The fly you see buzzing around inside may represent far more of a problem than it appears on the surface. While most solitary flies you find indoors are outdoor invaders and don’t pose more than a risk of contamination and annoyance to those in the vicinity, two more grim possibilities exist. The first is that the fly in question is about to, or just did, lay dozens to hundreds of eggs somewhere inside your facility. The second undesirable situation is that the fly you just saw zoom past you emerged from somewhere inside your business.

Flies have a complete metamorphosis with four life stages. The two mobile developmental stages, the larval and adult stages, occupy different niches and may be found far apart from each other.

Filth-breeding and small fly larvae, better known as maggots, develop in all sorts of disgusting, decaying, organic matter and waste. Each species has breeding material preferences and environmental thresholds that must be met, but in general, think of any place with moisture that’s rarely, or never, cleaned as potential locations allowing maggots to feed and grow.

Breeding areas can often be traced to:

  • Poor sanitation
  • Trash cans and dumpsters
  • Poorly stored (or neglected) food
  • Drains and broken plumbing lines
  • Decaying animals (in ceilings, walls, bushes, etc.)
  • Feces and manure

When those maggots mature, pupate, and reach the adult stage, you might notice them or see a few in an insect light trap. What you see and what is caught only reflects a small part of the true population size; there could be an absolutely huge breeding population just out of sight.

Some pest fly species can reach sexual maturity in less than two weeks and fly numbers can explode out of “nowhere.” That “nowhere” is somewhere identifiable and correctable with a detailed inspection, cleaning, and monitoring program in place.

Identifying the type of fly found will greatly help narrowing down your possibilities but, in general, inspections should include:

  • Drains and plumbing lines
  • Trash receptacles
  • Food storage areas
  • Hard-to-reach and clean areas like underneath appliances
  • Ceilings
  • Basements
  • Ductwork and vents
  •  Property grounds/landscaping

To many, when you’ve said “maggots,” you’ve said enough to send them running, and with good reason. Adult flies should have just as much of a stigma around them; they are incredibly mobile and can mechanically pick up and deposit a host of bacteria and pathogens by flying from place to place.

Many larger filth-breeding flies lay eggs in decaying animal carcasses and waste and will fly straight from there to a kitchen counter or production line.

Any facility can be at risk for fly infestations, but this is especially true for:

  • Restaurants
  • Food processing, packaging & distribution plants
  • Slaughterhouses and meat-packing facilities
  • Pet food manufacturing and other pet-based facilities

Take this quiz if you think you may be vulnerable to infestations.

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