A Virus That Can Kill Annoying Houseflies

Nobody likes houseflies, at least I have never heard anybody proclaim their love for the things. It is safe to say that houseflies are a major nuisance, but they can actually be quite dangerous as well. Although many people do not realize it, houseflies can spread bacteria rather easily. Flies have been known to spread disease causing pathogens that include Escherichia coli, Salmonella, and Shigella bacteria.

Insecticides are a must for keeping houseflies under control, but houseflies have become pretty good at surviving some pest control concoctions. And what is even more problematic for some pest control professionals is the way in which flies keep their eggs embedded within their sticky food. Because housefly eggs are often concealed and protected within fly by-products, sometimes the eggs of houseflies can remain unaffected by insecticides. However, this is rarely the case as houseflies can be eradicated provided pest professionals know that their is a housefly problem in the first place.

Agricultural scientists have recently stumbled upon a new method of controlling houseflies. Scientists believe that a biological control agent known as salivary gland hypertrophy virus (SGHV) could be an effective tool for controlling house fly populations.

Once flies are infected with this biological control agent females are no longer able to produce eggs, and males are no longer able to mate. The virus works by hijacking the flies protein manufacturing abilities. This results in unusually small ovaries that cannot handle the task of reproduction. The proteins that would normally go to the ovaries are instead diverted so that the virus  can make use of the proteins. Consequently, the ovaries belonging to houseflies atrophy and become useless. This unique virus is allowing researchers to better understand the functioning of insect reproductive systems.

Do you know of any other experimental pest-control agents? If so, what are they?

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