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Planning Retirement Online

Flies all about

August 2011 

Flies all aboutThey are everywhere. Flies come into our home, buzz around the kitchen, crawl over the television or computer screen, and sometimes create a really irritating buzz.

They can also be more than irritating, for houseflies can carry and spread a variety of diseases that are best avoided – diseases such as salmonella and the bacteria responsible for dysentery to conjunctivitis and even cholera.

The problem is that flies feed and reproduce on garbage and even faeces, and so pick up millions of micro-organisms. When you think they then fly into our homes and land on our food and kitchen surfaces as well as other places in our home, you begin to get an idea how easily they can spread germs. Small as they are, house flies can actually transmit intestinal worms.

The housefly isn’t a general name for flies, it is actually a species of fly, the musca domestica, and is the type of fly mainly found in our homes. They are classified as dipteral, two winged, which of course they are. Small as they are, houseflies can fly for over five miles or more, so don’t think they will quickly tire themselves out when they buzz and bounce all over your windows.

In the UK the housefly usually appears in late spring and, after breeding, they are at their most numerous in August and September. They stop breeding in late September and October and become much less active in the colder months.

Flies breed quickly; usually only two days after emerging as an adult a female fly will start to lay eggs. As an adult, in one season she can produce up to five batches of around 100 to 150 eggs a time. The eggs, small pearly white cylinders, are usually laid in moist decaying matter such as household rubbish and dung, and they hatch in one to two days. This is when they grow into those legless maggot larvae that can strike horror in anyone who discovers them in the larder or compost. Adults emerge up to three or four weeks later and the sequence will start all over again.

maggots on breadThe best way to avoid the housefly is to ensure there are no good breeding sites in close proximity to your house. Food sources must be kept sealed and waste food again covered before disposal. No one in the UK can avoid flies entirely, but by taking the basic precautions it can help diminish problems in your own home and family from these ubiquitous insects.

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