Flies are one of the largest insect groups in the world. A number of species are closely associated with human habitats, which is why pest control for homes in Singapore is important. They have a mobile head, with a pair of large compound eyes, and a specialised sponging mouthpart. Unlike most other winged insects that have two pairs of wings, all flies only have a pair of functional wings, the other pair has evolved into halteres that help in balancing.
Flies go through complete metamorphosis; with egg, larval, pupal and adult stages. The female flies deposit eggs in moist and warm organic materials, such as animal manure, animal carcasses, decomposing organic materials and garbage disposals. Fly larvae, better known as maggots, cannot withstand desiccation. Before turning into a pupa, the larva will migrate to drier grounds and pupate. Soon after, an adult will emerge from the pupa and will be able to live for two to four weeks under favourable conditions. Although flies have a short lifespan, they are able to reproduce in large numbers within a short period of time and are capable of spreading various diseases.
Most flies are strongly attracted to excreta and decaying organic material. With their specialised sponging mouthpart, they are able to consume thin fluid, semi-fluid and solid food. Other than causing a nuisance, several species of flies are associated with filth and are able to harbour pathogens in their bodies. The transmission of pathogens can be divided into the following three routes: contaminated body parts (feet, body hairs and mouthpart), vomitus on food during consumption, and excreta on food.
Types of Flies
House flies (Musca domestica), blow flies (Calliphoridae), flesh flies (Sarcophagidae) and phorid flies (Megaselia) are filth flies, flies that breed in animal manure, garbage and food waste. Other than general annoyance, they spread bacteria and other disease-causing organisms.
HOUSE FLY (Musca domestica)
It is suspected that house flies can transmit at least 65 diseases to humans. These diseases include cholera, poliomyelitis, thyphoid fever, tuberculosis and more.
BLOW FLY (Calliphoridae)
Blow flies can quickly gather around the carcass of an animal or sources of meat. Bacterium spread by blow flies can potentially cause cholera and severe diarrhea. Other pathogens also include tularemia, tuberculosis, plague, and anthrax, just to name a few.
FLESH FLY (Sarcophagidae)
Flesh flies are capable of carrying leprosy bacilli and when a person accidentally consumes a flesh fly larvae, intestinal pseudomyiasis can be transmitted. This species also poses a danger to animals — mainly sheep — and can give them blood poisoning or asymptimatic leprosy infections.
On the other hand, fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster), moth flies (Psychodidae) are simply considered as nuisance pests; they are not harmful and do not transmit diseases.
FRUIT FLIES (Drosophila melanogaster)
Fruits flies are drawn to food waste which includes fruits and vegetables, and any moist environments such as drains, garbage disposals, empty bottles and cans, trash bags, cleaning rags, and mops.
MOTH FLY (Psychodidae)
Moth flies are “furry” and moth-like in appearance, hence its name. However, they also go by other common names such as drain flies, sink flies, filter flies, sewer flies and even sewer gnats.
Diseases and Health Risks Associated with Flies
Flies are easily regarded as one of the peskiest pests out there as they’re always within our line of sight and often disrupting us, but are difficult to kill as they’re quick on their wings. Plus, as disease transmitters, they’re responsible for carrying and spreading a number of illnesses.
The types of diseases that flies often transmit are:
E. coli is an infection of the intestine and leads to diarrhea, blood in one’s bowel moments, abdominal cramps, and even fever. Symptoms don’t take too long to develop as they start to show within four days after the infection takes place, but occasionally, can start as late as two weeks after.
Anthrax isn’t a very common bacterial infection, however, it takes place in four forms—skin, lungs, intestinal, and injection. Flies are responsible for the first, the skin form, which manifests as a group of small swollen blisters that develops into a painless skin sore with a black centre.
Food poisoning follows with a flurry of symptoms, such as diarrhoea, vomiting, and stomach cramps, alongside appetite loss and fever. Generally, food poisoning will simply heal over time, however, depending on its severity, can be an extremely painful experience for some.
Tularemia is a disease that can infect both people and animals, and appears in many forms. The most common form is the ulceroglandular, which is the manifestation of an ulcer around the affected area, accompanied by swollen and red lymph glands.
Conjunctivitis, or more popularly known as pink eye, is the infection or inflammation of the conjunctiva—the thin, transparent tissue lining the inner surface of the eyelid. Conjunctivitis is highly contagious and is most evident when there is the pink discolouration of one’s eye.
Typhoid fever is highly contagious, usually infected through the consumption of contaminated food or beverages. It presents itself with symptoms such as high fever, headache, stomach pain, and irregular bowel movements.
Solutions and Treatments for Fly Infestation
It is important to engage a pest management company in Singapore as control methods for flies consist of chemical control, mechanical control, source reduction and habitat modification. Larviciding, residual spraying, baiting and space treatment are the examples of chemical control. Larviciding is the regular application of insecticides to eradicate fly larvae. Residual spraying involves the application of residual insecticide on surfaces where flies may come into contact with the insecticide and receive a lethal concentration.
For bait treatment, granular bait will be placed in bait trays and deployed in infested areas. Flies that are attracted to feed on the bait will be killed eventually after receiving a lethal dosage. Space treatment involves the dispersal of insecticide into an area to kill adult flies. It only kills flies that are present. Mechanical control involves the use of physical means such as UV light trap, electric fly killer, air curtain, plastic strips curtain, screen windows, etc.
In summary, cleanliness must be maintained to prevent breeding habitat. For instance, garbage to be sealed and covered with a tight-fitting lid. Regular garbage collection is highly recommended to as it serves as potential food sources and harbourage areas for flies. Thus, potential food sources and harbourage areas should be eliminated thereby resulting in more effective treatment performance.
Do you know…
Flies are good at maths! Despite having tiny brains, flies are excellent at calculating the angle of a swatting hand, newspaper or swatter and creating a flight plan to avoid it. When they see a threat coming, they are able to leap backwards using their hind legs to avoid the hit.
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