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Housefly sticky feet

  1. Dec 6, 2013 #1
    Do houseflies carry more diseases (harmful bacteria) trough it's sticky feet or through the hairs on its feet (as they get stuck between them).Please reply fast...Thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 6, 2013 #2
    By hairs, i am talking about the tarsis and not the hairs on its feet pad under the claws
  4. Dec 6, 2013 #3

    jim mcnamara

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    Charming subject.

    Houseflies have taste sensation in their feet, and in order to eat they exude saliva onto the food they are standing on then stand in/near it. They inject their proboscis into the substrate and suck it up like we do with a straw. If they deem the substrate worthy. And worthy substrates vary from open wounds in animals to decaying organic matter or fecal matter.

    If the substrate passes muster, gravid females will also deposit eggs on the surface. Depending on the ambient temperature and the temp of substrate, say potato salad, eggs can hatch in matter of minutes. Obviously if the bacteria are given time as well, then things are even worse.

    I would consider keeping flies off food more important than worrying about how many bacteria are where on a housefly. PS: consider not drinking a glass of a beverage that you see a dead fly floating in. Distilled spirits like whiskey might be okay, since ethanol kills a lot of pathogenic bacteria.


    -- Let's see how much PF humor this thread generates. That last one like this did a good job.
  5. Dec 6, 2013 #4


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    Minutes?? :eek:


    How about gnats, can you continue drinking if you fish the gnat out? :uhh:
  6. Dec 6, 2013 #5


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    The bacteria don't stand a chance. Maggots excrete stuff that really does kill "all" bugs, including those resistant to man made antibiotics.

    That's one reason "maggot therapy" for cleaning wounds is making a comeback, after it took a big knock when penicillin was discovered. If you use specially bred sterile maggots, they only eat the dead bits and kill the bugs, without damaging the live tissue that you want to heal.
  7. Dec 6, 2013 #6


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    Oh, I saw that demonstrated on tv. I hope I don't ever have to have maggot therapy.
  8. Dec 7, 2013 #7


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    Flesh flies are even ovoviviparous.
  9. Dec 7, 2013 #8

    jim mcnamara

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    Greenbottle flies are the species of choice for a majority of medicinal maggot applications. Some species of maggots do excrete antibiotic compounds.

    Protophormia spp - ex: bluebottle flies: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protophormia_terraenovae

    Their antibiotics are not super-broad spectrum. The reason that proper usage of maggots for debridment decreases infection rates is necrotic tissue is selectively consumed by the maggots. This reduces the available infection sites for bacteria.

    Not-for-reading-while-eating: See the section == Biology of flies and maggots.... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maggot_therapy
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