These are particularly dangerous insects as they carry bacteria and other harmful micro-organisms from the most filthy places onto our food. Flies are responsible for causing cholera, dysentery, typhoid and other food-borne diseases. Flies have the filthy habit of regurgitating food from their gut as they feed, and excreting faecal pellets on the food. They are attracted by the odour of decaying organic matter where they breed and feed.
Flies are not only a nuisance pest but of greater concern is their potential as a carrier of disease organisms, having been found to harbour over 100 different pathogenic organisms.
House flies are general feeders, being attracted to a wide variety of substances from excrement to human foods. Because of their sponging mouthparts, they can feed only on liquids. However, through regurgitation they are able to liquefy many desirable solid foods. Also, a house fly excretes and regurgitates whenever it comes to rest. This habit coupled with its many body hairs and bristles and the sticky pads at the base of the claws on each leg make house flies well adapted for transporting disease organisms.
They have been shown to be disease pathogen transmitters via their vomit, faeces, and contaminated external body parts.
House flies have been shown to harbour over 100 different kinds of disease, many of which are associated with filth. Such pathogens include those causing:
- Typhoid fever
- Salmonellosiso parasitic worms.
Larger than the housefly, these are shiny, metallic blue or green in colour. They’re also known as the “Blue-bottle” fly. They frequent garbage dumps, dead animals, excrement and food. They are recognised by the loud buzzing sound they make when flying.
These are very small and yellow-brown in colour. They fly around decayed fruit, vegetables or rubbish. Fruit flies tend to be more active around dawn and dusk.
Flies are best controlled through proper sanitation.
- Remove garbage, faeces and other animal matter regularly.
- Dispose of such material in a tied plastic bag.
- Manure to be used as fertilizers should be dry and kept in tied bags when not in use. Cover manure with a layer of earth or soil so as not to leave the manure exposed to flies for breeding.
- Fly screens fitted to windows and doors prevent flies from entering your home.
- Aerosol insecticides can be used to kill adult flies. However, this is undesirable in kitchens, restaurants and F&B outlets. Instead, a fly bait consisting of syrup or food mixed with insecticide is more suitable.
- The use of electric “zappers” at strategic locations in restaurants and food processing areas is effective as a monitoring station to identify the type of flies as well as for control. Larger “zappers” are used in gardens for flies and moth control.
- The most effective preventive measure is to simply ensure premises are free of exposed food sources and wastes that flies are attracted to.
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