GreenleafOrganicPest.com Blog

September/October 2013 Newsletter

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Mon, Oct 29, 2012 @ 11:07 AM

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FLY MANAGEMENT

Tens of thousands of human deaths per year are contributed to houseflies each year.

The most dangerous arthropod in the Western Hemisphere is not the Black Widow or the Scorpion, it is the Housefly. I’m sure this is pretty shocking information to digest, but true.

Although flies don’t bite, the list of diseases the common house fly carries and spreads include many of the worst killers of mankind; Typhoid, Cholera, Gangrene, Tuberculosis, Gonorrhea, Bubonic Plague, Leprosy, Diphtheria, Scarlet Fever, Amoebic Dysentery, e-Coli, and many others.

1 fly can carry as many as six million bacteria on its feet. How does the fly transmit disease if it doesn’t bite?

Flies will transfer what is on the bottom of their feet to the top of your food. Then if that isn’t disgusting enough, they must regurgitate their stomach acids to dissolve the solids in the food and slurp them up (Jeff Goldblum in The Fly 1986 to get this fact burned in your head).  I know this visual is pretty gross, but hopefully the message (visual) changes the way you think about flies. Flies have sticky pads on the bottom of their feet which picks up particles and bacteria from everything they land on. 

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There is no “5 second rule” for flies on your food. The bacteria transferred to your food is instant. So the next time you see a fly on your food, think twice (maybe three times) about eating it. There are six million reasons not to.

FLY LIFE CYCLE

Flies lay eggs in moist organic matter which will hatch into maggots. Maggots consume organic matter. Soft-bodied maggots need moisture to survive.  When mature, maggots pupate in the soil which looks like brown seed. Adult fly emerges from pupa, ready to breed. Knowing what specific fly species you’re dealing with can aid in control, some species of flies have specific types of organic matter they prefer, so this can help a professional locate sources. Flies inside structures may be breeding outdoors or indoors. Outdoor-breeding flies follow food odors through windows and doors. Flies breeding indoors in decaying organic matter, typically this is a sanitation issue.  To be a fly detective you first must identify the type of fly. Second, find its breeding source, and finally, eliminate further breeding to solve the problem.

There are many breeding sites around businesses and homes. Garbage dumpsters are pretty common in both settings, so it’s always best to have dumpsters far away from doors and windows. Sanitize dumpsters frequently to reduce breeding areas, especially in warm months.  Use hanging fly traps when possible. Keep dumpster lids closed to prevent infestations of flies and other pests. Overflowing trash on a regular basis is a sign to increase pick-up frequency for businesses.

PREVENT ENTRY

  • Keep windows screens in good condition
  • Keep windows and doors closed or use an Air-Door.
  • Install automatic door closers
  • Use fans to blow across passage ways
  • Keep animal waste (feces) picked up daily
  • Compost piles should be covered when possible
  • Certain fertilizers will attract flies
  • Pick up any fallen, rotting fruit from trees
  • Remove dead animal carcasses

I hope the info will help change how you view flies in your environment. Sanitation is a key component in controlling these pests. If your having fly issues, we are always here to help.

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Tags: flies, fly management, fly control, fly facts