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fly insects

What is a filth fly (diptera) and what kind of habitat does it prefer?

Filth flies is a generic name for various species of flies that live on decomposing material. The kinds of flies that make up filth flies are subject to interpretation; I decided to go for a broader definition of the term, that includes medium size species like the house fly to large species such as soldier flies.
Like their more distant relatives, the mosquitoes, filth flies may live around people and cause harm.  Filth fly is a generic term for various species of fly, large or medium-sized. Their larvae look like worms and are called maggots. The most common is the house fly, (Musca domestica), gray with a lined thorax and red eyes. Blow flies and bottle flies are larger, with metallic blue and green colors. Their larvae usually live on dead animal tissue, such as carrion, roadkill, near  plants which process meat products. Adults prefer sugary food sources, but they still come in touch with dead animals where they lay their eggs. Soldier flies are large flies with black wings and “elbowed” antennae. Their larvae, or maggots, and pupae are over one inch long, dark brown and flattened. Flesh flies look a bit like the house flies, with stripes on their thorax, but they are larger and may have a checkerboard pattern on their abdomen. In some species the tip of the abdomen is red. Flesh flies usually lay their eggs on dead animals or dog waste, but their name comes from their habit of laying their larvae in open wounds. The female does not lay eggs, but keeps them inside the body. When it finds a suitable food source, it deposits the maggots, which soon burrow under the surface of the carcass or other feeding material.

Filth flies are to be found worldwide. They are to be found anywhere they may find their favorite food sources, which are all sorts of decaying and decomposing matter: plant or animal waste (such as manure), garbage, carrion, sludge, all organic debris or rotting material. They are more present in rural areas than in urban areas, especially near farms, slaughterhouses and meat-processing units. Adult flies do not consume solid food, but instead lick all sorts of liquids, spreading their saliva and vomit wherever they may go. Also, they eat relatively much and defecate a lot.  They may carry diseases to human food sources and preparation areas and contaminate them.  Food sources for them and their larvae may be infested with pathogens. Filth flies are known to carry germs for over one hundred diseases, such as hepatitis, polio, dysentery, typhoid, cholera, anthrax, tuberculosis and others. Among the germs they carry are Salmonella, E. coli, Giardia, and  eggs of parasitic worms such as the roundworm Ascaris, whipworm, hookworm, dwarf tapeworm and pinworm.

In order to get rid of filth flies one must, first of all, eliminate their food sources from the environment (such as pet feces) or access to trash or dead animals. Secondly, access to human habitation must be restricted. Still, flies may travel miles and still are able to get inside buildings alongside humans or through cracks and holes.  Therefore, we may need pest control measures.

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