In an effort to determine where in the US particular insect pests are most problematic, researchers often analyze records kept by pest control companies that operate nationwide. While these records are certainly revealing, they do not necessarily reflect the true frequency of pest issues that occur within and around homes in the country. This is because residents who experience insect pest issues within or around their home avoid professional pest control intervention, even when they shouldn’t.

Due to having more income to spend on pest control services, middle class or affluent areas will be overrepresented in studies that rely solely on professional pest control reports to determine regional differences in pest commonality. However, a recent study saw researchers collect and analyze residential Google search topics concerning do-it-yourself pest control methods in order to more accurately determine which insect pests are most common in each state.

Flies, mosquitoes, and ants accounted for 34 percent of all pest control-related Google search topics nationwide, and bed bugs were also common, though they were not the number one most searched pests in any state. In Massachusetts, flies were found to be the most common insect pests of homes, and the most commonly managed fly species included house flies, fruit flies, drain flies, phorid flies, little house flies, and blow flies. Each one of these fly species is well known for thriving in urban and suburban settings where they pose a disease threat to humans.

While most fly pests of homes can potentially spread pathogens to humans, indoor surfaces and foods due to their filthy breeding habits, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that the domestic house fly (Musca domestica) poses a greater public health threat than any other non-biting fly species. Amazingly, a single house fly specimen typically carries more than one million bacteria on its body, and even more within the vomit they regurgitate onto foods. The harmful microorganisms carried by house flies can lead to a variety of human diseases, including dysentery, Salmonella infection, typhoid fever, E. coli, and cholera.

Do you worry about the disease spreading potential of fly pests during the summer months?