dos & don’ts: Flies

By |  August 10, 2013

“The house fly gut may provide a favorable environment for the evolution and emergence of pathogenic bacterial strains through acquisition of antibiotic resistance genes or virulence factors.” — Journal of Medical Entomology, 43 (2) 288-295 (2006)

In one study, urban sources of flies generated by various media were determined by percentage:

  • Garbage containers – 44.6%
  • Dog excrement – 15.1%
  • Scattered garbage – 9.2%
  • Fowl excrement – 6.5%
  • Grass – 3.3%
  • Coffee grounds – 2.7%
  • Dead animals – 2.3%
  • Human excrement – 1.9%
  • Meat – 1.7%
  • Other – 12.7%

Flying insect control isn’t just dealing with a nuisance; there’s a public health significance associated with filth flies. These flying infections move pathogens from filth to food. They vector diseases such as dysentery, gastroenteritis, tuberculosis and intestinal worms. Fly spotting is produced when feeding and defecating. Producing 16 to 31 spots in 24 hours, filth flies can harbor as many as 6 million external bacteria and 25 million internal bacteria. Effective filth fly control is supplemented within urban areas through the practice of cultural and biological controls, per the integrated pest management (IPM) template.

  • Do interview your client to gather detailed information about filth fly pressures and possible sources. Take notes.
  • Don’t overlook any detail provided in Q&A discovery with your client because the smallest detail could be key to a successful intervention.
  • Do determine the fly species.
  • Don’t forget to screen windows and doors effectively.
  • Do use tight-fitting lids on garbage cans and clean regularly.
  • Don’t forget to compost using a hot aerobic method.*
  • Do use outdoor visual and odorant attraction traps treated with insecticide bait. Follow all label directions.
  • Don’t forget to use proper manure management practices.
  • Do use a microbial-based product to degrade organic biomass (vomit, urine, blood and excrement).
  • Don’t forget to use available pupal parasitoids (parasitic Muscidifurax and Spalangia wasps) for biological control. pmp

*A self-heating (calor) aerobic and microbial degrading process can convert organic waste materials into plant nutrients. The process consists of the initial mesophilic phase, the thermophilic phase, and the cooling or maturation phase.

Dr. Mitchell, D.O., Ph.D., M.P.H., B.C.E., a board-certified physician and entomologist, is principal technical specialist for PestWest Environmental, as well as PMP’s Technical Editor. He can be reached at or 515-333-8923.

This article is tagged with and posted in Flies, Technical

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