December 5, 2016
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Flies pose not only a health risk with their unsanitary habits, some of them can inflict painful bites.
Fruit flies are a tiny, tan or brown fly that have red eyes. Their abdomen is black on the top and gray underneath. They are usually only about 1/8”.
Indoors, fruit flies are a concern year-round and will find any fresh produce you keep in the house. Outdoors, their presence increases significantly around harvest time which differs by crop.
Fruit flies eat vegetables and fruits that are ripened as well as any other organic matter that is fermenting. Also, they are attracted to any standing water or moist areas because their larvae must develop where there is suitable moisture.
Fruit flies can be found in many common places like:
Near or in trash cans
Near decaying fruits and vegetables
In hard and soft drink containers
Near dirty/soiled dishes
Near spills on counters, tables, floors, pantries, and refrigerators
While fruit flies do not actually destroy property or possessions, they can ruin and destroy food which can be costly for both homeowners and business owners alike. Generally, fruit flies don’t bite people. They are certainly considered a health risk because they carry pathogenic bacteria on themselves from one unsanitary place to the next where they land and spread the bacteria.
Horse flies are a dark colored, heavy-bodied large fly with large dark green or black eyes. Their large wings are swept back along their long and pointed abdomen. The adult female horse flies are strong and fast flyers that suck blood from warm-blooded animals.
Here in Florida, horse flies are a concern year-round, with a peak in their numbers in the spring. On a daily basis, these biting flies are most active during the day. The cooler, early morning and evening hours are when they are most active. During the warmer times of the mid-day, they will hide in vegetation for a potential meal source to become available.
These flies breed in water or in mucky or muddy areas around ponds, swamps, and lakes. They are attracted to moist areas for breeding purposes, but will travel far to find a meal. They are attracted to livestock such as horses, cows and pigs but will certainly settle for wild animals and humans.
Horse flies are mostly found around horses and livestock but are easily found in shady and moist, wooded areas.
Horse flies are dangerous because they are a health concern. These concerns are centered around their bite. There is always a chance of experiencing an allergic reaction to the anticoagulant that is injected at the bite site or the bite site itself getting infected as it heals. The other risk of infection at the bite site is due to the exposure to the bacteria that the fly itself is carrying around from all of the other non-sanitary places that it has frequented.
The stable fly, also known as the dog fly, resembles a common house fly in size and color. But it has distinctive large and piercing mouthparts that project forward from its head. They are dark colored and are about 1/4” in size.
Florida has a year-round stable fly presence. But their numbers become abundant in the late fall, peaking in early January. These flies are most active in the cooler evening and morning hours. They will hide in foliage and vegetation in the shade during the heat of the day and wait for a potential meal to come their way.
Stable flies breed in decaying crop clippings, grass or hay residues, so these are an attractant for breeding purposes. These flies are a common biting pest around the world for both animals and humans alike. These strong flyers can travel up to two miles to find a suitable meal.
While stable flies can be found just about anywhere, they are concentrated greatly around livestock in barns and pastures.
Stable flies may not be considered destructive to material possessions or property, but they can negatively affect cattle and other livestock, decreasing dairy production. These flies can have multiple bite hosts in a short period of time, so there is a large risk for pathogen and disease transmission from one host to another. While they are vectors for several animal diseases, they are not known to be a significant spreader of human pathogens. There is always a chance for an allergic reaction to the bite, as well as an infection at the bite site for humans and animals alike.
Green bottle flies, otherwise known as blow flies, are a metallic green, 8-10 mm fly that is common through the world. They have large red eyes with yellow colored mouthparts, a hairy back and one set of clear iridescent wings that are a little longer than their bodies.
Outside, green bottle flies are most active on warm, sunny days and primarily rest on cool or cloudy days. Inside, they are attracted to bright lights and windows.
Green bottle flies are attracted to feces, garbage and decaying flesh and organic matter. Indoors they are attracted to garbage, food, pet food, windows, and lights.
These flies are distributed all over the world, but can be found anywhere there is a food source.
While green bottle flies are not destructive to property nor do they bite, they can pose a health risk. These flies are attracted to unsanitary areas where they have the potential of carrying pathogens and bacteria with them from place to place. They breed quickly, with one female green bottle fly laying about 2,000 to 3,000 eggs in her lifetime.
House flies are the most common flies that we deal with.
House flies are strong fliers, typically black, 1/4” long, and have reddish eyes.
Horse flies are a year-round concern here in Florida and are active at all times during the day.
House flies are attracted to the following things:
House flies are most usually found in barns, homes, poultry houses, and food processing plants.
The house fly’s breeding and feeding habits enable it to spread many pathogens and bacteria that may make one sick.
Humpback flies are a small, 1/8”, black or dull brown, fly that has a small head and a large thorax, which gives it a humpback look.
Humpback flies are a year-round issue for Florida with the warmer summer months seeing an increase in the species.
Humpback flies are attracted to decaying, moist organic material as a food source and as a prime place to lay their eggs. They will also feed on decaying flesh and favor dead animals over rotting vegetation.
Humpback flies can be found in any place that may have decaying flesh, food or vegetation. Keep an eye out for them in garbage cans and dumpsters, composting stations and in ant and termite nests.
While destruction is not really an issue with the humpback fly, danger is. These flies are one of the ‘filth fly’ species which means they spread germs, bacteria and pathogens around from place to place in their travels.