09 Jan

Never Say, “It’s Only a Fly”, Ever Again

fly

No matter where you go in the world, there are going to be insects. There is one type of insect you will find on every continent, including Antarctica. What type of insect could be that successful? You probably will not be surprised to find out that entomologists (insect scientists) affirm that the most widespread insect type is… the fly. Yup, that pesky insect (and its relatives) that buzz around your food can be found everywhere on earth. Some, like the common house fly, spread disease and irritation, while others can be much more devious.

Common House Fly
Common is a good word for this one. In places of human habitation, of all the flies you see buzzing around, 91% are house flies. If you ever wondered why people shoo flies away from their food, the common house fly can transmit over 100 pathogens (bacteria, viruses and parasites). If you don’t have a flyswatter, you might think of getting one on your next shopping trip. Though they prefer human dwelling places, house flies can fly several miles in search of food.

Snow Fly
You associate winter with the absence of bugs, yet there is a fly that thrives in subzero temperatures. The snow fly never develops wings rather; it walks across the snow and can leap when needed. Adults are not known to eat, they will however, drink snow. Their larvae consume rodent feces. You might be wondering how a fly can survive freezing temperatures. Snow flies produce a substance in their blood that is much like antifreeze. The radiator in your car can run in the winter and so can the snow fly. If you are dying to see snow flies, you will need to be in the high mountain ranges of Colorado and Utah.

Blow Fly
Think devious. The blow fly is a bane to sheep. It is attracted to urine and feces. When it finds the backside of an unsuspecting ewe, it can deposit 200 eggs. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae cut into the flesh of the sheep, burrow inside and begin to eat. In order to combat blow flies, ranchers will “dock” sheep. Docking is when a rancher removes part of a new lambs’ tail. Removing part of the tail keeps the sheep cleaner and significantly reduces blow fly infection. An uneducated animal rights activist would immediately begin to snarl. Would you rather lose a tail, or die by maggots? Once a few maggots infect a sheep, they grow into adults and lay more eggs on the same animal, soon there are thousands. This is called “fly strike”. If that wasn’t enough, blow flies transmit disease. If the maggots don’t kill you the bacteria will.

Blow Fly Blessing
Blow flies can infect humans. In fact, it is occasionally doctor recommended. Clean, laboratory grown blow fly maggots have been used to cure wounds that won’t heal. Despite this, if you see a fly in your home, you should still go for the flyswatter.

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