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Elimination

Chemical control methods (insecticides) alone cannot work miracles. They must be used in combination with effective housekeeping and a host of other physical control methods.

Light traps that attract flying insects sensitive to ultraviolet light can play an important role in an integrated fly management program. There are also sticky traps for capturing flies.

Actions

  • Find and dispose of decomposing matter
  • Spot spray with pyrethrin-based insecticide in places with a lot of flies

Prevention

  • Empty and clean garbage cans regularly
  • Make sure your bug screens are in good condition

Description and development

The house fly (Musca domestica L. ) is a holometabolous insect (having four very different life stages) in the Muscidae family of the Diptera order. The adult measures about 9 mm and bears four dark longitudinal bands on the thorax. The thorax and abdomen are gray, with a paler color on the sides of the abdomen. The female can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime. The eggs hatch 12 to 24 hours after laying. House flies complete their life cycle in 12 to 35 days, and adults live for 2 to 4 weeks.

Habits

The eggs are laid in damp areas on any type of rotting organic matter: dead animals, animal feces, kitchen waste, rotten fruits and vegetables, grass clippings, compost, and so on. When they move on after egg laying, adults carry away microorganisms and particles of organic matter that may be harmful to human health. They carry them on the fine hairs on their bodies, the spines on their legs, the pads on their feet, and their sponging mouthparts.

Given the nature of their mouthparts, houseflies cannot consume solid food. They must first dissolve it by regurgitating a liquid onto the food. Since their stomach contents come mainly from rotting organic matter, the regurgitation behavior is yet another potential source of contamination. In fact a fly’s stomach contents will either be regurgitated at the next meal, or excreted in the form of feces, often on food that will be subsequently eaten by humans.

Tips

If you have light traps for controlling flying insects attracted to fluorescent light, make sure to empty them regularly and change the tubes every year.

If you have fruit fly pheromone traps, make sure they are in good condition and that the bait (liquid bait containing a pheromone called muscalure) has not evaporated.

Kitchen sink drains should be cleaned once a week and regularly disinfected.

Floor drains where food can collect should be brushed and disinfected at least once a week.

Keep floors clean and pay special attention to hard-to-reach areas (under equipment, counters, sinks, etc.).

Regularly clean walls to remove food deposits.

Wet towels and dirty cloths must be able to dry quickly or be stored in a dryer, plastic bag, or airtight container.

Mops and brooms and other cleaning equipment should be hung up (out of contact with the floor) so they can dry out more quickly.

Gaps and cracks should be caulked to prevent them being filled with food waste or stagnant water.

Prevent puddles of stagnant water from accumulating, both indoors and outdoors.

Thoroughly clean the inside and outside of waste containers at least once a week (this also applies to dumpsters.)

Keep your garbage disposal unit, dumpster, and surrounding areas clean.
Windows must be equipped with fine mesh mosquito screening in good condition.

Avoid keeping doors open. If possible, install a second door with mosquito screening to provide ventilation.

Keep the outside of your establishment clean.

Remember that keeping your establishment clean eliminates egg laying sites and food sources that promote fly development. In fact in the case of fruit flies, good housekeeping accounts for more than 90% of their control.

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