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The Fly: More Than Just an Annoyance
The common housefly is known as an annoying household pest. However, there are more to flies than you may know. Below is information about flies, disease, and measures that you can take to control them and protect your family's health.
What Do Houseflies Need to Breed and Survive?
Housefly populations can increase rapidly if conditions are favorable, including warmer temperatures, adequate breeding sites, and sources of food. Garbage cans, compost piles, and human and pet excrement all serve as breeding sites for flies. Flies feed on food that is usually in liquid form, rich in protein or sugar. If food is found in a solid form, flies use their saliva to liquefy it.
Can Houseflies Spread Disease?
Flies carry millions of pathogens that cling to their mouthparts, footpads, and body hair. Pathogens can also live in the fly’s intestinal tract. When flies feed, the bacteria that they carry on and in their bodies are deposited onto the food they eat. Flies can spread such diseases as dysentery and diarrhea.
How Can I Help to Control Houseflies?
The most efficient method used to control houseflies is called source reduction. Source reduction includes elimination of breeding sites and food sources from around your property. Keep garbage cans sealed, and garbage picked up on and around your property. If you have animals, such as horses or dogs, keep animal waste cleaned up. To prevent flies from entering your home, keep windows and doors screened. Insecticides may provide temporary control of flies. Also, eliminate food sources within the home.
If you have any questions about flies, please contact the City/County Vector Control Program at 873-6613, or the Bernalillo County Office of Environmental Health at 314-0310.