Fly Tips: The Blow fly is one of the first in the order of succession of insects to infest a dead body.
Dr. Stuart Mitchell continues the Focus on the Fly series – Blow fly.
Blow fly, Calliphoridae
Blow flies or flying infections are mechanical vectors of disease pathogens, and cause myiasis or maggot infections in human and animal tissues. Medically, Greenbottle fly, Lucilia illustris, sterile maggots are used to treat non-healing wounds in maggot debridement therapy (MDT). Dating back to the 16th century, “Blow” is a suggestion of egg placement. “Bottle” suggests “bot” or “maggot.”
After frequenting carrion or rotting animals, Blow flies can freely move from filth to food. During reproductive source seeking, Blow flies can mistake stored meat products as a suitable “host.”
Blow fly is 0.35” to 0.50” long, a of wingspan of 0.70 to 0.80” and possesses a stout thorax. Thorax and abdomen are dark and shiny. Thorax black with metallic-blue green sheen, and abdomen metallic yellow or blue-green to black. Strong fliers, research suggests flight ranges of 14-28 miles. Vigorous on warm-sunny days, Blow flies are generally at-rest on cool-cloudy days.
Blow flies are scavengers. Adult females place up to 600 eggs in or on carrion or decaying matter of animal origin. In the absence of favorable sites, eggs are placed in or on animal feces and decaying vegetable matter. When gravid females cannot locate nutrient sites, eggs are retained. As a result, eggs hatch in a very short time. Additionally, females are known to place larvae rather than eggs (viviparity).
Notably, Blow fly is one of the first in the order of succession of insects to infest a dead body. During crime investigations, forensic entomologists examine larvae to determine time, place, and characteristics of death (pathology).
- Identify the species first!
- Remove sources of fly activity (carrion or rodents and birds, feces, decay vegetation, and garbage)
- Exclude flies through fly-proofing (fly screens)
- Install numerous insect light traps (ILTs)
Insect light traps/Fly traps/Fly lights
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