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07 Flies

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The next pest group that we want to talk about is also one that we're asked to deal with almost on a routine basis, in some cases year round. And that's the flies. We typically think of flies as being a seasonal kind of pest, and they are, but there are so many different species of flies that there's always some of them present, either inside or outside, depending on the time of the year, but we can actually have fly-control throughout the entire year. Take a look at the flies here, flying around. They move very quick, these are fast animals as you all have seen. The fly is an opportunistic feeder, it will feed on any type of food and touch any type of surface, looking for food all the time. And it is the way that this animal feeds that we'll talk about, that really is what creates such a problem, with this insect. As you can see, it likes to groom itself by rubbing its feet on its body and so forth, so anything that is on the outside of that fly's body is potentially transferred to the surface that they're sitting on. So what flies are we most interested in? There's a lot of flies out there, but typically what we're dealing with in urban structural pest control are house flies, blow flies, stable flies, this group called small nuisance flies that we'll talk about, and then there's a lot of others but these are the ones that we are probably combating and fighting most of the time. House flies are out when it's warm. Blow flies are out, can be out most of the year, stable flies are more present when it's warm. The small nuisance flies though, can be there just about year round indoors. And there's others by geography that we'll get into as we continue your training. So, why are flies bad? What makes a fly a bad insect? Or what makes it a bad pest? Well there's certainly that disease potential. As I said earlier, the house fly is the second deadliest insect on the Earth. The mosquito being number one. Over a hundred different disease organisms can be found on the outside or on the inside of the house fly's body. Customer attitudes. You know, the fly has never really been commonly thought of as a public health pest until just recently, but we know because of the disease potential that they have, they really are a public health pest. And so, customers' attitudes towards having flies has changed dramatically over the last 10 or 15 years to now that, if you have flies, it's a problem. And people do complain about it whereas years ago they may not have. The presence of flies also creates regulatory issues for some of our clients. If you have flies in a food processing facility, that's a huge problem. And many regulatory agencies are recognizing that and mandating, forcing of course, that house fly management be a part of pest control service. This is a change over the last 15 to 20 years, where flies were tolerated, now they're not so much tolerated. So, how long have we known about this? People have actually known that flies were problems for many, many years. This old article from a newspaper, dated in 1918, right at the end of World War One, depicts that, it actually states as you see across the top, the fly must be exterminated to make the world safe for habitation. So, a hundred years ago we knew that this insect was potentially deadly. That this insect could cause harm by spreading diseases. But even though we knew that 100 years ago, it really wasn't taken seriously in many places until just in the last 15 to 20 years, it became really recognized as a public health kind of pest. But we've known about it for a long time. In order to see just how bad of a public health potential problem this is, Orkin did a lot of research on flies, and some of the research we did was to look at what disease organisms are actually there. So we captured houseflies from restaurants and we let them walk around on these trays of blood agar and grew the bacteria that was on them. Now I'll tell you, I was a part of this experiment and this research, these flies were only on that surface for about two minutes. Everyone of those little white dots that you see at the bottom of the screen in that red plate, that is a colony of bacteria that grew simply from having the fly stand on the surface. So in just a few short minutes, two minutes, this fly was able to transmit or transfer bacteria from its body to that surface. And you see how those bacterial colonies just grew and multiplied very quick. Now, what bacteria do we find? And what diseases are we looking at? The house fly, the bacteria that we found in this house fly, is responsible for a lot of diseases, such as the ones you see here, Meningitis, Pneumonia, various respiratory diseases and pulmonary diseases, typhoid fever, bloodstream infections, all sorts of really nasty diseases can be attributed to and associated with the house fly. Simply because it can carry that bacteria so well on its body. Both inside and outside its body. It's an amazing vector and it can really move this material around. Here's a list of some of the bacteria we actually found on these house flies, and Orkin actually discovered with our research partners at the University of Florida, we actually discovered 3 bacteria that had never been found on house flies before, so we were pretty excited to find that, but it just drove home to us the message that this animal, this small little insect, is potentially very dangerous, because of these diseases that it can carry. Some things you might not know about the house fly, how threatening really are they and how are they so bad? Well, the fly, because of the mouth part that it has, it cannot eat solid foods, so it must turn its food into a liquid before it can eat it. So when a fly lands on a surface the material that's inside its digestive system is excreted out of its body, it vomits onto the surface. That vomit from the inside of its body dissolves the solid food that it's touching and then it takes that mouth part, which is kind of like a sponge, and puts it down on the surface that it just threw up onto and absorbs that liquid back into its body. Now, the problem is of course that it doesn't take back in everything that it put out, so what's left on the surface is the bacterial compounds that are inside the fly's system. The dangerous part of that is of course, the fly will do that almost every time it lands because that's how it tastes, so to speak, we'll put that in quotations, how "it tastes" the surface, to see if it's a food product that is worthy of consumption. So if the fly is buzzing around inside in a restaurant, lands on someone's plate, it's actually regurgitating, throwing up on that surface, and then taking that liquid material back into its system. Every time it lands it's gonna test the surface to see if there's a food product there. So that's how some of the disease transmission occurs, and part of how and why they are so dangerous. As we said earlier, people see a house fly and they usually just sort of wave it away and go on about their business. But you compare that to the cockroach, walks up on the table, everyone screams and yells and gets upset about it. Well that fly is carrying twice as many disease organisms as the cockroach. Again, it's an attitude, it's a perception from the general public about flies. Over the last several years, as I said, it is becoming more important for us to control these insects because we know what type of damage and harm they can actually do. Let's take a look at a video here of a fly feeding, this is what it looks like when a fly feeds, this is in real time, it is not sped up, photoshopped or anything like that. In case you're wondering, that's a piece of jelly candy, a gummy bear that they like. But if you watch this fly eat it's tasting that surface, touching that surface all over, and anything that's on its legs is transferring to that surface by doing that. Then if you watch where this fly is eating at here in just a moment you'll see how easily they can destroy a piece of food and how quick this happens. So keep an eye right down here where this fly is eating at. And you see that regurgitation action, it's throwing up onto the surface, it's liquefying the surface and you can see the hole that he just bored into that area, right there. And of course the droppings occur because they have to let out their fecal matter. Alright? So let's talk about some of the individual flies and some of the unique biologies that they each have. The most common one that we have to deal with is the house fly. It's about 6 millimeters in length, it's described as having four dull gray color stripes on its thorax. This is an insect that loves decaying organic material, wet garbage inside urban settings, it'll breed inside the fecal matter of animals, the feces of domestic animals like dogs and cats, but also the feces of profit animals like cattle, horses, sheep, etc. So it'll breed in those areas very, very well. It likes sunny places, it's very attracted to ultraviolet light. It likes those warm, sunny areas. But when it's looking for food it's gonna travel very low to the ground. Typically, a house fly is going to hover around looking for food through the day somewhere between one and two meters off the ground. At night, when the temperatures cool off a little bit, that fly will move up higher into the area, it'll get above the 2 meter mark, because it's following the heat as the heat rises and radiates upward. But during the daytime, when it's out flying around looking for food, it's gonna stay typically in that 1 to 2 meter range off the floor. It likes those contrasting colors, it doesn't have the ability to really see color, but it can see contrast, it can see the difference between light and dark, so quite often we'll find this thing sitting in an area where light and dark meet, so if there's a line of separation on the light and the dark we'll see them sitting right on that line of separation quite a bit, because they like that contrast in the colors or the shades that they're seeing there. So the house fly is typically going to be the most active in the temperatures that we like, that 21-22 degrees, they love that, that's about perfect for them, but they will tolerate some cooler temperatures than that. We do find them in temperatures as low as 14-15 degrees at times, but their preferred temperature is gonna be in that 20, 21, 22 degree range. That's ideal for them. If it gets much hotter than that they will still be active but they're gonna be less active with the higher temperatures and less active with the lower temperatures. That middle range is where they really prefer to be in. Now, one of the other flies that we work with quite a bit is the blow fly. The blow fly, this is another interesting kind of creature in that this is a fly that's just hovering around outdoors and it's always sampling, tasting if you will, the air. And it's looking for one thing specifically, it's looking for methane gas. When an animal or an organism dies it starts to decompose. Methane gas is what is given off by that dead, decaying animal. And the blow fly can find that methane gas in the air, follows it into the area where the dead animal is present, and then it will lay its eggs in the carrion, the carcass of the dead animal. It will lay its eggs there, the maggots, which are the larvae of the fly, the maggots then consume that decaying animal, pupate, go into their pupal phase and then become an adult and go back out, hovering around looking for a place to lay their eggs. The blow flies can be different colors, they're always very metallic in appearance, but it'll be a metallic blue or a metallic green or bronze, brownish kind of color, and always that bright shiny metallic kind of finish on their body. Very, very loud, when you hear these things flying around you know it, it's a very loud, very strong flying insect, and as I said, it's just hovering around looking for that dead animal carcass out there. One of the other flies that we work with is the stable fly. The stable fly is a bit different from the house fly in that it bites. It is a blood feeding insect and it has a mouth part that allows it to pierce the skin and consume blood out of its victim. As much as three times their weight in blood, they can take in when they feed. Stable flies are, as the name implies, commonly found around stables for horses, cattle, sheep, things like that. They look very similar to the house fly, except the mouth part, the mouth part of the house fly is that big, spongy sort of organ, the mouth part on the stable fly is a sharp pinpoint, where it can pierce the skin to suck blood back out. The larvae though, will live in decaying straw, feed for these animals. So sanitation becomes one of the biggest issues there. Proper maintenance of the manure and the straw and feed is what controls flies in these sort of settings. Blood feeders, if you have any doubt, when they bite you, you will know it. It's not a house fly. When that fly lands on a person it will bite them, and it does hurt. Now, we have this other group of the nuisance flies. The nuisance flies are a group of insects, we typically look at these 3 as the primary ones: the fruit fly, the phorid fly, and the moth fly. There has been some debate in the world on how dangerous these insects really are. These are insects, the small nuisance flies are insects that breed in areas that really should be or have the potential to spread disease. But we really don't find a lot of diseases associated with these animals. They are a nuisance, as their general category implies. The fruit fly is one that would breed inside decaying organic material. There's a couple of different types of fruit flies, there's the red-eye fruit flies, the brown-eyed fruit flies, the only difference is going to be the type of material that they would commonly want to breed inside of or lay their eggs in for their larvae to live in. If it's got red eyes, it's normally looking for something that is fermenting, decaying organic material that is fermenting. If it has brown eyes, it's decaying organic material that is not necessarily fermenting. So the difference there is high sugars ferment, low sugars do not. Phorid flies, one of the other of the nuisance flies there. The small little phorid fly lives in areas such as sewer lines, it lives in places like drains, in floors, it lives in areas such as underneath toilets. Places where there's organic material that is breaking down, that the fly can live on, that's their preferred food source, just decaying organic material. Now, the third of the nuisance flies is that little moth fly. And we see the picture, the moth fly there is very distinctive, and if you look at the wings, it's what makes the biggest difference here, the moth fly's wings look like the wings of a moth or a small butterfly, compared to the wings of the others, which are more fly-like, if you will, in appearance. There is some health concern from the moth fly, because its body is covered in these hairs, this very small fine hair, it's not a really good flying insect, so as it's fluttering around some of that hair comes off the body and if breathed in, to some individuals, can create an allergic type of reaction or it can aggravate upper respiratory issues inside the body. So, the flies are in general a group of insects that we certainly have to pay attention to, we certainly want to devote our time and effort to controlling them. But again, like the rodent, the control takes a lot of time. We have to do a very thorough investigation, we have to determine what are the sanitary issues, what are the breeding grounds, where is this fly coming from? If we go back to what I said, back in the session on IPM, if we can always ask ourselves the question: if I was the house fly or if I was a fruit fly, where would I be at, why am I in here? If we can answer that question we can always solve the pest problem for flies. And for cockroaches, and for ants, and for rodents and for any other pest that we're asked to control for our clients. So, fly control, we'll talk more about the methods that we go about in fly control during your training time. So, again, write down any questions that you have, let's make sure that we get all those questions answered for you when you're with us here in Atlanta for your training.

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Duration: 20 minutes and 52 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: rbanderas on Dec 20, 2016

07 Flies

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