Fascinating flies

Flies are considered a health hazard and one of the worst forms of pests, spreading germs, bacteria and diseases.

The house fly, Musca Domestica, may be the most common pest that people encounter. But how much do you really know about these insects and why they are considered a health hazard?

We’ve put together some fascinating facts about flies.

Fly facts

Flies are insects of the order of Diptera, containing an estimated 1,000,000 species. They only use a single pair of wings to fly, the hind wings or halteres are used for balancing.

They have a mobile head, with a pair of large compound eyes and their mouthparts are designed for piercing, lapping and sucking.

They also have great maneuverability in flight because of their wing arrangement and can cling to smooth surfaces because of the claws and pads on their feet.

Did you know that flies undergo complete metamorphosis? Their eggs are laid and the larvae then develop in a protected environment, often inside the source of their food. The pupa is a tough capsule from which the adult emerges and they are known to usually have a short life span.

How they spread germs

It’s common knowledge that flies are “dirty”, “gross” and “unhygienic” but do you know how and why they get this reputation?

Let’s take a closer look. There are a few ways in which flies spread diseases.

1. They are carriers of bacteria

Flies feed on discharges from sores, wounds, sputum, and decaying matter, but that’s not all. Bacteria from sewers, garbage and animal feces (where flies live and breed) cling to fly’s feet and are spread when the fly comes into contact with food and surfaces.

There are a number of bacteria and diseases which flies can carry. The list includes, but is not limited to:

  • Typhoid
  • Cholera
  • Dysentery
  • Salmonella
  • Tuberculosis
  • Leprosy
  • Poliomyelitis

2. Through fly feces and vomit

When flies come into direct contact with surfaces, they excrete bodily fluids (Houseflies defecate every 4-5 minutes) and leave behind pathogens. Humans who eat contaminated food or touch contaminated surfaces are then susceptible to diseases


3.Fly bites

Some flies feed on the blood of humans and animals.  Fly bites which break the skin can transfer pathogens into the blood stream causing illness.

The most common types of biting flies are:

  • Black Flies
  • Midges
  • Horse Flies
  • Stable Flies
  • Sand Flies

Pest management

The basic principles of pest management in controlling house flies are sanitation, chemical and non-chemical methods.

However, the easiest way to prevent coming into contact with flies is to limit their food source. Don’t allow any decaying matter such as garbage to accumulate. Make sure kitchens and surfaces are disinfected and keep bins clean and tightly

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