The ubiquitous fly is defined as an insect with one pair of functional wings for flight and a pair of vestigial hind-wings called halteresfor balance. They are classified as an order called Diptera, a name derived from two Greek words: di meaning two and pteron, meaning wings.
Houseflies can be the bane of any business, particularly the restaurant industry, where owners and managers deal with food preparation and service perpetually.
House flies, fruit flies and drain flies specifically are very attracted to food odors and can contaminate freshly prepared food on display in grocery stores and supermarkets throughout the Pittsburgh area.
Storage areas and drains that are not properly maintained by outside professionals also provide suitable settings for flies to reproduce quickly. For restaurants and other food-related facilities, this can spell disaster.
Read on to learn more about this flying nuisance, send us a message or contact our team today (412) 252-5200 for any of our emergency-related or preventative pest control services.
House Fly Habits And Identification
Known scientifically as Musca domestica, the housefly is comfortable in both residential and commercial spaces.
While it is believed this insect originated on the steppes of Central Asia, it can be found in all inhabited continents of the world, all climates from tropical to temperate and all environments where humans are present.
They breed in moist decaying vegetable matter, uncovered garbage cans or pet food. Eggs are laid in batches of 120 to 150 and they can hatch within 8 to 72 hours.
The housefly is 6 to 7 mm long, and the female is usually larger than the male. The two are distinguished from each other by the relatively wide space between the eyes of the female.
Although flies have been known to live up to two months, adults usually live 15 to 25 days. Longevity is determined by the availability of suitable food, especially sugar. Unlike other insects, flies are not nocturnal, and at night they are known to rest upon ceilings; beams; overhead wires within buildings; trees and shrubs; outdoor wires and grasses.
They can be problematic in restaurants and other facilities related to food storage and production as well as the average residence, farms, stables and hog and poultry farms. They often are seen outside buildings feeding on rotting fruits and vegetables, manure and decaying organic material, but usually this indicates that they are really coming from inside the structure.
The Fly’s Damage Cause To Pittsburgh & Pennsylvania Industry
Despite their tiny size, houseflies can wreak havoc within Pittsburgh restaurant industry operations.
Besides a loss of business, reputation and revenue, an excessive fly population can lead to serious contamination issues and regulatory action. Flies are more than just irritating intruders. They can and often do cause public health problems.
Tolerance of the presence of flies depends on the environment in which they are found. For example, in food preparation and packing facilities, restaurants, and hospitals, even small numbers of flies must be eliminated.
In the livestock and poultry production industries, some flies are always inevitable, but in large numbers they must be eradicated as soon as possible.
Some Ideas For Prevention and Control
In most cases, professional intervention will be necessary to eradicate a fly infestation, but some preventive measures that commercial establishments can take include: cultural control, which means changing the environment to prevent house flies from developing.
This method suggests disposing of organic matter, such as food byproducts in which flies often lay their eggs; keeping windows screened and doors closed; placing exhaust (blower) systems above doors, and installing doors that open and close mechanically.
The Fly And Its Place In Pennsylvania Nature
Although the house-fly can be highly destructive and the bane of many a restaurant’s existence and operations, this insect also has its place among the natural order of things.
Adult flies pollinate many plants, including the cacao tree, which produces chocolate. While their pollination abilities cannot be compared to the efficiency of true bees, flies pollinate varieties of plants that bees are not attracted to either because of the flower coloration or the unpleasant scent they may emit which can resemble rotting meat. Some plants that flies pollinate include: wild ginger, red trillium, catnip, paw-paw, skunk cabbage, certain orchids and jack-in-the-pulpit.
Flies are also recyclers, as they feed on decaying waste such as dung and dead animals. They are an important link in the food chain because they themselves become daily brunch for birds, spiders and other insects.
House Flies Are Know To Carry Illness
House flies and drain fliesare known to carry over 100 pathogens that can cause disease in humans including: Salmonella, Cholera, Shigella, Campylobacter, E. coli, Cryptosporidium, parasitic worms and fungi.
They feed on rotting materials, fecal matter and stored and processed foods in food processing plants. Contamination occurs as they move between clean and tainted food sources, transporting both the filth on their bodies and internal microorganisms.
One disgusting fact about houseflies is that they are known to regurgitate digestive juices and defecate while feeding.
The Specific Fly Species That Harm Businesses
There are a few fly species that are threats to grocery stores, supermarkets, food processing plants and restaurants because they are attracted to food odors. These include: the drain fly, the fruit fly and the housefly.
Our pest control and pest management experts must first determine which species they are dealing with before proper pest control and pest management practices can be deployed.
Relevant Studies and Statistics
A recent Texas study concluded that breeding site suitability for flies (in descending order) was horse manure, human excrement, cow manure, fermenting vegetable matter, and kitchen waste.
However, another study found that structures containing swine, horse, sheep, cattle, and poultry varied in fly populations, with swine facilities containing the most and poultry the least. Fruit and vegetable cull piles, partially incinerated garbage, and incompletely composted manure are also favored breeding locations.
Fly Control Solutions For Pittsburgh Businesses
Our technicians are highly experienced and offer restaurant owners and business managers many options for pest control and pest management.
In continuous operation for more than seven decades, we can provide superior professional advice and solutions based on prevention, understanding insect behavior and the ability to identify signs of an infestation. Pest exclusion, electronic non-zapping fly sconces, lites and attraction lamps are just the first of many steps within our integrated pest management arsenal.
A Complete Commercial Hygiene Services Program
Commercial enterprises of all kinds within the Pittsburgh and western PA environs can now benefit from this special bundle of services known as the Complete Facility Care Program.
This diverse hygiene initiative offers washroom hygiene services by Enviro-Master, pest control and pest management strategies provided by Pestco and environmental odor and air-freshening solutions supplied by Air-Scent.
This vast array of professional services is available under the cost-effective blanket of one highly respected company (Pestco) that has been in continuous operation since 1948. It ensures that restaurant owners in Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania can breathe a sigh of relief about their restrooms, which are always trouble spots.
In addition, with this program we can develop an air freshening and odor control strategy and maintain an enterprise that is clean and healthy at all times. This program provides the best ambient air-care, pest control and pest management strategies and washroom hygiene solutions that money can buy.
Contact our team today for a fly-free tomorrow!
Final thought about flies in restaurants: Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup. ~ Henny Youngman
Some Unusual And Fascinating Facts About House Flies
The following odd factoids about flies are not meant to make these insects more endearing to human beings. Our specialists will still need to eliminate them in order for your commercial space to be clean and healthy. Still, they do offer their own unique kind of pause.
- Flies Have Only Two Functional Wings
Unlike other flying insects that have four functional wings, flies have only two. This grants them great maneuverability in flight. They can fly up and down, side to side and even backwards. The hind wings act as sensors of rotational movement and allow them to perform acrobatically. They also have hairy feet, can stick to almost any surface and can easily walk across a ceiling.
- Flies Do Not Have Teeth
Instead of teeth, flies have a long tongue called a proboscis, which sucks up food like a straw. When a housefly lands on someone’s lunch, it vomits on the food. Acids in the vomit dissolve the food so the fly can suck it up.
- The Diseases Flies Carry Kill More People Than Wars
Believe it or not, during the Spanish-American War (1899), 5,000 soldiers died from typhoid, a disease spread by flies. Consider this statistic against another: 4,000 soldiers were actually killed in combat.
- Flies Taste With Their Feet
Butterflies share this same ability, and it has to do with the fact that taste receptors are located on their lower legs and feet. These receptors are 10 million times more sensitive to sugar than the human tongue.
- Flies Are Able To See Behind Them
Certainly an enviable trait for the more paranoid among us, flies can see behind them because of their very unusual compound eyes. They provide the insects with a nearly 360-degree field of vision.
- Flies Have Extremely Rapid Reaction Times
Swatting a fly isn’t ever easy and there’s a reason why this is so. It’s because of their agility and quick reaction time. The human brain processes about 60 images per second while the average housefly can absorb 250 in a single second.
- A Female Housefly Can Lay Up To 600 Eggs In Her Short Lifetime
Most flies live an average of 21 days and take on various shapes throughout their short lives. One researcher determined that if all the eggs from one house fly female survived and matured and all of her subsequent offspring survived and matured, the result would be more than a billion flies produced in one year.
- It Is Estimated There Are About 120,000 Fly Species In theWorld
Flies are found in almost all of the habitats in the world except Antarctica, and there are about 18,000 species in North America alone. Their large family includes but is by no means limited to: house flies; blow flies; gnats; black flies; midges and fruit flies.
- House Flies Live On A Liquid Diet
This is due to their anatomical construction, as they lack the mouthparts required to chew food.
- Warmer Climates Are Active Breeding Grounds
Basically, the warmer the temperature, the faster fly eggs will hatch and develop into adults. An average garbage can could become the receptacle for over 1,000 new flies a week, which is more than any other known surface!