The house fly: small insect, big problems!

The house fly, Musca domestica Linnaeus, is a well-known cosmopolitan pest ofHousefly both farm and home. This species is always found in association with humans or the activities of humans. It is the most common species found on hog and poultry farms, horse stables and ranches. Not only are house flies a nuisance, but they can also transport disease-causing organisms. Excessive fly populations are not only an irritant to farm workers but, when there are nearby human habitations, a public health problem could occur.

This common fly originated on the steppes of central Asia, but now occurs on all inhabited continents, in all climates from tropical to temperate, and in a variety of environments ranging from rural to urban. It is commonly associated with animal feces, but has adapted well to feeding on garbage, so it is abundant almost anywhere people live.

The house fly has a complete metamorphosis with distinct egg, larval or maggot, pupal and adult stages. The house fly overwinters in either the larval or pupal stage under manure piles or in other protected locations. Warm summer conditions are generally optimum for the development of the house fly, and it can complete its life cycle in as little as seven to ten days. However, under suboptimal conditions the life cycle may require up to two months. As many as 10 to 12 generations may occur annually in temperate regions, while more than 20 generations may occur in subtropical and tropical regions.

Flies commonly develop in large numbers in poultry manure under caged hens, and this is a serious problem requiring control. Although this fly species does not bite, the control of Musca domestica is vital to human health and comfort in many areas of the world. The most important damage related with this insect is the annoyance and the indirect damage produced by the potential transmission of pathogens (viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes) associated with this fly. Pathogenic organisms are picked up by flies from garbage, sewage and other sources of filth, and then transferred on their mouthparts, through their vomitus, feces and contaminated external body parts to human and animal food.

Of particular concern is the movement of flies from animal or human feces to food that will be eaten uncooked by humans. Also, when consumed by flies, some pathogens can be harbored in the mouthparts or alimentary canal for several days, and then be transmitted when flies defecate or regurgitate. In situations where plumbing is lacking, such as open latrines, serious health problems can develop, especially if there are outdoor food markets, hospitals, or slaughter houses nearby. Among the pathogens commonly transmitted by house flies are Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, Escherichia, Enterococcus, Chlamydia, and many other species that cause illness. These flies are most commonly linked to outbreaks of diarrhea and shigellosis, but also are implicated in transmission of food poisoning, typhoid fever, dysentery, tuberculosis, anthrax, ophthalmia, and parasitic worms.

The threshold density for determining when to control flies depends on the area where the control measures will be taken. In general, at homes the threshold is very low and control actions are taken with few flies. The complaint threshold density of the house fly at waste management sites may be 150 individuals per flypaper per 30 minutes.

Tolerance of flies depends greatly on circumstances. In sensitive environments such as food preparation and packing facilities, restaurants, and hospitals, even small numbers of flies cannot be tolerated. In the context of livestock or poultry production, however, some flies are inevitable. Serious problems occur when cities or suburban development occur near poultry production facilities, as residents usually will not tolerate the large numbers of flies emanating from such facilities.

Let us look at the below news that shows house fly menace:

Housefly menace makes life miserable for Karnal villagers
Tribune News Service, Karnal, June 16, 2016, India

Residents of Rasoolpur Kalan village, around 7 km from here, are facing a hard time because of swarms of houseflies. Villagers said they were worried as the houseflies could lead to an outbreak of an epidemic. They said the unhygienic conditions in poultry farms situated near the village were responsible for the nuisance.

Sarpanch of Rasoolpur Kalan village Rameshwar Dass said despite approaching the authorities several times, no action had been initiated so far against the poultry farm owners. The sarpanch said flies breed in the waste from the poultry farms, making the lives of the residents miserable.

“I have been running from pillar to post since taking charge as sarpanch to eradicate this menace. I have approached the CM window, Deputy Commissioner, Sub-Divisional Magistrate and even the Pollution Control Board, Yamunanagar, but the authorities have taken no action so far,” he maintained.

Dass said the villagers would protest at the Chief Minister’s camp office on Friday in support of their demand. He alleged that the owners of the poultry farms were reaping profit and not taking steps to ensure cleanliness of their farms.

The sarpanch said swarms of houseflies could be seen in the village as a result of which the livestock were also badly affected. He alleged that the housefly menace was the reason for low milk production in the village.

A villager, Bittu, said they had given a representation to the authorities seeking action against the poultry farms that were allegedly dumping waste of the farms in an unscientific way, thereby, causing air pollution in the area.

To prevent and control house fly menace the use of pesticides and insecticides is not beneficial because the effect of them stays only for certain period of time. The toxic chemicals present in them cause harm to beneficial insects and microorganisms. The evaporated toxic fumes from them are hazardous to human health. They can also degrade the quality of product they are applied to.

Termirepel™- anti insect additive a C Tech Corporation product is an ideal solution for the prevention and control of house fly menace. The masterbatch of Termirepel™ can be incorporated in various polymeric applications which are used. While Termirepel™ solution and lacquer can be coated to fence, wooden objects, furniture, walls, ceilings etc. It follows 6 pronged strategy which is extremely effective on house flies as well as insects like ants, beetles, grasshopper, termites etc.

Termirepel™ is a non toxic and non hazardous anti insect additive. It is thermally stable and does not degrade on exposure to heat and sunlight. It does not kill or harm the insect but repels them. It does not volatilize and does not degrade the soil. It is RoHS, RoHS2, REACH compliant and FIFRA exempted.

Havoc of emerald ash borer!

The emerald ash borer (EAB) is a metallic green beetle that bores into ash treesfeeding on tissues beneath the bark, ultimately killing the tree. The emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis, is a very destructive insect pest of ash trees (Fraxinus spp.), the only known hosts of this borer in downloadNorth America. This exotic borer is a native of Asia with its natural range including China, Japan, Mongolia, Korea, the Russian Far East and Taiwan.

EABs generally have a one-year life cycle although that can be extended to two years in a vigorously growing host. After feeding on leaves, adults mate and females lay eggs on the bark or into small cracks. Eggs hatch in 7 to 10 days. The whitish larvae, called flatheaded borers, tunnel under the bark creating a winding, S-shaped galleries in the phloem and outer sapwood. These tunnels girdle the trunk and branches, interrupting the flow of water and nutrients. The larvae feed until fall and then overwinter as prepupal larvae.

EAB populations can quickly rise to damaging levels. After initial infestation, all ash trees are expected to die in an area within 10 years without control measures. Every North American ash species shows susceptibility to EAB as North American species planted in China also shows high mortality due to EAB infestation.

Host species include green ash, white ash, black ash, blue ash, and pumpkin ash. Tens of millions of ash trees have been lost to this pest, which usually kills ash trees within 3-4 years of infestation.

Green ash and the black ash trees are preferred by EAB. White ash is also killed rapidly, but usually only after all green and black ash trees are eliminated. Blue ash displays some resistance to the emerald ash borer by forming callus tissue around EAB galleries but is eventually killed. Many of the specialized predators and parasitoids that suppressed EAB populations in Asia are not present in North America. Predators and parasitoids native to North America do not sufficiently suppress EAB, so populations continue to grow. EAB populations can spread 20 km (12 mi) a year. However, it primarily spreads to longer distances by transport of firewood and other wood products that contain ash bark, which allows EAB to reach new areas and create satellite populations outside of the main infestation.

EAB threatens the entire North American Fraxinus genus. It has killed at least tens of millions of ash trees so far and threatens to kill most of the 8.7 billion ash trees throughout North America. Emerald ash borer kills young trees several years before reaching their seeding age of 10 years. The loss of ash from an ecosystem can result in increased numbers of invasive plants, changes in soil nutrients, and effects on species that feed on ash.

Ash wood is greatly valued for its strength and elasticity and is often used for baseball bats, bows, tool handles, and other products that require durability, strength, and resilience. Green ash is planted widely as a landscape tree in urban areas and is a valuable native component of wetland areas. Ash foliage and seeds are fed upon by numerous animals as well as butterfly and moth caterpillars. And these valuable ash trees have a huge threat from EAB.

Damage and efforts to control the spread of EAB have affected businesses that sell ash trees or wood products, property owners, and local or state governments. Quarantines can limit the transport of ash trees and products, but economic impacts are especially high for urban and residential areas due to treatment or removal costs and decreased land value from dying trees. Costs for managing these trees can fall upon homeowners or local municipalities. For municipalities, removing large numbers of dead or infested trees at once is costly.

Let us look below news articles that show EABs are threatening our trees:

  • Emerald ash borer found in Longmont
    Jacy Marmaduke, Coloradoan, June 9, 2016, US

The news of a relatively nearby infestation is significant for Fort Collins because nearly one in five of 40,000 city-owned trees are ash. The beetle, which is native to Asia, has killed more than 50 million ash trees in the United States since appearing in the Detroit area in 2002. It’s predicted to kill 9 billion ash trees by 2019.

  • Emerald Ash Borer invades metro neighborhoods, causes millions in damages
    By Nicole Diantonio, June 6, 2016, US

SHAWNEE, Kan. — A beetle infestation in the metro area is causing millions of dollars in damages and thousands of Ash trees are being cut down because of the Emerald Ash Borer. Experts are now saying the problem has spread a lot faster than anticipated to every major county and city in the metro. Now, there are many Ash trees in the neighborhood near McCory Street in Shawnee that is either dead or dying.

With nearly 4 million Ash Trees in the metro area, the infestation is costing the community millions of dollars in damages. In February, Lawrence, Kan., received nearly $240,000 to fight the beetles during the next decade.

Below is figure that shows distribution of EAB throughout North America:

emerald ash borer

Insecticides with active ingredients such as imidacloprid, emamectin benzoate, and dinotefuran are currently used. These insecticides are toxic in nature. They kill target as well as the non- target species. They are harmful to human health.

C Tech Corporation can offer a solution to overcome the damage caused by EAB to our trees. Termirepel™ is an ideal solution for prevention from damages inflicted by EAB. Termirepel™ is a nontoxic and nonhazardous insect aversive.  Although it is non-hazardous anti termite aversive, it is effective against insects like EAB, grasshopper, worms etc. It is cost effective and cost efficient, inert, stable up to 1400 deg Celsius temperature, long lasting etc.

Termirepel™ is manufactured with a unique set of complex compounds. It is available in the form of polymer masterbatches which can be incorporated in plastic tree guards, fencing of trees, etc.


Tent caterpillars: A threat to our trees!

largewhite_4069Tent caterpillars are moderately sized caterpillars, or moth larvae, belonging to the genus Malacosoma in the family Lasiocampidae.

The larvae of several moth and butterfly species are collectively referred to as tent caterpillars. These tent caterpillars multiply rapidly and can defoliate a large number of deciduous trees and shrubs in a short time. They are often seen on roadside trees and in neglected orchards. Besides defoliation, the larvae produce large unsightly webs, or tents, in the crotches of tree branches. These webs are used to protect the caterpillars from predators.

Tent caterpillars can be classified into different types as follows:

Eastern Tent Caterpillar: The eastern tent caterpillar is a native insect that was first reported in 1646. Eastern tent caterpillars prefer wild cherry, apple, and crabapple. They also feed on ash, birch, black gum, maple, oak, poplar, cherry, peach ,and plum etc. The caterpillar grows up to two inches long. They are black with a white stripe down the back. On either side of the stripe are blue spots and reddish or yellowish stripes.

Female moths lay egg masses of 100 to 300 eggs around a twig in mid-summer. The egg mass is very dark. The eggs overwinter and hatch the following spring. When the larvae (caterpillars) hatch, they are small. They immediately climb up the tree to a crotch of branches and build a silk tent. Eastern Tent Caterpillars use the tent for protection. They leave the tent during the day to feed and return to it at night. As the caterpillars eat and grow larger, the tent grows larger also. It can get to be about two feet long.

Western Tent Caterpillar: Western Tent caterpillars are troublesome in the northern and western portions of the United States and adjoining Canada. These hairy caterpillars are yellowish-brown in color and have a row of blue spots on their backs, with orange spots interspersed in between. Adult moths (1-1/2 inches long) are orange-brown in color with two narrow yellow lines on the wings. Willow, poplar, cottonwood, birch, apple, plum, cherry, roses and oak are favorite host plants of these pests. Hosts for these caterpillars include a wide range of tree and shrub species. In the central and the southern Rocky Mountains, quaking aspen is the preferred host. Other reported tree hosts include alder, cottonwood, crabapple, fruit trees, oak, poplar, and willow. Chokecherry is a host throughout its range. Other shrub hosts include bitterbrush, Ceanothus spp., mountain mahogany, nine-bark, serviceberry, sumac, wild currant, and wild rose.

Forest Tent Caterpillar:  The forest tent caterpillar is quite similar to the eastern tent caterpillar.  Despite its name, this pest does not spin a true tent; instead, it forms a silken mat on the surface of branches where they congregate. Larvae have a series of keyhole-shaped white spots running down their back instead of a solid line. Adults are light yellow to tan colored moths with two dark bands on their forewings. Host plants include wild cherry, aspen, maple, oak, and hawthorn.

The damage caused by the tent caterpillars is tremendous. The tent caterpillar feed on tree’s new foliage and they defoliate the trees if present in large numbers. Defoliation stunts the growth and vigor of trees. Because tent caterpillars feed in large groups, they can quickly destroy large sections of a tree’s canopy.

Larvae of a single tent caterpillar colony can strip the leaves from a small tree if allowed to develop and is more of a threat in nurseries or newly planted orchards. On larger trees they are only a serious problem if there are several colonies on the same tree. While fruits are not directly attacked, fruits on branches that have had leaves consumed will not develop normally. Moreover, heavy feeding during one year may reduce tree growth.

  • Tent Caterpillars Are Taking Over the Town In Livingston

By Kaitlin McCulley, April 01, 2016,, Livingston, UK

Tent caterpillars are taking over the town in Livingston.

Their acrobatics may be fun to watch from a distance, but these creepy crawlers are getting up close and personal.

Amanda Fowler and her daughter Savannah want the circus act to hit the road.

“The webs go from the trees and connect to the house and they swarm the porches and you literally can’t step out your front door without having six or seven of them on you,” Fowler said.

Another type of damage that tent caterpillars cause is damage to electrical equipment, insulation etc.  leading to power blackouts.

Let us have a look at some news articles pertaining to this type of damage:

  • Tent caterpillar swarms causing power outages near Houston
    ByCarol Christian, July 30, 2015, Chron, Texas, USA

Tent caterpillars are so abundant in East Texas that some residents have been left in the dark. Sam Houston Electric Cooperative said that the colorful caterpillars have been hatching by the millions and covering homes, trees, and electrical equipment. Line technicians report that the caterpillars can engulf transformers, resulting in blown fuses.”The caterpillars can completely cover a piece of electrical equipment,” said Sam Houston Electric Cooperative line technician Virgil Cain. “They can actually disrupt the insulating ability of the equipment and cause a power outage.”

There are few conventional solutions available to combat this plague of tent caterpillars. Damage can be reduced by removing and destroying tents and caterpillars as soon as they are noticed, but this technique is not very effective and cannot provide a sure shot solution. Conventional insecticides which are toxic in nature are also proving to be ineffective and also have a significant share in environmental degradation.

C Tech Corporation offers a non-toxic and non-hazardous product, Termirepel™ to protect the trees and electrical equipment from these ravenous insects. It is an environmentally safe product that works by repelling the insects without causing any harm to the target or non-target species. Termirepel™ is available in solid masterbatches, liquid concentrate, and lacquer form.  Termirepel™ can also be incorporated in agricultural films and mulches for the protection of crops against these creatures. Also, the electrical equipment can be protected by incorporating our solid masterbatches while manufacturing them.