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House flies are the most common fly found in and around homes. The adults are not large, 1/8-1/4â€ť long, and dull gray. The larvae or maggots, are 1/4-3/8â€ť long when mature. They are whitish, eyeless, legless and taper towards the front
Female flies lay eggs Lessthan 1/16â€ť long singly or in clusters of 20-50 (350- 900/lifetime) in moist material like garbage. The larvae hatch in 8-20 hours. Maggots feed for 3-7 days. They then crawl, up to 150 feet, to cool dry areas to pupate. Pupation, the resting stage where maggots change into adults takes 3-4 days.
Flies normally stay within one or two miles of their point of origin, but some have been known to travel as far as twenty miles.
Food varies from excrement to human food. Adults feed only on liquid food and can mechanically transmit many disease pathogens. Female flies will seek out any warm, moist material that has sufficient food for larval development. In daylight hours, flies tend to rest less than 5 feet from the ground on walls, floors, etc. At night, they tend to rest above 5 feet near their daytime food sources.
Life Cycle : Female house flies deposit their eggs in decaying organic matter such as garbage and human and animal excrement. Horse manure is the preferred breeding medium. Each female deposits about 100-150 eggs on appropriate food. Eggs hatch in a day or two into worm-like creatures called maggots. Maggots lack definite heads, eyes, antennae and legs. Their bodies are pointed at the front end and gradually widen at the rear.
Fly maggots feed on the material in which they have hatched. Following three larval molts, mature larvae stop feeding and burrow into drier surrounding areas, where they pupate. The pupa is a chestnut-brown, oval object within which the larva changes into an adult house fly.
Adults mate within one to two days after emerging from their pupal cases. The life cycle from egg to adult can be completed in as little as one week, but typically takes three weeks. House fly adults normally live about two and a half weeks during the summer, but they can survive up to three months at lower temperatures. Some overwinter outdoors in protected locations, or in crevices in buildings.
Management :The four basic principles of house fly control in order of lasting effectiveness are sanitation, exclusion, non-chemical measures, and chemical methods.
Sanitation: Flies canâ€™t breed in large numbers if food sources are limited. Donâ€™t allow materials such as manure, garbage, weed piles, grass clippings, or other decaying organic matter to accumulate. Keep trash cans clean and tightly covered. Be careful not to wash garbage cans where the rinse water might drain into the soil; flies can breed in soil full of organic matter.
Exclusion: Flies can be kept outside of homes by the use of window and door screens. Make sure screens are tight fitting and without holes. Keep doors closed, making certain there are no openings at the top or bottom. And check for openings around water or gas pipes or electrical conduits that feed into the building. Caulk or plug any openings. Ventilation holes can also serve as a route for flies to enter a building. Ventilation is necessary to keep adequate air circulation in a building, but use screening to exclude flies.
House flies â€“ Life Cycle
Non-chemical Measures: The use of devices like ultraviolet-light traps, sticky fly traps, fly swatters, and baited fly traps can eliminate many flies inside a home, but the fly swatter is an economical control method for the occasional fly.
Chemical Control: Exterior applications of insecticides may offer some relief from infestations where the task of completely sealing the exterior is difficult or impossible. Applications should consist of a synthetic pyrethroid (i.e. deltamethrin, cyfluthrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, cypermethrin, sumithrin or tralomethrin) and should be applied by a licensed pest control operator.
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