Flies: How they look, breed and feed
The house fly (Musca Domestica), is a species of the Muscidae family. A female housefly will only mate once, but stores the sperm for later usage. She lays her eggs, in batches of 100, in decaying matter such as waste, garbage, and faeces. Adult flies live for about 2 to 4 weeks. House flies live in close association with humans and feeds on a range of products. But they always feast on human foodstuffs, waste, and excrement.
A fully grown adult house fly is 8-12mm in length, with the females being slightly larger than the males. House flies have a large red compound eye, which explains how well they can see and avoid fly-swatters. Hair-like projections cover their whole body. They have a pair of wings, with a hind pair of dumbbell-shaped halters (modified from hind-wings) that are smaller and aid in-flight stability. Hence it is essential to get rid of flies and prevent fly-borne diseases.
House flies are a huge threat to businesses: especially to the food industry, the catering or hotel industry and to restaurants and cafeterias. Flies cause the highest number of staff illnesses and can drive customers away, too. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that house flies are responsible for transmitting at least 65 diseases. These diseases can have an impact on both customer and staff health: one’s company’s reputation; customer and staff retention would suffer; leading to a serious loss of business and consumer confidence.
Fly landing on your food
It is really scary what happens when a fly lands on your food. It may lead to fly-borne diseases. Unlike other pests, flies can only feed on liquid or semi-liquid substances, as they lack jaws, teeth or mouth-parts to bite or chew. When it comes to solid food, they vomit or regurgitate a liquid made of saliva and digestive juices, which breaks down the food into a liquid substance, allowing them to feast. So, when a fly lands on your food, you ingest a few faeces, dirt and rotten foodstuff, as well as fly-vomit.
What diseases are spread by flies and how do you catch them?
House flies are responsible for transmitting a range of diseases like cholera, diarrhoea, typhoid, dysentery, gastroenteritis, and salmonellosis. Flies spread diseases like tuberculosis, various skin, and eye infections. House flies are not biting insects, so they are indirect vectors of diseases. This does not make them any less dangerous. Flies feed on the rotting and decaying matter, as well as spittle, human and animal faeces. They accumulate bacteria and toxins (pathogens) in their oesophagus or digestive system.
Flies also accumulate filth and bacteria on their tiny hairs on their legs and body. Hence, just on contact, they transmit pathogens: but also through their vomit and defecation. Infectious diseases (caused by viruses, bacteria, protozoa and nematodes, i.e. worms like roundworm or threadworm) are spread by houseflies. Over 100 pathogens are associated with houseflies. Diarrheal illnesses caused by E.Coli, Shigella, Campylobacter, Enterococcus, lead to these bacteria being found in the stools of infected people, which are carried by flies. Among other diseases: anthrax, food poisoning, leprosy, poliomyelitis, trachoma, and yaws are also spread by flies. So, the next time a fly rests on some foodstuff you know how dangerous it can be!
How can one prevent diseases spread by house flies?
A housefly needs a few seconds of contact with pathogens and a few seconds contacts with your food to spread dangerous diseases. Thus you should take precautions to prevent fly-borne diseases.
- Eliminate all contaminated foods and liquids that a fly has come in contact with.
- Avoid contaminated utensils, crockery or cutlery.
- Avoid direct contact by a fly on sores, eyes or wounds.
- Reduce the presence of flies around your home or business.
- Install fly-screens.
- A proper garbage (waste management) system, including covered drains and tightly covered bins, is essential.
- Eliminate excrement: clean toilets, proper sewage systems, and septic tanks are most essential. Open defecation is most harmful.
- Practice stringent food hygiene. Raw foods (meat, fish, etc) should be stored in hygienic containers and thoroughly washed before use. Cooking and eating utensils, kitchen surfaces and food preparation areas must be kept clean and sterile with soap, detergent, etc. Hands must be washed after use of the toilet and before cooking, eating or drinking.
If you do suspect a flies problem, immediately call the experts to get rid of them as soon as possible before they take place at your house. We at Hicare provide professional pest control services all over India to prevent fly-borne diseases. Call us on 3988 9988 or visit our website hicare.in to know more about the service.