You were quietly eating when a fly landed on your meal. You shoo her away with one hand and resume your dinner. It may not be a good idea. According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, we should take more seriously those non-biting flies that are part of our daily lives.
These flies can transmit diseases and pose a health hazard. “I have worked on synanthropic flies since I was a graduate student in the 1960s. And synanthropic flies have been largely ignored. they get their nutrients from people and animals that release pathogens in their tears, feces and wounds“, details John Stoffolano professor of entomology at the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at UMass Amherst.
Indeed, throughout the day, flies feast on many foods ranging from animal excrement to decomposing waste through dead animals. At each food intake, the fly fills its crop “The harvest is like a gas tank. It’s a place to store food before it enters the digestive tract where it will be transformed into energy for the fly”, explains John Stoffolano. This place therefore becomes a storage place for disease-producing pathogens.
As the fly flies away, it gets rid of the excess water in its crop by regurgitating thus expelling pathogens…sometimes directly onto your food. Do flies incubate and encourage the growth of harmful pathogens in their guts, or do they carry disease from place to place, asks Prof Stoffolano. Before concluding: “Our health depends on paying greater attention to these flies that live with us”.