The bluebottle fly is a domestic pest. It is also known by its Latin name Protophormia Terraenovae. It belongs to the family Calliphoridae. The species is widespread throughout Europe. What makes this fly stand out from your ordinary house fly is its abdomen. It is light blue in colour and has an unmistakable metallic glaze. Those are the knights of flies. They have short antennas, that won’t tangle while the flies ramming their chests in battle.
They have four tarsi per leg and they even have spiked armour to protect them in battle! Those are the key markings of the blue bottle fly that distinguishes it from other species. However, it does look a bit like the green bottle fly and it could be mistaken if you see it under direct sunlight or if the fly is in mid-air. Once it lands, however, your confusion will be gone. You can clearly see the colour, once the fly is in one place.
Gross smells are what attracts adult bluebottle flies. Why? Because the smell is a sign that tells them something is rotting away. They lay eggs in dead animals, faeces, any rotting organic matter.
The eggs will soon (2-3 days) hatch into bluebottle fly maggots. They will start eating their way out and will be fully grown in about three days. The maggots then hide in the soil or somewhere else dark and with high humidity, like inside your bin or under the kitchen sink.
The maggots will pupate into cocoons. After two weeks, your brand new batch of bluebottle flies would be ready to cause trouble.
The infestation of your house usually starts from your basement or attic. Sometimes from electric systems, garden compost bins and others. In other words, anywhere that a dead animal can be, or wherever there is any organic matter disintegration going on.
Poisoned rats die in the basements, birds can die on your roof or attic. Organic matter is rotting in your garbage bin and in your compost bin. All those are ideal places for a bluebottle fly to lay its eggs in.
The Dangers of Infestation
This pest is hard to get rid of, mostly because they usually stick in groups and communicate with each other. Once a single fly gets the scent of food, it will contact the others using a pheromone and will rush to the coordinates. We have already mentioned that those are the knights of flies. They are bigger and stronger than your ordinary house fly, and those are pretty hard to get rid of.
The bluebottle fly also lays its eggs in human food! Now, this is where it gets repulsive! This is a serious health risk! The very landing of those flies on your food can transfer bacteria. You already know what is attracting them, so you can imagine the gross things their legs have touched before landing on your meal. The human body has its ways of dealing with most of that bacteria, but still, there is also the “disgust” factor. The slight chance that this fly may carry “something else”, like the Salmonella Typhi, is also disturbing.
Swallowing the eggs of a blue bottle fly can lead to myiasis. Myiasis is the infestation of your body with fly larvae. This will make you the host of the larvae and it will grow inside of you and feed off your tissue.
The worst thing is that bluebottle flies can turn other pests into vector agents. Vector agents are the insects or surfaces chosen from the bluebottle fly to transmit their larvae to you. In other words, she can hire another insect to infect you, or just set a trap. Those vector agents can be anything – from common house flies to even moist dirt. The blue bottle fly can infest a human being even without any open wounds. Usually, flies that are capable of myiasis prefer filthy tissue or open wounds. However, this fly knight can do it all.
Blue Bottle Flies and Hibernation
This fancy flying menace usually hibernates during the winter. However, if the fly finds a warm place to continue feeding and reproducing, it will gladly take on the offer. Open windows and doors to human homes are the invitations the fly waits to receive. It can also get inside through cracks or just lay its eggs there in order to save them. Once in your beloved home, it will lay eggs around and will annoy you until it gets the better of you and provokes your rage.
What Do Blue Bottle Flies and Bees Have in Common?
Bluebottle flies are actually pollinators. This means that they help flowers and plants to breed, just like the hardworking bees. There is a big difference, however. Bees prefer plants with pleasant smells. Flies, on the other hand, pollinate plants like “Dead Horse Arum”, “Golden Rod” and last but not least “Skunk Cabbage”. And yes, it does deserve its name. The stench and appearance of those grotesque flowers are what invites flies to pollinate them.
All of the bottle flies (blow flies) feed on the nectar of flowers in order to make their eggs even stronger. A female can lay around 2000 eggs in her lifetime (around 6 weeks). Those eggs will hatch pretty quickly, around two days if the moisture level is right. The larvae hatched from the eggs can get up to 20 mm in length.
- The eyes of the bluebottle fly are made out of 8000 facets.
- The bluebottle fly can smell things 750 yards away.
- A bluebottle fly can travel 300 times the length of its body in a single second.
- The wings of the fly move at a rate of 200 times per second.
They are still flies! Yes, bigger and badder, but still flies. Insecticides are what gets them. They also have the same habits as an ordinary housefly. So, they will fall for sticky surfaces and homemade traps.
Always be mindful of the Myiasis and the bacteria they are carrying. The presence of those flies in your property bares some health risks, action must be taken swiftly.
Install fly traps around your home and don’t leave food with no cover on top, at least till you limit the population of the flies.
If you have any doubt about the presence of a blue bottle fly, better call a specialist to investigate. Better safe than sorry, right?
A specialist can examine the property and use the best insecticides to counter all stages of the fly evolution. In other words, kill adult flies, larvae, and eggs. If the infestation is severe, it may need a heat treatment, from which flies have no chance of escaping.