The house fly: small insect, big problems!

The house fly, Musca domestica Linnaeus, is a well-known cosmopolitan pest ofHousefly both farm and home. This species is always found in association with humans or the activities of humans. It is the most common species found on hog and poultry farms, horse stables and ranches. Not only are house flies a nuisance, but they can also transport disease-causing organisms. Excessive fly populations are not only an irritant to farm workers but, when there are nearby human habitations, a public health problem could occur.

This common fly originated on the steppes of central Asia, but now occurs on all inhabited continents, in all climates from tropical to temperate, and in a variety of environments ranging from rural to urban. It is commonly associated with animal feces, but has adapted well to feeding on garbage, so it is abundant almost anywhere people live.

The house fly has a complete metamorphosis with distinct egg, larval or maggot, pupal and adult stages. The house fly overwinters in either the larval or pupal stage under manure piles or in other protected locations. Warm summer conditions are generally optimum for the development of the house fly, and it can complete its life cycle in as little as seven to ten days. However, under suboptimal conditions the life cycle may require up to two months. As many as 10 to 12 generations may occur annually in temperate regions, while more than 20 generations may occur in subtropical and tropical regions.

Flies commonly develop in large numbers in poultry manure under caged hens, and this is a serious problem requiring control. Although this fly species does not bite, the control of Musca domestica is vital to human health and comfort in many areas of the world. The most important damage related with this insect is the annoyance and the indirect damage produced by the potential transmission of pathogens (viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes) associated with this fly. Pathogenic organisms are picked up by flies from garbage, sewage and other sources of filth, and then transferred on their mouthparts, through their vomitus, feces and contaminated external body parts to human and animal food.

Of particular concern is the movement of flies from animal or human feces to food that will be eaten uncooked by humans. Also, when consumed by flies, some pathogens can be harbored in the mouthparts or alimentary canal for several days, and then be transmitted when flies defecate or regurgitate. In situations where plumbing is lacking, such as open latrines, serious health problems can develop, especially if there are outdoor food markets, hospitals, or slaughter houses nearby. Among the pathogens commonly transmitted by house flies are Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, Escherichia, Enterococcus, Chlamydia, and many other species that cause illness. These flies are most commonly linked to outbreaks of diarrhea and shigellosis, but also are implicated in transmission of food poisoning, typhoid fever, dysentery, tuberculosis, anthrax, ophthalmia, and parasitic worms.

The threshold density for determining when to control flies depends on the area where the control measures will be taken. In general, at homes the threshold is very low and control actions are taken with few flies. The complaint threshold density of the house fly at waste management sites may be 150 individuals per flypaper per 30 minutes.

Tolerance of flies depends greatly on circumstances. In sensitive environments such as food preparation and packing facilities, restaurants, and hospitals, even small numbers of flies cannot be tolerated. In the context of livestock or poultry production, however, some flies are inevitable. Serious problems occur when cities or suburban development occur near poultry production facilities, as residents usually will not tolerate the large numbers of flies emanating from such facilities.

Let us look at the below news that shows house fly menace:

Housefly menace makes life miserable for Karnal villagers
Tribune News Service, Karnal, June 16, 2016, India

Residents of Rasoolpur Kalan village, around 7 km from here, are facing a hard time because of swarms of houseflies. Villagers said they were worried as the houseflies could lead to an outbreak of an epidemic. They said the unhygienic conditions in poultry farms situated near the village were responsible for the nuisance.

Sarpanch of Rasoolpur Kalan village Rameshwar Dass said despite approaching the authorities several times, no action had been initiated so far against the poultry farm owners. The sarpanch said flies breed in the waste from the poultry farms, making the lives of the residents miserable.

“I have been running from pillar to post since taking charge as sarpanch to eradicate this menace. I have approached the CM window, Deputy Commissioner, Sub-Divisional Magistrate and even the Pollution Control Board, Yamunanagar, but the authorities have taken no action so far,” he maintained.

Dass said the villagers would protest at the Chief Minister’s camp office on Friday in support of their demand. He alleged that the owners of the poultry farms were reaping profit and not taking steps to ensure cleanliness of their farms.

The sarpanch said swarms of houseflies could be seen in the village as a result of which the livestock were also badly affected. He alleged that the housefly menace was the reason for low milk production in the village.

A villager, Bittu, said they had given a representation to the authorities seeking action against the poultry farms that were allegedly dumping waste of the farms in an unscientific way, thereby, causing air pollution in the area.

To prevent and control house fly menace the use of pesticides and insecticides is not beneficial because the effect of them stays only for certain period of time. The toxic chemicals present in them cause harm to beneficial insects and microorganisms. The evaporated toxic fumes from them are hazardous to human health. They can also degrade the quality of product they are applied to.

Termirepel™- anti insect additive a C Tech Corporation product is an ideal solution for the prevention and control of house fly menace. The masterbatch of Termirepel™ can be incorporated in various polymeric applications which are used. While Termirepel™ solution and lacquer can be coated to fence, wooden objects, furniture, walls, ceilings etc. It follows 6 pronged strategy which is extremely effective on house flies as well as insects like ants, beetles, grasshopper, termites etc.

Termirepel™ is a non toxic and non hazardous anti insect additive. It is thermally stable and does not degrade on exposure to heat and sunlight. It does not kill or harm the insect but repels them. It does not volatilize and does not degrade the soil. It is RoHS, RoHS2, REACH compliant and FIFRA exempted.