When Flies Turn from Good to Bad

Contrary to popular opinion, flies are good by nature. They serve an important purpose in the web of life by helping to decompose dead matter such as feces, carcasses and vegetation that’s decaying. Flies also serve as food for birds, reptiles, fish and other critters. Nevertheless, flies turn from good to bad when they invade your home to become pests and possibly transmit diseases. Because flies help decompose organic matter, their lives revolve around it. Most flies lay their eggs in decomposing matter. Their eggs hatch into maggots that eat that matter for food. Eventually, the maggots wander off -- sometimes as far as 100 feet -- and become pupae. The pupae, in turn, become flies, which then lay more eggs. Common Flies in Your Home Some common flies in your home can include: • House flies • Blow flies • Fruit flies • Cluster flies

House Flies

Once inside your home, house flies live and breed there. The danger they present comes from how they digest their food: They turn food into a liquid by regurgitating it onto the food they’re eating. They also defecate on the food as well. Their regurgitated food and the feces they deposit can transmit diseases that cause food poisoning, typhoid fever, dysentery and diarrhea.

Blow Flies

Blow flies lay their eggs inside dead animals, which then become bloated, thus giving the flies the name “blow fly.” Dead mice in your walls can become a breeding ground for blow flies. Blow flies also lay eggs in dog and cat feces.

Fruit Flies

Fruit flies hang around fruit that’s ripening, overripe or rotten. They also like sweets such as soda, syrup and vinegar.

Cluster Flies

Unlike the other flies, cluster flies breed outdoors and seek refuge in the upper stories and attic of your home during the cold weather. Also unlike the other flies, cluster flies lay their eggs on earthworms. Cluster flies don’t transmit any known diseases, but can be pests. In cold weather, they become lethargic, moving around slowly on walls, window panes and window sills. In sunshine, they move with vim and vigor. In warm weather, they also go outside to live until the cold weather returns.

Getting Flies Out of Your Home

The best way to get flies out of your home is by not letting them inside in the first place. Outside your house, eliminate breeding grounds for flies. Cover any trash cans you leave out -- and clean them each time you empty them. Dispose of dog droppings right away, bagging them and putting them in sealed containers. Also remove any plants in your yard that are decaying. Block potential entryways into your house. Seal all openings, such as those around vents, where the flies might get through. Make sure your screens are on tightly and patch any holes. Install door sweeps and automatic door closers. If you don’t already have screen doors, install them. If flies should get inside your home, put all non-refrigerated food in sealed containers. Throw out over-ripened fruit or put it in the fridge (which is the best way to eliminate fruit flies). Sure, you can swat the flies, trap them or kill them with poison. But unless you remove their food sources, the flies will keep coming back. So help flies continue providing their beneficial services by keeping them outside where Mother Nature intended.

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