Smaller than housefly;only 2 longitudinal stripe on thorax
Segmented / diverse / often hairy
Small / bristle like
Flies are common pest insects and are found in many environments inhabited by humans and their domestic animals. Their primary pest status in first world nations is annoyance. In third world nations their pest status is more critical due to their ability to breed very quickly and because of their ability to spread disease.
As pests, adult flies may have profound veterinary and public importance. House flies, bush flies, march flies and the like not only annoy humans but in very large numbers have an enormous potential for disease transmission. Some flies (Fruit flies) are pests of fruit and vegetable production and others are internal parasites of livestock.
Flies eat a wide variety of food that range from food wastes, manure, faeces of all kinds, warm, moist animal organic material, human food such as milk, sugar, meat etc., animal tears, sweat and saliva, animal blood (Stable flies), overripe fruit and vegetables, fermenting materials etc.
Flies life cycles last for 2 to 5 weeks for larger flies and 8 to 14 days for the smaller fruit flies.
In the main the larval or maggot stages of flies tend to perform useful tasks by eating rooting and decaying wastes. It is the winged adults that cause annoyance and/or the distribution of disease organisms.
Fly habitat varies according to their food requirements. Adults are usually strong and capable fliers and their dispersal can be assisted by wind and by hitching rides on vehicles.
Fruit flies tend to habitat areas where fruit is growing and/or being processed, discarded or fermented. Most other flies will habitat a variety of places where fish or other flesh is rotting or decaying or where food plant, fruit and vegetable waste is decaying; this also includes various forms of animal wastes, dung and faeces. Stable flies also require a blood feed for protein prior to egg laying.
The primary threat from flies is the distribution of disease carrying organisms that affect humans such as salmonella food-poisoning, Dysentery, Typhoid Fever, Cholera, Hepatitis, Tuberculosis, Poliomyelitis, various parasitic worms and many others. Some flies (Fruit flies) are pests of fruit and vegetable production and others are internal parasites of livestock. The flying adults primarily conduct these activities.
Fly prevention has many factors but personal and public cleanliness and proper waste disposal are main preventative measures. This means cleaning up of food scraps, good garbage management and disposal, minimization of and good management of animal wastes, composting of plant, fruit and vegetable wastes. Inside cleaning up of spills and food wastes and used food containers and other rubbish, also helps. These measures minimise breeding and feeding sites and reduce fly numbers.
Photo provided by Alan Henderson.
Information provided by FMC.
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