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You are aware that there are microorganisms that can harm you. Those organisms are why you wash your hands after touching something dirty. You wouldn't consider handling something dirty and then handling your food, yet flies have no such concern for your well-being. This is why they are a health concern. But how dangerous can a fly be? Let's take a look.

Laboratory Studies

If you spend any time at all looking at laboratory studies, you might find yourself starting to avoid flies like the plague. The results from laboratory studies are quite alarming. Flies are implicated in the spread of typhoid fever, cholera, anthrax, dysentery, tuberculosis, leprosy, yaw, and many other diseases. In fact, researchers link house flies to the spread of more than 65 diseases. That's crazy! Okay. If this is the case, why aren't flies public enemy number one? Why don't we hear constant warnings about flies landing on our food? The truth is that the threat is real, but incidents of serious illness are rare. Here are two key reasons why:

  • The amount of harmful bacteria one fly leaves on a surface is not enough to make most people sick. Humans have the ability to fight off bacteria.

  • Flies groom themselves quite often. If you watch a fly for a few minutes, you'll notice them rubbing their limbs together or rubbing their bodies. This helps to remove unwanted particulates.

Factors To Consider

When flies get into your Houston home, it is different than flies getting into a restaurant or a hospital. Flies can contaminate food or spread harmful bacteria to open wounds and other sensitive places. If everyone in your home is healthy, the risk of illness is lower. But there are some factors to consider:

  • If there are a lot of flies touching down on a surface, the amount of contamination will be higher. One flies isn't a big deal, but several flies can be.

  • Babies, the elderly, and people with weak immune systems are at greater risk. If you have a baby, an elderly grandparent, or someone in your home who has a compromised immune system, you should make greater efforts to get control of flies.

The Dirty Truth

There is a strong correlation between sanitation and fly-borne diseases. It doesn't take but a few seconds for a fly to get from an open trash bin to a sensitive area, such as a food-prep surface, a dish, a piece of silverware, or an open container of food. It may be gross to think about, but this is the reality. Flies are drawn to filthy things and they have the mobility to quickly move harmful microorganisms before they have time to clean them off. It also bears mentioning that flies have no concern for your health. 

Outdoor Flies Are More Dangerous

When a fly gets into a dumpster or exterior trash receptacle, they'll be exposed to things that are far dirtier than what will be found inside your home. If you routinely remove your interior trash before any odors develop, and you keep your interior receptacles clean, the risk of cross-contamination is low. The big issue with houseflies is when they expose themselves to something outside and then zip into your home when you open a door. We recommend that you:

  • Keep your outdoor trash receptacles away from entryways.

  • Keep your door and window screens in good condition.

  • Seal any gaps, cracks, or holes in your exterior.

Flies And Feces

One last dirty thing to consider is animal waste. Once again, it is gross to think about, but you should be aware that flies can come in contact with dog droppings in your yard and then land on food or a sensitive area if you don't stay on top of waste clean up for your pet. If you have a dog that goes outside, we recommend walking your dog and picking up the waste with a plastic bag as you go. This also creates a bonding experience. So, it's sort of a two-birds-with-one-stone kind of thing. If you have a cat, keep in mind that an indoor litter box can be a source of contamination. Make sure your cats are covering up their waste.

Fly Pest Control

In general, flies aren't a reason people contact a licensed pest provider. While they can be dangerous, most of the time they're not. Flies are also common outdoor pests that rarely breed inside. If you take steps to reduce flies near your home and apply exclusions to keep flies out, you shouldn't have too much trouble. But there are circumstances that can lead to indoor infestation. If you're having trouble with flies in your Houston home, contact All-Safe Pest & Termite. We can locate the source and conditions of the infestation and address the problem at its source.

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