans. They can transmit organisms effecting bovine mastitis and such other organisms that produce enteric diseases in humans.

A house fly technically called Musca domestica Linnaeus is a pest of the home and farm. This insect is always found in the company of man. Poultry farms, ranches and horse stables are common places where these flies breed and do the mischief.
House flies are provided with spongy type mouthparts which are utilized for feeding different types of foods including solid foods by dissolving the grains with their saliva-like regurgitated liquid. This liquid is also a reason for transmitting pathogens like viruses, protozoa and fungi which are transferred on to the food. On consuming the infected food, the person suffers by contracting dreaded diseases like typhoid, diarrhea, tuberculosis and anthrax. These insects breed on rotten food, moist fermented animal droppings or garbage. The pathogens transmitted by these flies are Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, Escherichia, Chlamydia and Enterococcus.

Typhoid Fever is caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi. The symptoms are high temperatures of 104 deg F, loss of appetite, stomachache, headache and weakness. Antibiotics are prescribed by the health professionals and the patient gets cured. In the absence of proper treatment, the patient dies.

Cholera is caused by the bacterium called Vibria cholera. The symptoms are unforeseen attacks of watery diarrhea that contains white mucous substance, stomach disorder, dry mouth, sunken eyes, and yellow colored urine. The patient should consume lot of boiled and cooled water containing some salt and sugar. This prevents dehydration.

Children are affected by the bacterium Escherichia coli. Some strains can cause diarrhea mixed with blood. Escherichia coli 0157:H7 can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome that ends up in kidney failure. For uremic syndrome, blood transfusion and kidney dialysis are given as treatment.

Shigellosis is caused by the bacterium called Shigella. The symptoms are bloody diarrhea, high fever and stomachache. Kids and elderly people are susceptible to the attack accompanied by high fever leading to seizure. Fly killing machines are effective in eradicating house flies.   

Removal Tips

Flies are one of the most annoying pests in any home. There are several methods for eliminating flies. One of the best methods is to keep them out with the help of a screen. Generally considered a nuisance pest, some flies carry viruses and bacteria and spread diseases, the most common being malaria.

Summer is the time when a lot of houseflies and blowflies are found in homes. They thrive in manure, animal materials and garbage. Compost piles that are not properly managed are breeding grounds for flies. It is possible to sanitize the breeding sites to eradicate flies.

The fungal gnats drain flies and fruit flies are very small flies that can be very irritating. They can be controlled to a great extent by eradicating and sanitizing the breeding sites. Winter and fall are the seasons when cluster flies are found. These flies usually breed in attics and higher levels in the house. The best method of eliminating them is to caulk the entry points and use fly swatters.

Elimination of certain flies includes using insecticides, which can be an effective supplement along with other control measures. Insecticides must never be poured down the drain. It is vital reading about the product in detail before using it.
It may become necessary to take direct measures if it is not possible to eliminate the source of the flies. It is possible to trap the flies by fly proofing the house. Fly proofing itself involves covering two major entry points for flies namely the doors and windows with screens. You have to ensure there are no gaps through which flies can enter your home.

Fly swatters are one of the very effective means of eliminating flies. With a swatter it is possible to hunt down flies that trouble you. Fly swatters are available in supermarkets and local stores.
Some people use flypaper to catch flies. However, it is vital to use the glue with caution, as it is almost impossible to remove from clothing.

Flytraps are baits that are placed in strategically attractive locations. Flies are led through the bright light straight into the trap. Flies go straight to the trap and get stuck inside after feeding on the bait. It is important to keep the bait moist. For this purpose, it may be better to go in for bait, which contains a water reservoir. A bait that opens easily will be easier for cleaning and maintenance.

Another excellent removal tip for flies includes using the UV bug lights or bug zappers. This trap uses the ultraviolet light. Insects and flies are attracted to the bright light and are charred in the high voltage current. These are some of the most popular and effective removal tips for flies.

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