Fly Tips: Bird and rodent carrion are preferred larval food sources for Flesh flies.
Dr. Stuart Mitchell continues the Focus on the Fly series – Flesh fly.
Flesh fly, Sarcophaga spp.
Flesh flies or flying infections are mechanical vectors of disease pathogens, and cause myiasis or maggot infections in human and animal tissues. After frequenting carrion or rotting animals, feces, decaying vegetable matter, and garbage, Flesh flies can move from filth to food. During reproductive source seeking, Flesh flies can mistake stored meat products as a suitable larviposition site.
Flesh fly is 0.39” to 0.70” long, wingspan of 0.86”, bristly-grey, possesses three distinct black stripes on the thorax, a checkered pattern abdomen (changes per angle of view), and the tip of the abdomen is pinkish or reddish.
Flesh flies are scavengers. Notably, after mating, adult females are larviparous (birth larvae rather than place eggs). Bird and rodent carrion are preferred larval food sources, and in the absence of such sources, dog feces and garbage. Additionally, larvae parasitize other insect larvae, mollusks, and turtles. Large Flesh fly flushes can emerge from small quantities of carrion (a dead Norway rat will provide enough nutrients to rear ~4,000 flies).
Attracted to exposed carrion or excrement in sunlight, in the order of succession, Flesh flies generally arrive after Blow flies. Flesh flies can be forensically important in criminal investigations.
- Identify the species first!
- Remove sources of fly activity (bird and rodent carrion, dog excrement, 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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