The Conversation: It only takes a single fly to alight on your picnic lunch to make you uneasy about what germs may have landed with it. But what harm can come from a fly landing on your food? Should you throw it away?

There are hundreds of different fly species in Australia. Many of these flies pose a health risk but none hang about our homes more than the house fly. It’s a ubiquitous presence during the warmer months, can be a substantial annoyance and may also be a potential health risk.

When it comes to passing on pathogens, it’s not necessarily the fly itself but where it’s come from that matters. Flies don’t just visit freshly made sandwiches. They spend far more of their time in rotting animal and plant waste. Among this waste can be a range of pathogens and parasites.

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