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Flesh flies are sometimes mistaken for house flies, due to their markings and coloration. Flesh flies are larger than house flies, are gray in color and have a checkerboard pattern on the top of their abdomen. Its prothorax has three dark stripes; the house fly has four stripes on its prothorax. The primary breeding site for this flying pest is in or on dead animal carcasses, although they are also found in garbage.
Flesh flies are helpful in forensic entomology because they are usually the first to arrive at a carcass after an animal dies. Using the larvae of this fly (found at murder scenes) helps the entomologist pinpoint the time of death. Blow flies and bottle flies are also helpful in this manner.
The larvae (or maggot) of this fly develops quickly (within a few days) and then crawls a short distance away to burrow into the soil. Once under the soil, the maggot pupates, with adult flies emerging in a few days.
Most infestations of flesh flies can be attributed to garbage or rodent carcasses found in or underneath trash dumpsters. Most infestations of indoor Flesh Flies are small in numbers and can be traced to dumpsters, meat processing plants or rendering facilities located nearby. If large numbers of these pests are found indoors, it can usually be attributed to a dead animal such as a rodent or bird. Backtracking the paths of fly maggots will many times help locate the carcass or source of indoor Flesh Fly infestations. If fly maggots are located in light fixtures, an inspection of the attic and nearby wall voids might be necessary.
Sanitation measures not only include cleaning garbage containers and dumpsters, but also include moving such containers as far from buildings as possible and making sure that their lids are kept closed at all times. Check dumpsters for properly fitting lids. If amount of refuge is too much for the container, ask for a larger one or see that all dumpsters are emptied more often. Keep areas around dumpsters as clean and dry as possible. If a great deal of moist organic material is disposed on a regular basis, first place these materials in sealed garbage bags, then properly dispose of them outdoors.
If you or a neighbor are involved in a rodent control program, police the area on a regular basis to pick up as many rodent bodies as possible. Locate and destroy any deserted bird nests in or around the building.
Locate and seal any cracks around windows and doors; a fly can "squeeze" through very small openings and become an indoor pest. All windows and doors should fit and close properly to help exclude flesh flies or any fly.
Space sprays should be used only if large numbers of flesh flies are found indoors. This "quick knockdown" of the flying pests will suffice until you locate and destroy the source of the infestation. Surface sprays should only be used on the areas where flies are known to rest or enter a structure; they may also be used on the surfaces of dumpsters if necessary.
When it has been determined that an animal carcass (rodent, raccoon, bird, etc.) is in a wall void or other inaccessible area, Delta Dust should be applied to the void to kill all fly maggots or adults.