The "Musca domestica," or house fly, plagues areas frequented by humans and animals. The insect's population may become excessive, which creates a nuisance and can pose a public health hazard. The flies carry more than 100 pathogens that can cause diseases in humans and animals. Tuberculosis, dysentery, typhoid, anthrax ophthalmia, infantile diarrhoea, food poisoning, parasitic worms and cholera have been spread by the house fly.
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A physically unclean insect, the house fly transports pathogens that it picks up from frequenting garbage, excrement, decaying waste and sewage; the pathogens can get stuck to the house fly's body. The house fly also spreads disease through its vomit and fecal products. The house fly must liquefy its food before it can adequately digest it; this entails consuming the food, regurgitating the food and reconsuming it. This practice can take place on any speck of food found on a counter top, or it can occur when the fly inadvertently lands on human foods.
The female house fly lays its eggs on fecal matter or decomposing food, particularly fruits and vegetables, to supply the emerging larvae with enough food to sustain them to adulthood. The eggs hatch a day after being laid, and the larvae spend about 8 days feeding before pupating into adults. The adult house fly lives around 25 days. In one year, 12 generations of house flies may appear. In areas with mild winters, the house flies flourish all year, but in regions with inclement winter weather, the house flies must seek shelter indoors to breed and continue living.
Remove any foods promptly to discourage flies. Take the garbage out regularly so that flies have nowhere to breed inside the home. Regularly clean up all pet excrement and any livestock manure, and dispose of the excrement in a place where flies can't get to it. Avoid allowing wet straw to accumulate in stalls or other areas of the landscape. Make sure that all garbage cans have tight, secure lids, and place garbage cans away from the house. Inspect all screens on the house to make sure no rips or tears exist that will allow the flies entrance. Rake up all fruit that falls from trees or other plants so it doesn't rot on the ground.
Swat house flies inside the home using a fly swatter. Dispose of the fly carcase quickly and clean up any body residue with a cleaner. Avoid using insecticides to control house flies near foods or food preparation areas. Spot-spray resting individual flies with an indoor-approved insecticide spray. Affix fly paper or traps near possible entry points in the home. Ultraviolet light traps kill house flies when installed in commercial buildings. Spray outdoor areas using residual sprays to control house flies outside, covering the surface of areas such as barns, stalls or the house's exterior. Follow the directions on the label for application instructions.
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- University of Florida IFAS Extension; House fly; H. Sanchez-Arroyo; March 2011
- "Field Guide to Texas Insects"; House Fly; B.M. Drees, et al.; 1999
- Colorado State University Extension; Flies in the Home; W.S. Cranshaw, et al.; February 2009
- University of Missouri Extension; Household Flies; Richard M. Houseman; May 2010
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Flies in the Home; Barb Ogg, et al.
- Illinois Department of Public Health: The House Fly and Other Filth Flies