The House Fly Or Typhoid Fly
In the house fly we find one of man's most deadly foes. War can not compare with the campaigns of disease and death waged by this most filthy of all insects. In our recent strife with Spain we lost a few lives in battle, but we lost many more in hospitals due to contagious diseases, in the transmission of which this pest played a most important part.
The fly is dangerous on account of its filthy habits. It breeds in filth, feeds on filth in open closets, slop-barrels, on the streets and in back alleys and then comes into the house and wipes this germ-laden filth on our food or on the hands or even in the mouths of helpless babies. Who has not seen flies feeding on running sores on animals, or on "spit" on sidewalks? These same flies the next minute may be feeding on fruits or other food materials. We rebel when pests destroy our crops or attack our stock, but here we have a pest which endangers our very lives, and the lives of those dear to us.
House fly; a, larva or maggot; b, pupa; c, adult; e, egg. All enlarged. (Modified from Howard Bur. of Entomology. U. S. Dept. Agri.)
If the fly confined itself to filth we could overlook it as it would help to hasten the removal of filth. On the other hand, if it avoided filth and remained in our home we could not overlook it, but we could feel safe that it was not apt to do us a great deal of harm. But, like the English sparrow, one minute it is here and the next somewhere else; from filth to foods and then back again to filth. In this way it carries disease germs upon its feet and other parts of its body and by coming in contact with food material some of these germs are sure to be left on it and cause trouble later. The fly's method of carrying disease is different from that of the mosquito where the germ is carried inside its body.
Favorite breeding places of house fly. Such places should be kept as clean and neat as the front yard.
The presence of flies in the home is usually a sign of untidiness; but it means more, it means that disease and often death is hovering over the home. We are too apt to consider the fly simply as a nuisance when we should take it more seriously. The child should be led to realize that the fly should not be tolerated in the home, that it is dangerous and that it can and must be destroyed.
An open closet to which the house fly has free access. Such a closet is the most dangerous accessory of any home.
The house fly may pass the winter either as the adult fly in cracks and crannies about the home, or in out-buildings or it may remain as a hard, brown, oval pupa in stables and manure piles when, with the first warm days of spring, it escape from this case as the fly ready to lay eggs for the first colony. The fly breeds largely in horse manure either in stables, manure piles or in street gutters where manure is allowed to collect. Each female lays a large number of eggs and since it requires less than two weeks for the pest to mature, we are soon overrun with flies in the summer where steps are not taken to control them. The maggots are often so abundant in stables that they can be scooped out with a shovel. This ceaseless breeding continues from spring until the first frost in the fall.
In the control of the fly and prevention of trouble from it there are three important steps to take. First of all, go to the source of the trouble and do away with or screen all breeding places. Then, by keeping in mind the fact that the fly is comparatively harmless as long as it is kept from filth laden with germs, do away with all open closets, uncovered slop-barrels and other filth. As a further precaution keep it from the home by the use of screens and when necessary "swatters." Do not make the mistake of trying to control the pest with the "swatters" alone. In the country too often manure is permitted to accumulate about the barn during the summer with a view of using it on wheat ground in the fall and this furnishes ideal conditions for the fly to breed. Another source of constant danger especially in the rural districts is the presence of open closets or worse still the presence of no closet at all. This is without doubt the most dangerous accessory of the farm. More screens should be used in the home and greater care in keeping them closed.
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