Get Rid of Blow Flies in Your Home or Business
Members of the order of Diptera and the family of Calliphoridaeare better known by the colloquial name blow flies. The group, blow flies, encompasses a number of fly species found throughout New England.
Blow flies tend to live in areas where garbage or decaying materials are widely accessible, such as suburban neighborhoods with exposed dumpsters and trash cans or wooded areas with rotting plants and other decomposing organic materials.
The diverse landscapes of New England are exceptionally conducive to the blow fly’s preferences in natural habitat, which often leads to infestation or nuisances caused by the flying insect.
Appearance & Identification
What Does a Blow Fly Look Like?
The appearance of these insects varies due to the differences between species that fall under the general classification of blow fly. On average, blow flies may grow to anywhere from 6 mm to around 14 mm in length.
Insects falling into the broad category have a slight coppery or metallic pigmentation of the skin on their body that may cause a sheen to the naked eye.
In general, blow flies possess:
- Greenish-black bodies covered in short hairs.
- Heads are typically orange in color, and are dominated by large, disproportionate eyes.
- Two large wings protruding from the dorsal side of the thorax.
In addition to the thorax, a blow fly possesses a bulbous abdomen, large relative to the size of the creature. Unlike some species of flies, blow flies are not known to bite, which is a direct result of having blunted/sponging mouthparts.
In New England, there are many viable habitats for blow flies. Temperate regions, like those along the East Coast, provide ideal conditions for the blow flies to thrive. Many times, blow flies are found in carrion (dead/decomposing animals) or fecal matter on which they feed regularly.
Blow flies also use the remains of animals and feces as habitats to breed. In some species, the flying insect acts as a parasite. The flies spend most of any given day foraging for food sources and subsequently consuming their nutrients.
The average adult blow fly lives only two months, with many dying off in as little as two weeks due to a number of factors, such as food source shortages, improper climate, or predators.
What Does a Blow Fly Eat?
Blow flies (larval/maggot stage) predominantly feed on the bodies of deceased animals and decaying plant matter.
Garbage and other refuse also serve as sources of sustenance for the insect, both of which are found in high occurrence across New England towns, cities, and suburbs.
Plant nectar also serves as an attractive food source for the insect for the adult insects.
Female blow flies are capable of laying thousands of eggs during a their lifetime. Blow fly eggs are usually laid within carcasses of deceased animals or within piles of organic garbage and fecal matter.
After hatching from fertilized eggs, blow flies become white maggots. The maggot stage of development includes three instars, which require readily accessible food sources to pass from one stage to the next.
Maggots pass through all three instars and into the pupal phase in as little as a couple of days and on average within a week. Roughly a week later, the pupa begins its final molting into an adult blow fly by forming a hard casing, which it occupies for nearly two weeks.
The entire process from egg to adult generally takes about a month to complete.
Problems Caused by Blow Flies
Although the blow fly is not known to bite, the natural habitats of blow flies are inherently disease-ridden. Blow flies come into direct contact with many known pathogens and thus are often referred to as a pests in urban and suburban areas with dense populations.
Blow flies possess the capacity to spread the diseases found in the decaying matter and garbage they live in, especially when landing on foods intended for human consumption that have been left out unattended.
Signs of Infestation
The clearest signs of blow fly infestations include:
- Noticeable swarms of the insect in a central area, such as in or around uncovered garbage cans.
- Dead animals in yards or in the road may also serve as breeding grounds for blow flies.
- Hearing low-pitched buzzing may also lend to a possible infestation, especially if an animal has died in the walls of a particular building or domicile and may not be as easily discoverable.
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Blow Fly Control & Prevention
In order to keep blow fly infestations from occurring, homeowners should routinely inspect homes for dead animals and keep foods properly stored at all times.
Problem areas homeowners often run into are deceased animal remains under decks or other hard-to-reach areas, resulting in flies entering the home. Regular inspections may head off or shorten the length of infestations.
In extreme cases, pest control services may prove necessary to remove animal remains and completely eradicate the insect from a building or home.