By Dr. Stuart Mitchell
A significant public health pest, House fly, Musca domestica (meaning “household fly”), Order Diptera, Family Muscidae, are urbanized, synanthropic (together with humans), and multivoltine (many generations or turns in a year).
Females typically mate once (functional monogamy), ovipositing 100 to 150 eggs (700 to 900 per lifetime) within high quality organic matter (40 to 70% water). Eggs are about 1 mm, whitish, extended, with eclosion (emerging from the egg shell) occurring in 8 to 72 hours.
Feeding within warm moist organic substances, cyclorrhaphous (circular seamed) larvae develop through three instars, reaching 10 to 12 mm in length. Within a remote microxeriscape (dry area), pupation requires 3 to 30 days.
Adults are 4 to 8 mm in length, greyish body, and 4 longitudinal lines on the thorax. Males express two yellowish small areas at the base of the abdomen. Females release a sex pheromone (muscalure-mediator of intraspecies behavior) to attract males.
Adults take flight at 51°F to 89°F, become inactive below 44°F, and die at 32°F. With both power and steering thoracic muscles, a fly can see an approaching threat, estimate its position, and initiate a pattern to fly away with a wing beat of 220 times per second. With a very high angle, wings create a structure called a leading edge vortex. This vortex allows a fly to possess amazing aerodynamic capacity at a speed of only 4.5 mph.
House fly is diurnal (active during daylight), and somewhat less active in artificial light. With significant anatomy and physiology devoted to visual perception, 50% of a fly’s cephalon (head) is covered with compound eyes, and 70% of a fly’s brain is dedicated to visual processing.
The House fly’s two compound eyes are very responsive to UVA light. Thousands of six-sided ommatidia make up each compound eye. Within each ommatidium are sensory cells that are particularly sensitive to UVA light. Electroretinogram studies (a diagnostic test that measures the electrical activity generated by neural and non-neuronal cells within the retina in response to a light stimulus) demonstrate that House fly is particularly responsive or attracted to UVA light at 368 nm.
For optimum attraction and fly capture, PestWest’s exclusive Quantum lamps are tuned to UVA light at 368 nm. All PestWest UVA systems or insect light traps (ILTs) are innovatively designed and manufactured with premium materials for years of reliable service. Go to pestwest.com to see our complete range of quality UVA systems for any environment.