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Flies cannot chew. They have to suck up their food. Flies have mouth parts that absorb food like a sponge. Their food has to be in a liquid form in order for them to eat it. They have a tongue shaped like a drinking straw to slurp up their meals. Flies that eat nectar or blood do so by using their tongue which is called a proboscis. Even flies that eat other insects do so by sucking out the insides of their victims. When a housefly lands on our food, it vomits on the food. The digestive juices, enzymes, and saliva in the vomit begin to break down and dissolve the food. The fly can then suck up the liquid food with its sponge-like mouth parts and its proboscis. If flies eat food from garbage cans or any other source of germy food, some of those germs stick to the fly's mouthparts and when the fly vomits on its next snack (your sandwich?), it transfers some of those germs.

Houseflies spread germs in other ways, too. The trouble is-- houseflies breed in and around manure piles (manure is the big, wet, warm droppings of cows, sheep, horses, and other large mammals), garbage, and rotting flesh. All of these places provide a good source of food for the maggots when they hatch. Flies have sticky pads on their feet, and every time a fly lands on something in our home and walks around on it, it leaves behind little bits of manure, garbage, or rotting flesh. When they walk on our food or our countertops, they leave behind germs from the last place they visited.

Flies can spread typhoid fever. During the Spanish-American War in 1898, typhoid was spread by flies and killed over 5,000 soldiers. The battles themselves in this war only killed 4,000 soldiers! Flies also spread malaria, yellow fever, sleeping sickness, and dysentery.
Facts About Flies

All insects are an integral part of our ecosystems. As part of food chains, insects provide sustenance (dinner) for countless other animals. For instance, just one crow can eat as many as 16 bushels of insects in one year. So--all insects are beneficial and necessary. It's just that with some insects--like flies--it's harder to remember that they are a necessary part of the world around us.

There are more than 100,000 different species of flies. They are found everywhere in the world--even in Antarctica. They belong to the order of insects called Diptera which means "two wings". Most insects have 4 wings. On the bodies of flies, however, over time, this second set of wings developed into small knobs called halteres that are located behind their main wings. These knobs help keep flies steady and balanced when they fly and make them very agile. They can maneuver themselves into intricate flight patterns, they can hover and spin, and they can even fly backwards.

Like all insects, flies have 6 legs and segmented bodies consisting of a head, a thorax and an abdomen.

Flies have hairy, sticky feet and are able to walk upside down. Their special feet enable them to land on smooth surfaces (like your wall) and not slide off.

Flies lay their eggs in soil, on plants, on the bodies of other animals, and frequently on dead or rotting flesh. Fly larvae are usually called maggots.

Different flies dine on different foods. Flies around the world eat nectar, plant sap, blood, other insects, and decaying matter. Did you know that a mosquito is actually a type of fly? Of the species of flies that eat blood, only the females are the blood eaters. They need the nutrients in blood to be able to lay eggs. The males of these species usually dine on nectar from plants and flowers. The species of flies that we call houseflies like to eat OUR food!


Tips for controlling Flies

Almost all nuisance fly species are best controlled by eliminating larval developmental sites and reducing adult attractants in the vicinity of buildings or other areas of concern. Attractive material (such as garbage cans) should always be placed at some distance from a building entrance, and barriers such as screens, doors, and air curtains should be used to prevent flies from entering buildings.

Chemicals are only rarely required in residential situations. Their use generally leads only to short-term control because they target adult flies and leave the larval fly stages intact and capable of producing the next generation of adult flies

Sticky fly papers or ribbons are effective at eliminating a few flies in relatively confined areas, but are not effective enough to manage heavy infestations or to provide control in an outdoor setting. Inverted cone traps containing fly food attractants can be readily purchased commercially and are effective when they are not competing with nearby garbage or animal wastes. The fly food attractants used in these inverted cone traps will be quite foul smelling, so the traps should be placed at some distance from occupied structures. Fly traps using ultraviolet light may be effective when used indoors where they are not competing with daytime sunlight. For control of just a few flies, the time-tested fly swatter is appropriate. Don�t use fly swatters near food preparation areas because they may result in contaminating food with insect body parts.

Selective use of insecticides against house flies is one component of a total fly management program, but should only be used after all possible nonchemical strategies have been employed. In most home situations, pesticides are not needed or recommended. Sanitation methods along with screens to keep flies out of the home should be sufficient. If sanitation efforts are not possible, a nonresidual pyrethrin aerosol may be used. Outside, a professional pest control company can be hired to apply residual insecticides to surfaces such as walls and overhangs that are being used by the flies as resting areas. Fly baits used in trash areas may be effective in reducing the number of adult flies if proper sanitation practices are followed. However, when flies have access to garbage, baits will not control them.


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