Fly Pest Infestation & Prevention: Understanding Flies
All flies come from the Diptera order which is one of the largest orders in the world with 150,000 species in it. From those, 6,000 species can be found in Australia. They inhabit all parts of Australia but most of them can be found in forests and near freshwater sources.
Despite some differences in their structure, the majority of adult flies can be recognised easily by having only one pair of wings that are functional. The hind wings are known as "halteres" and they vibrate during flight. They are actually a gyroscopic organ that give them balance during flying. Their head carries a pair of large eyes and an antenna. Their mouthparts are made for sucking and mopping up nectar. Some species such as mosquitoes have mouthparts that have evolved into biting tools that can pierce skin and suck blood.
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More about flies and why you need a pest control professional
During their lifecycle, flies go through a complete metamorphosis. Most adult females are oviparous and lay eggs near or on food sources. Some flies such as those that belong to the family Sarcophagidae are known as flesh flies. They are viviparous which means that they deposit live larvae on decomposing matter. The emerging larvae feed on decomposing vegetable matter and some are even predatory or parasitic.
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What are common types of flies in Australia?
Flies are a very common sight in Australia and although a couple of them can be a benefit to nature, they are always a nuisance to humans. They carry diseases such as typhoid, cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery and worms. Not all flies are problematic but there are some that are known to cause trouble. Not all species can be treated by pest controllers as some species such as vinegar flies are very difficult to control. These are the fly species that we come in contact with:
This a very big family with many different species that have economic and medical importance. Best known species is the Musca domestica, a house fly which can grow from 5 to 8 mm and have a grey thorax abdomen. Adults are known to carry a broad range of pathogenic bacteria that can affect both humans and domestic animals.
House flies are very common in domestic areas and for some reason they like our dinner plates. Larvae can be found present in animal faeces and decomposing matter. A lesser housefly (Fannia canicularis) is also a very common and known species which can be distinguished by its erratic flight. Adults are from 3 to 6 mm long with grey thorax and abdomen. They have distinctive stripes on the thorax. Adults are found in domestic areas and animal houses. Larvae feed on organic matter.
Rather uncommon species is the stable fly (Stomoxys calcitrans) and it is very rare in houses but common in animal facilities. These flies are about 5 to 7 mm in size and have a very distinctive piercing and sucking mouthparts. They rest with their wings widely apart. The larvae feed on almost all organic material while adults feed on animal blood.
Bluebottles or blow flies (family Calliphoridae)
These are a very large family with a stouter build than those from Muscidae. They grow up to 13 mm in size and can come in a variety of colours which range from black, green, blue and bronze. Adults are strongly attracted to moisture and eat mainly nectar, honey and other sweet liquids. Although they can be seen in massive numbers, they are very rare as pests or disease carriers. The larvae are known to cause "blowfly strike" in sheep which is a condition that causes many millions of dollars in damage to the industry.
Fruit flies (family Tephritidae)
They can be found everywhere there is fruit and around decaying fruit. Fruit flies (Dacus spp.) is a notorious pest to commercial industries and can cause significant damage if left untreated. Adults eat sap, nectar, honey and droppings. Vinegar flies can become a problem in homes and restaurants when there is a presence of rotting or decaying fruit. Adults can grow from 3 to 6 mm and have brown and yellow or brown and black eyes while some can even have completely red eyes. Their head and thorax is tan while the abdomen is black.
When indoors, these flies can be seen flying over fruit and veggies, garbage and bottles of fruit juices, beer, wine and vinegar. They are famous for their quick breeding abilities and you can sometimes see hundreds of them in one food source. They are very difficult to control because many clients can be hard to convince that the sole reason behind the issue is the poor hygiene.
Drain or moth flies (family Psychodidae)
These flies can be often seen in bathrooms and toilets. Adult flies can become very common indoors around drains and urinals. They are the result of drain issues such as blocked and broken drains. When you have blocked drains, organic matter accumulates on which drain flies feed. Same as Vinegar flies, drain flies are a result of low hygiene. Adult moth flies are very small, typically between 4 and 5 mm with dark colour body which is covered in hair. They have hair on their wings and very long antennae. Wings can seem as too large for their body and are somewhat similar to the roof when they are resting. They are very poor fliers and their flight is very irregular.
Flesh flies (family Sarcophagidae)
They can grow up to 13 mm and have a striped thorax and a pattern on their abdomen. They can be found near carcasses such as dead rats. If you see them on the wall or a ceiling, you can be certain that there is something dead in the vicinity.
Sciarid (family Sciaridae)
Sciarid is a common type of small flies. Their larvae can be found in great numbers on rotting vegetables or soils with high amounts of organic matter. Pest controllers can find them in houses with pot plants in which they are breeding. Adults are a big annoyance to house owners as they can start to believe that they are being bitten.
Phorid flies (Hunchback)
From the family Phoridae, these flies have very similar habits as Sciarid flies. Adult Phorid flies are very small with a very large thorax. They can be found in houses with gardens and pot plants. They also can give the illusion that they are biting people.
These include species as horse flies, sand flies, stable and black flies. Most pest managers do not treat these very often and when they do, they have a very limited success.
How can I get rid of flies in my house?
Flies can be a real trouble and annoyance. They are also known as disease carriers some of which can be deadly. They are quick breeders and can live almost everywhere. This makes their control and management very difficult. When doing fly management, you need to ensure the following steps are taken:
- Properly identify the flies species
- Undertake a detailed site assessment
- Evaluate possible pest management measures
- Use the appropriate insecticide products
Do You Have A Problem With Flies?
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