What it really means when a fly sits on your food

By Nici De Wet
27 April 2017

They only need a second to contaminate your food.

We've all experienced it - the dreaded moment you see a fly sitting on your burger or pancake just as you're about to take a mouthful.

But if you're one one of those people who just swat them away and carry on eating, you should carry on reading because these insects are loaded with germs that could pose a serious threat to your health.

In fact the common house fly (musca domestica) carries on average over 200 forms of harmful bacteria thanks to all the gross things it lands on, such as rotting food, fecal matter and more, a pest control expert warns.

"They only need to touch your food for a second for their legs or the tiny hairs all over their bodies to transfer germs from all those nasty things they eat onto what you are eating," says Ron Harrison, an entomologist and technical services director at a pest control centre. "And since flies can transfer serious, contagious diseases like cholera, dysentery, and typhoid, it is probably best if you avoid eating things that a fly lands on."

And if you thought it couldn't possibly get worse, it does. Flies usually also vomit - yes, you read that correctly - when they land on your food. These insects can't chew as they don't have teeth, so instead, they eject digestive enzymes onto the food which dissolves it before they suck it up.

To help avoid attracting flies especially in the hotter months, don't leave food out uncovered especially leftovers. Screening windows and doors will help block them from coming inside. Also minimise garbage. Ensure bins are cleaned regularly, that they are kept closed and animal waste is routinely cleaned up. Using insecticidal surface sprays around bin areas will also help.

As for that pesky fly that's landed on your food? You can just cut off the piece of food it was on and throw that away instead of discarding your entire meal. But a good idea would be to get a fly swat.

Source: dailymail.co.uk, stuff.co.za

Read more: Eat fat to get thin

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