Flies are from the order of insects called diptera. They are characterized by having a set of flight wings and a set of hind wings. They are the only order of insects that possess two functional pairs of wings. They are most commonly imagined as the common house fly, a small brown insect that emits a characteristic buzzing noise and is seen mostly as a nuisance pest. They have large, compound eyes, modified mouth-parts according to their feeding habits and six legs arranged in pairs.
There are many species of flies that are considered pests to humans, including the blow fly, the bottle fly, the drain fly, the fruit fly, the gnat and the house fly. In some cases, it is not the damage the flies do themselves, it is the pathogens they carry. Serious pathogens such as typhoid fever, dysentery and hepatitis can be carried and passed on by flies. Some species, such as the horse fly, also feed on the blood of host species and can cause irritation and pain through their bites as well as allergic reactions. Flies can live in a variety of locations.
Signs of Infestation
The most obvious sign of a fly infestation, aside from simply seeing them buzzing about can be the identification of their larvae. Most flies pass through a larval stage, the results of which are called maggots. Flies can produce thousands to millions of offspring in their lifetime and human environments are especially conducive to a fly’s reproductive cycle. A good way to find the source of a fly infestation is to identify where the flies may be laying their eggs. In the case of fruit flies, their swarms can be found near the easiest source of food, which is usually, as the name indicates, fruit that is left out in the open. With pest-flies like horse flies and gnats, signs of their infestation can be seen as painful bites on pets, children and on the self.
Flies flourish in unregulated environments. They depend on remaining largely undisturbed in their larval stages until they reach maturity. The majority of flies have very short lifespans, from a few days for fruit flies to a few weeks, months or even up to a year. Flies such as house flies prefer to lay their eggs in places that are undisturbed, moist and warm.
Fly species have evolved over time to consume a variety of liquid or finely ground foods like pollen. They have no teeth or other means to feed themselves, so they must depend on finding food in the form that they can consume. Even biting flies pierce the skin to get at the blood underneath and do not actually “bite.” Fruit flies primarily feed on decaying fruits and vegetables, though they, too, do not actually chew their food.
Treatment and Prevention
As with a majority of pests that reside within the home, a fly infestation can be prevented or controlled by the removal of their food source. Flies are not usually capable of entering closed containers unless their eggs are already inside before the container is closed. With species such as fruit flies, a population inside the home can be prevented easily by keeping exposed fruit and vegetables covered or placing them inside a container. With species such as the common house fly, an infestation can be prevented by keeping areas of the home free of food matter that the flies can use for laying their eggs or for sustenance. Exterminating flies can be tricky because of how many offspring they reproduce, but because of the sheer number of pathogens and bacteria they carry, it is necessary to exterminate populations where they are found to prevent contamination and possible disease.