House Flies Interacting With Our Food Can Be More Dangerous Than Previously Believed

House Flies Interacting With Our Food Can Be More Dangerous Than Previously Believed

If you think that people are weird enough when it comes to food, you should learn a bit about the eating habits of the house fly (more scientifically known as Musca domestica). This insect regurgitates digestive material on the food in order to break it down into small pieces. The next step will consist of the fly using its proboscis for drinking the meal.  

After reading this, surely you’ll become a lot more careful when a fly tries to land on your pizza slice. Sharing your food with an insect is bad enough, but that pesky and annoying fly actually vomiting on your meal is completely intolerable. You just cannot allow such monkey business to happen on your plate! Thanks to a new study that ScienceAlert tells us about, we now even find out that flies chowing down on your food represent something even more unhealthy than previously believed.

It all lies in the crop

A crop is an organ existing in the fly’s gut, and it’s also the place where food is stored before digestion. But except for food, something unwanted can also find shelter there: microbes and parasites. The fly can, therefore, contaminate your food by vomiting bacteria and other bad content on it that were gathered from other sources. Some of those sources might even be represented by wounds or feces.

John Stoffolano is a professor of entomology at the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, which is located at UMass Amherst. He explained:

I’ve been working on synanthropic flies since I was a graduate student in the 1960s,

And synanthropic flies have largely been ignored. Blood-feeding flies have taken the limelight, but we should pay attention to the ones that live among us because they get their nutrients from people and animals that shed pathogens in their tears, feces and wounds.

Despite how much more disgusted you’ve become about flies after reading this article, killing those insects as fast as you see them is not a good solution. These insects are still useful for the environment due to the fact that they act as scavengers, consuming rotting organic matter.

The new research appears in Insect.

Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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