Have you ever wondered what a fly is doing when it lands on your food? Laci did some research to figure out just what happens.
[Warning: You probably shouldn’t watch this video while eating.]
A recent survey asked participants: “if you were at a restaurant, which critter would make you drop your fork: Rodents, cockroaches, flies, ants, or snakes?” 61% chose cockroaches. But scientists warn that flies are actually two-times more likely to spread germs – specifically those ubiquitous, hard-to-swat houseflies.
So what’s the science behind this? Well, flies eat some of the grossest things imaginable: Poop, garbage, rotting animal carcasses. Another fact about flies is that they can’t chew, so in order to eat, they spit-up enzymes onto their food, which dissolves it and lets them slurp it up.
Even though it’s probably the grossest thing imaginable, it’s actually the bacteria and viruses that get stuck to their body that spreads disease and makes people sick, not their enzymatic spit-up. 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’re eating. And since flies can transfer serious, contagious diseases like cholera, dysentery, and typhoid, it’s probably best if you avoiding eating things that a fly lands on.
Are you the type of person who throws out your food if a fly lands on it? Have you become one after watching this video? Let us know in the comments section below because we’d love to hear from you.
BREVARD, Fla. — Answer this question while you are not eating: Which of the following would make you stop chowing down if you spied them while you were in a restaurant?
• Snake or gecko
While 61 percent of 300 people asked by pest-control company Orkin would drop their forks at the sight of a cockroach, it’s the lowly fly that presents more of a health hazard.
Yet only 3 percent said the presence of a fly would make them stop eating.
“Many restaurant patrons may not be aware that houseflies are twice as filthy as cockroaches,” Orkin entomologist and Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D., said in an e-mail statement announcing the results of the survey. “It’s important that everyone understands the magnitude of the health threats flies pose so that they can help prevent the transmission of dangerous diseases and bacteria.”
According to Orkin, flies easily carry communicable diseases. They collect pathogens on their legs and mouths when females lay eggs on decomposing organic matter, such as feces, garbage and animal carcasses.
Flies carry these diseases on their legs and the small hairs that cover their bodies. It takes only a matter of seconds for them to transfer these pathogens to food or touched surfaces.
According to the Mayo Clinic, diseases carried by flies are typhoid, cholera and dysentery. Symptoms of these conditions can include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever, headaches and lethargy.
Antibiotics are the standard treatment.