Flies are some of the most frustrating, hard to catch and bothersome pests we face in Cape Town. Attracted by food and rubbish in our home, they seem to appear out of nowhere when the summer months roll in. While we can do our best to go out and purchase “effective” DIY pest control measures, this often only limits these pests’ presence in our home without actually addressing the reason behind their infestation. In just a few minutes of reading, find out some facts about flies, why they plague us, and what pest control Cape Town companies like Pest Managers can do to solve the situation.
The pest control Cape Town list of pesky flies we find in and around our homes
Most flies live around 30 days, and complete the four life stages of egg, larva, pupa and adulthood. Before launching into the details of why flies may be flooding into your home and upsetting your day-to-day activities, you should know more about the flies you are dealing with and how to recognise them.
The Bluebottle Fly
Scientifically known as the “calliphora vomitoria,” this fly is as unpleasant as it sounds. They are also commonly referred to as “blow flies” and are often found hovering around rubbish bins. These flies are true scavengers, and flock to pet faeces and deceased animals. They are one of many fly species that are known to carry diseases. You can recognise this pesky fly by its iridescent, metallic colours that draw the mind to the appearance of coloured bottles.
Adults grow to around 30-36mm in length, and their offspring, or larva, take around 7 to 12 days to fully mature.
The Horse Fly
The bane of the farmer’s existence, the Horse Fly, known scientifically as “tabanidae” pose particular problems when it comes to livestock. Female Horse Flies are known to be relentless biters and especially plague horses, cows and pets. These frequent biting attacks can cause weight loss in many animals. Humans are not safe from the bites of female Horse Flies either, and they can be extremely painful too.
Their mouth parts can be likened to tiny knives that function to slash open skin in a scissor-like motion. Male Horse Flies on the other hand mainly snack on pollen and nectar. Adults usually reach up to 25 mm in length and are recognisable by their black or dark brown colour with black or green eyes. Where males have contiguous eyes, which means “touching” or “together in a sequence,” females have eyes that are widely separated. This makes it easy to differentiate between the two.
The Cluster Fly
Typically dwelling in the undisturbed, quiet areas of your home, such as spaces between the walls and attics or basements, Cluster Flies are suckers for warm places. This is because they need to hibernate over the winter months. On sunnier days, you may notice large groups of these flies near your windows basking in the warm sunlight. Known scientifically as “pollenia rudis,” these flies are recognisable by their dark olive or grey thorax which is coated in golden or brown hairs.
When at rest, their wings overlap noticeably. You may notice that when in flight, the Cluster Fly almost appears “sluggish,” which makes them slightly easier to swat than your typical house fly.
The Sand Fly
Sand Flies, or “Spiriverpa Lunulata,” are present between April and September, especially in sandy riverbank regions. Should you live in such an area, you may have come into contact with these pests that look similar to mosquitos. Female Sand Flies tend to lay their eggs in water or damp soil. In adulthood, the Sand Fly reaches between 10-11 mm in length, and can be identified by their pale grey bodies with bronze or brown eyes. Their legs are a reddish-brown in colour.
The Fruit Fly
Most homeowners are familiar with the pesky Fruit Fly. They are found infesting fruit or vegetables or alternatively around pubs, breweries, fruit orchards or vegetable patches. They are scientifically part of the “Drosophila species,” and are the culprits of compromising our beautiful fruit bowls. Their flight is characteristically slow and in flight their abdomens hang down noticeably. In fact, they tend to hover rather than fly.
They typically reach lengths of around 3 mm and are yellow-brown in colour with large, bright red eyes.
The House Fly
Scientifically known as “Musca domestica,” House Flies are guilty of being major carriers of diseases, known to have the ability to infest all sorts of premises. They are particularly drawn to food, whether this be pet food, human food, animal feed, waste and even faeces. Upon noticing a few adult House Flies, you can assume that there is a potential problem and more will soon follow. House Flies are known to lay offspring incredibly fast, especially in open rubbish bins.
Adult House Flies grow up to around 5-8 mm in length, and are recognisable by their grey thoraxes with 4 thin stripes across them. Their abdomens are usually a yellowish colour and are covered with tiny hairs that are used as taste organs. House Flies have complex compound eyes, which means that they have thousands of lenses that provides them with an incredibly wide field of vision (one reason why they are so hard to swat).
The Drain Fly
Often found in sewage beds – wherein their larvae feed on sludgy and organic matter – drain flies are around 2 mm in length and tan coloured. They are scientifically known as “Psychodidae” and are also referred to as sewage flies or moth flies. They are also recognisable by their wings that are heavily covered in hair.
The Lacewing Fly
Lacewings, or “Chrysoperla carnea” in science, are actually considered to be important predatory flies in greenhouses and interior plantrooms. Their prey are mealybugs, which feed on plants and are known to be pests. Lacewings also hunt and feed upon other pests such as aphids, whiteflies and spider mites. They are active both during the day and night and are recognisable by their fluttering flight pattern.
Lacewings, as suggested by their name, have lace-like, translucent wings and long, pale green bodies. They are around 12-20 mm long and have long antennae that curl over at the top. Their eyes are bright and golden. Because of their pest-hunting tendencies, many do not consider Lacewings to be pests themselves, and happily accept their presence in the home.
The dangers of the House Fly
Arguably the most common fly that plagues the homes and businesses of Capetonians, the House Fly, as already mentioned, thrives in filth and spreads dangerous diseases. There are a few reasons as to why you may be experiencing a House Fly infestation other than poor sanitation and the presence of spoiled food and unsealed rubbish bins in your home or business. Window, wall or screen cracks as well as the presence of pets also encourage flies to enter your space, no matter how clean it may be. Many agree that the buzzing of a House Fly is one of the most repulsive sounds to the human ear.
House Flies are known to pick up a variety of fungi, bacteria and viruses which they then spread via the contamination of food and water. A fly infestation can lead to various health issues in your space, and research has shown that House Flies in particular can harbour at least 65 different illnesses that can infect humans. Many of those can also infect your beloved pets. Some health problems flies can spread include:
- Food poisoning
While regular cleaning can certainly limit the areas where flies can breed, sometimes an infestation is not so easy to deal with, especially if they are breeding in your garden and then entering your home. Flies enjoy resting on walls, corners or thin objects during the day. During the night, they opt for areas that are closer to a food source.
The ugly truth behind DIY fly control methods
When the summer months roll around in the Cape, flies begin to emerge in great numbers. Many South Africans would prefer to head to the store at the first sight of flies to purchase DIY fly control methods instead of consulting a pest control Cape Town company. Unfortunately, DIY fly control measures, more often than not, are not a solution to the problem, but merely hold off an infestation for a little while longer. It is not a long-term solution.
Fly zappers, fly strips, repellents or even bags of water are some fly control options available in most stores. However, here are some facts about these DIY methods that may cause you to think twice next time and rather opt for professional pest control Cape Town consultations for your fly infestation:
They cost you more in the long run than hiring pest control Cape Town companies off the bat
While popping into the shop to buy a bug spray or zapper may seem like the more economically viable option in the moment, hiring a pest control Cape Town company may cost less at the end of the day. This is because one or two purchases of DIY fly control measures cannot possibly keep the flies away for long. Should you continue this practice, costs will keep piling up before your eyes. Stopping these methods will then result in a sudden return of fly activity.
They are an unpleasant mess
Hanging fly strips and traps around your home or business is incredibly unsightly. They can also produce foul odours as the fly bodies that are caught pile up. Making the use of pest control Cape Town companies such as Pest Managers will help you get rid of your pesky fly problem without compromising the aesthetic of your space. Strips and traps are also full of dangerous chemicals, which leads us to the next point.
They are unsafe
If you have pets or small children roaming about in your space, DIY fly prevention and eradication measures are often not an option. Using chemicals with which you are unfamiliar spells certain danger. Although your trusted pest control Cape Town company like Pest Managers may choose to use chemicals to get rid of or prevent a fly infestation in your home, you can rest easy with the knowledge that not only are they seasoned professionals who are familiar with the products, but also that the team will prioritise the safety and wellbeing of your family and pets as they do so.
They are largely infective
While purchasing a spray off the shelf may help you kill the flies residing in your rubbish bin, your efforts are akin to using a bucket to empty your swimming pool. Stalling by purchasing your own DIY fly control methods instead of contacting a professional pest control Cape Town company can actually result in the infestation worsening with time.