Flies

Latin Name: Diptera

Overview

There are many types of flies, including the blowfly, bottle fly, drain fly, fruit fly, gnat, house fly, and many others. Their sizes, features and habitats vary greatly. Their preferred food types also vary. However, one thing they all have in common is their ability to be pests. Regardless of their preferred food sources or habitats, most flies have the potential to carry diseases.

The house fly alone is associated with hundreds of potentially harmful pathogens that could cause disease. If you notice a fly infestation, it is important to take immediate action. While the type of fly may not be a blood sucking nuisance, a crop destroyer, or a cause other physical damage, it could be spreading around pathogens that could hurt you or your pets.

Description

There are over 16,000 types of flies in North America alone. They can come in all sizes, colors, and markings. In fact, the sewer fly could easily be mistaken for a moth due to its furry exterior. However, all flies share several distinct characteristics. They all start life as legless larvae called maggots and then go through a transformational stage to develop a short aerodynamic body, compound eyes, and two wings. Because they only have two wings, flies tend to land often, leaving millions of harmful pathogens each time they land, walk around, and groom themselves.

While flies live everywhere in the world except the polar ice caps, they prefer warm climates or warm habitats. They also prefer to eat organic materials. These organic materials can vary depending on the type of fly. Some flies prefer decaying plant material, some prefer decaying animals, while some flies prefer fresh blood.

The stable fly looks similar to a normal house fly, but they can bite pets and humans. They have mouthparts that allow them to suck blood. Both genders of stable flies feed on blood. However for most biting flies, like the horse fly and deer fly, the females are the ones that feed on blood. This is because their fertility depends on consuming blood. Males rely on pollen and nectar for food.

Depending on the type of fly, the life expectancy could be eight days to two months, and in some rare cases up to a year. Due to the quick reproduction rate and lifecycle of most flies, one pair of flies can produce over 1 million offspring through several generations in just a few weeks. Since infestations can get rapidly out of control, it is best to take care of them as soon as possible.

Avoiding Flies

Fly infestations can happen anywhere. Just as there are many different types of flies, there are equally a vast number of habitats each type prefers. You can find flies in restaurants, drains, pipes, sewers, garbage areas, and stables. Many flies are named after their preferred habitat, such as the drain fly, the house fly, and the stable fly.

Most flies feed on decaying organic waste, which means that sanitation is important when avoiding infestations. A fly can carry millions of pathogens both internally and externally, depositing harmful pathogens whenever it lands.

In order to avoid flies:

  • Keep all trash pails, garbage bins, recycle bins, vents, drains, and drain traps clean.
  • All counters and floors should be cleaned regularly.
  • Food and other organic material should be refrigerated or otherwise sealed when it is not being used.
  • Vents, doors, and windows can also be screened to prevent flies from entering your home or business.
  • There are also large fans, called air curtains or air doors, that are used in businesses to keep flies and other contaminants out.
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