What Do Houseflies Eat?

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The house fly is not a picky eater. It will eat almost any food item it lands on, favoring soft foods and liquids. The house fly is a common nuisance as it tries to live around humans and animals in an effort to consume their food and feces, in which they also lay eggs.

Identification

  • The common house fly is about 6 to 7mm long, with six legs. The head has large, red eyes, and the thorax consists of four dark strips. The male possess a yellow belly. Adults live about 15 to 25 days, and can survive only two or three days without food. Flies can reproduce quickly and often. Female flies need food, especially sugar, before they can produce eggs.

What House Flies Eat

  • House flies have spongy mouth parts without teeth. They eat by slurping liquids. They consume solid food by projecting saliva onto it, which liquefies the food, so they can then eat it. While they are eating food, they also defecate on it. They will eat almost anything they can find, but are especially attracted to sugar, manure, fermenting vegetables and kitchen waste.

Disease

  • House flies frequently transmit disease to humans and animals. They often feed on animal waste and garbage, and they carry disease from these wastes on their body. When they land on food, the waste is transmitted to the food items, and if a person were to consume this item, the disease transfers to their body. House flies carry viruses and bacteria that cause food poisoning, dysentery, cholera, eye infections and diarrhea.

Prevention

  • Since house flies will eat almost anything, and carry disease on their feet, all food items should be covered. House flies are especially prevalent during the warmer months. Any time a house fly lands on food, or eating utensils, disease is transferred to the food. Cover garbage cans, and keep open windows screened. If flies tend to enter the building, hang fly paper to catch them.

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References

  • Photo Credit IT Stock Free/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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