Bottle flies also known as blow flies, is a bright blue green species of flies usually larger than a common house fly. These flies belong to the Calliphoridae family of flies, which are polyphyletic in origin (developed from more than one ancestral type). The most peculiar trait of these flies is that, they make a very audible buzzing sound while flying.
Bottle flies generally feed on garbage and decomposed meat and sometimes also on the wounds of live animals. The term blow fly has its roots in an old English term “fly blown”, which meant a piece of meat that had eggs laid on it. If by chance you find these flies inside your house then there must be a breeding patch somewhere inside your house.
These flies are categorized as pests as they transmit diseases by mechanical contamination of food, they are known to transmit disease causing microorganisms like – Salmonella, E-coli, etc.
The most prominent feature in a blow fly for identification is its metallic blue green color. Their size varies from 6-14 mm. All the sub-species of bottle flies have blunt mouth parts and unlike horse flies they cannot bite.
Behaviour & Habitat:
Blow flies make an audible buzzing sound while flying and hence they can be very easily spotted. They generally breed near decaying meet or decomposed matter. They mostly infest wounds of cattle and lay their eggs in the open wounds.
Bottle flies are scavengers and hence they feed on decaying meat or organic substances. They can also be seen on flowers where they consume carbohydrate rich nectar. Blow fly larvae feed on the dead tissues inside the carrion.
Bottle flies always breed during warmer months of an year. Both the initial stages of a bottle fly i.e. pupae and larva can withstand harsh winters but the adults cannot. A female bottle fly lays nearly 2000 to 3000 eggs in their lifetime the eggs. The eggs are pale yellow or gray in color.
The incubation period for these eggs is 4-5 days but in warm and humid climate it can be as low as 24 hours. After the eggs are hatched, the resulting larvae are rice shaped (9 – 22 mm) in length. Depending on the feeding site and on the substrate on which these larvae are feeding, maggots typically complete development within 4 to 10 days.
At the end of this period, the larvae burrow inside the tissue seeking pupation sites. The pupation period can be upto a week. Next, adult flies emerge from the pupa and the life cycle continues.
- Bottle flies can do mechanical contamination by moving between food and filth.
- Bottle flies deposit eggs inside the wounds of animals this can cause infections and sometimes blood poisoning.
- While feeding on the dead tissue they also tend to damage the healthy tissue inside the host’s body.
Signs of bottle fly infestation:
Before learning how to get rid of bottle flies lets understand how to identify the signs of bottle fly infestation. The most prominent signs of a bottle fly infestation are the adult flies. Adult flies can be seen resting on walls or near decaying matter. You can also spot bottle flies by their characteristic buzzing sound.
If you have identified their breeding source then you could also see the bottle fly larvae crawling near the breeding source. The bottle fly larvae are rice shaped and pale yellowish in color. The only visible feature of a blow fly is their head and their hook-like mouthparts.
How to get rid of Bottle flies:
For our convenience we will divide the process to get rid of bottle flies into two parts:
Part 1: Destroying the breeding source:
In this step we will see how to destroy the breeding source of a bottle fly. This is the first and foremost step in the process, without performing this step even if you use all the sprays and traps in the world to kill bottle flies, but they will continue to grow as their breeding source will be still intact. So, this is the most important step of the process:
- Identify the breeding source. As I have foretold, that bottle flies breed near decaying meat and decomposed matter. Find any place inside of nearby your house that is similar to it.
- Next, after you have identified such a place, clean it. Place the trash receptacle with a tight-fitting lid. If there is any rotten material at the place then dispose it off immediately.
- Clean the place with a borax and water solution. This removes the trace that flies leave to attract other flies to an area.
Part 2: Eliminating the Adult bottle flies:
After removing the bottle fly breeding source you will only be left with adult bottle flies. Since they now have no place to lay eggs, your bottle fly problem will disappear when these adults die. To kill these adult bottle flies you could use sprays, or swatters. Below is a list of some methods that you can use to kill them:
- Fly Papers: These papers produce a special scent that flies can’t resist. These papers are extremely sticky so that when a fly sits on its surface it gets stuck. These papers are commercially available at a very cheap price but you can also make one at your home.
- Disposable fly traps: Disposable fly tarps are plastic traps, when filled with water these produce a fragrance that lures the flies. Due to its construction, once a fly enters its body it cannot move outside and gets trapped. [Read More]
- Chemical Sprays: There are some chemical sprays in market that kill bottle flies. These sprays usually have a quick response time and hence are preferred by many people. But I usually don’t prefer them because they are toxic and have a bad effect on the environment.
How to keep Bottle Flies from returning:
When you have removed all the bottle flies from your house it is still possible that they may invade your home again. So, follow these steps to keep them from returning:
- Proper sanitation and garbage disposal.
- Make sure that there is no dead animal carcass near your home. If there is one then make sure that you dispose it off properly.
- Timely treat the wounds of your pets.
- If the blow fly problem is severe then sprinkle your garbage cans with baking soda(generic) and poultry dust. Baking soda will dehydrate and deodorize while the poultry dust will kill any larvae if they hatch.
So, this was all from me. Hope you will find these tips helpful and do drop in your comments in case you to want to share anything.