Fly life cycle

The house fly (musca domestica linnaeus) is a well-known cosmopolitan pest for both farm and home. You can find house-fly whenever there is human or animal. Flies like dirty environment or warm environment that left out like garbage. They spit saliva on their food wich liquifies it so they can suck it up for nutrient with their sponge-like mouths.

The white egg, about 1.2 mm in length, is laid singly but eggs are piled in small groups. Each female fly can lay up to 500 eggs in several batches of 75 to 150 eggs over a three to four day period. The number of eggs produced is a function of female size which, itself, is principally a result of larval nutrition. Maximum egg production occurs at intermediate temperatures, 25 to 30°C. Often, several flies will deposit their eggs in close proximity, leading to large masses of larvae and pupae. Eggs must remain moist or they will not hatch.


Early instar larvae are 3 to 9 mm long, typical creamy whitish in color, cylindrical but tapering toward the head. The head contains one pair of dark hooks. The posterior spiracles are slightly raised and the spiracular openings are sinuous slits which are completely surrounded by an oval black border. The legless maggot emerges from the egg in warm weather within eight to 20 hours, and immediately feeds on and develop in the material in which the egg was laid.

The larva goes through three instars and a full-grown maggot, 7 to 12 mm long, has a greasy, cream-colored appearance. High-moisture manure favors the survival of the house fly larva. The optimal temperature for larval development is 35 to 38°C, though larval survival is greatest at 17 to 32°C. Larvae complete their development in four to 13 days at optimal temperatures, but require 14 to 30 days at temperatures of 12 to 17°C.


The pupal stage, about 8 mm long, is passed in a pupal case formed from the last larval skin which varies in color from yellow, red, brown, to black as the pupa ages. The shape of the pupa is quite different from the larva, being bluntly rounded at both ends. Pupae complete their development in two to six days at 32 to 37°C, but require 17 to 27 days at about 14°C). The emerging fly escapes from the pupal case through the use of an alternately swelling and shrinking sac, called the ptilinum, on the front of its head which it uses like a pneumatic hammer to break throug the case.

Adult Fly
The house fly is 6 to 7 mm long, with the female usually larger than the male. The female and can be distinguished from the male by the relatively wide space between the eyes (in males, the eyes almost touch). The head of the adult fly has reddish-eyes and sponging mouthparts. The thorax bears four narrow black stripes and there is a sharp upward bend in the fourth longitudinal wing vein. The abdomen is gray or yellowish with dark midline and irregular dark markings on the sides. The underside of the male is yellowish.

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How to Make Natural Outdoor Fly Repellent

Tired of fly sprays and unwanted chemicals they contain? Now you can make your ouwn fly repellent. It is a very easy sollution to keeping flies away from your home or outdoor dining area and you can do it yourself.

  1. Clean out a small tin with a lid.
  2. Take a clean piece of cloth or a small piece of dish sponge able to fit into container. Saturate it with one of the following oils :
    • Lavender oil - lavender is considered to be particularly effective against flies
    • Citronelia oil (dilute with water first)
    • Eucalyptus oil (dilute with water first)
    • Pennyroyal oil (dilute with water first, likely more effective against mosquitoes but also considered to work against horse-flies)
    • Lemongrass oil (dilute with water first)
  3. Place the cloth in the tin and shut the lid. Allow to sit for 24 hours
  4. Use. Whatever u need to use the tin, remove the lid and place on the entertaining table. Make as many as you wish to put around the entertaining area to deter flies.
  5. Replenish the oil after each. Once open to the air, the strength weakens and needs to be topped up.


  • Wiar gloves when handling the saturated cloth, especially if you are handling food and/or have skin sensitives.
  • You can amplify the effect of the essential oils by using candles. Simply add a few drops of the chosen essential oil (or use different ones at different ends of the table) into the melted wax area of a burning candle. The odour will waft out as the candle burns.
  • If you are familiar with combining essential oils to produce scents, try a combination of the above suggested essential oils for a pleasant odour and possibly a more powerful fly dissuader.
  • Note that lavender oil can be used freely without needing to dilute with water. Water dilution should follow the instructions accompanying the essential oil. Providing you do not wear the oil, dilution at a ratio of 1 part oil to 3 parts water will likely prove sufficient for most oils but know the properties of your oils before making assumptions. If you intend to wear any of these oils as a repellent, the advice here does not apply and you should seek information from the appropriate source.


  • Always read the warnings accompanying essential oil products and do not use if you are pregnant, have a poor immune system or allergies unless you know the oil to be safe.
  • Always keep essential oils out of the reach of children. Many are toxic if ingested, especially pennyroyal. Containers should be kept out of reach.
  • As with any herbal remedy, you are the best judge of whether or not the herbal solutions are doing what you seek from them. If not, experiment with different types until something meets your needs. Sometimes the effectiveness of oils is dependent on local conditions.
  • Pennyroyal is a known toxin. It WILL cause spontaneous abortions. DO NOT use Pennyroyal around pregnant women or dogs. THE EFFECTS CAN BE VERY DISGUSTING AND SUDDEN.

Things You'll Need

  • Small tin with lid. Ideal tins include confectionery tins, cough drop tins, candle tins, etc.
  • Small piece of cloth, for example, calico, cotton, handkerchief, etc; or cut a piece of dish sponge down to size.

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Water Bug - Belostomatidae

Belostomatidae is a family of insects in the Order Hemiptera and also known as Toe Biter. Known as the larger insect in order Hemiptera. Accur in worldwide with the most of species in North America, South America and East Asia. They are typically found in fresh water and ponds. Most species are large, about 2 cm or more. The largest is Lethocerus that exeed 12 cm. Giant water bugs are a popular food in Thailand.

body elongate; front legs raptorial, twice as thick as other legs, usually held in front of head, and used for grasping prey; middle and hind legs point toward rear and are used for swimming; forewings brown, leathery, held flat against abdomen
forewings cover all of abdomen except for two tube-like appendages at posterior end that function in breathing atmospheric air which is then stored in a bubble beneath the wings while swimming underwater.

ponds and shallow margins of lakes containing submerged or emergent vegetation

Life Cycle
During spring and early summer, eggs are laid near or in water attached to aquatic plants, stones, leaves or rotting branches. Males attract the females doing a series of periodic movements near water surface generating ripples in the water known as display pumpingBefore a female begins ovipositing the eggs, she mates with the male. Then a series of intercalated matings and ovipositions occur, females ovipositing 1-4 eggs in each ovipositing bout..The eggs are brownish-gray, 4-5 mm long, laid in rows. Usually 100 are found in each group. Eggs hatch in about 2 to 3 weeks, but their hatching time will decrease as temperature rises. The nymphs look very similar to adults but lack wings and are much smaller; they molt 5 times before becoming adults.
Overwinters as an adult in mud at bottom of pond or lake margin.

Mosquito Life Cycle

There are over 2500 different species of mosquitoes throughout the world of which 150 species occur in the United States. 52 species occur in California, and 19 species occur in Alameda County. In the course of the District's operation about 10 species are commonly found in the County. Eight of the species account for over 99% of complaints from the public.

Each of the species has a scientific name that is latin, such as Culex tarsalis. These names are used in a descriptive manner so that the name tells something about this particular mosquito. Some species have what is called "common names" as well as scientific names, such as Anopheles freeborni, the "Western malaria mosquito".

All mosquitoes must have water in which to complete their life cycle, but however eggs can be laid in a dry place were water is likely to come at a later time. Mosquitoes lay their egg in breeding sites.Breeding site can range in quality from melted snow water to sewage effluent and it can be in any container imaginable. The type of water in which the mosquito larvae is found can be an aid to the identification of which species it may be. Also, the adult mosquitoes show a very distinct preference for the types of sources in which to lay their eggs. They lay their eggs in such places such as tree holes that periodically hold water, tide water pools in salt marshes, sewage effluent ponds, irrigated pastures, rain water ponds, etc. Each species therefore has unique environmental requirements for the maintenance of its life cycle.

The feeding habits of mosquitoes are quite unique in that it is only the adult females that bite man and other animals. The male mosquitoes feed only on plant juices. Some female mosquitoes prefer to feed on only one type of animal or they can feed on a variety of animals. Female mosquitoes feed on man, domesticated animals, such as cattle, horses, goats, etc; all types of birds including chickens; all types of wild animals including deer, rabbits; and they also feed on snakes, lizards, frogs, and toads.

The mosquito goes through four separate and distinct stages of its life cycle and they are as follows: Egg, Larva, pupa, and adult. Each of these stages can be easily recognized by their special appearance.Common groups are separated into four groups of mosquitoes living in the Bay Area. They are Aedes, Anopheles, Culex, and Culiseta.

Mosquito Egg
Eggs are laid one at a time and they float on the surface of the water. In the case of Culex and Culiseta species, the eggs are stuck together in rafts of a hundred or more eggs. Anopheles and Aedes species do not make egg rafts but lay their eggs separately. Culex, Culiseta, and Anopheles lay their eggs on water while Aedes lay their eggs on damp soil that will be flooded by water. Most eggs hatch into larvae within 48 hours.

Mosquitoes Egg Raft
Culex mosquitoes lay their eggs on the surface of fresh or stagnant water. The water may be in anything that can hold water like tin cans, barrels, horse troughs, ornamental ponds, swimming pools, puddles, creeks, ditches, or marshy areas. Mosquitoes prefer water sheltered from the wind by grass and weeds.

Culex mosquitoes usually lay their eggs at night. A mosquito may lay a raft of eggs every third night during its life span.

Culex mosquitoes lay their eggs one at a time, sticking them together to form a raft of from 200- 300 eggs. A raft of eggs looks like a speck of soot floating on the water and is about 1/4 inch long and 1/8 inch wide.

Tiny mosquito larvae emerge from the eggs within 24 hours.

Notes: Anopheles mosquitoes lay their eggs singly on the water, not in rafts. Aedes mosquitoes lay their eggs singly on damp soil. Aedes eggs hatch only when flooded with water (salt water high tides, irrigated pastures, treeholes, flooded stream bottoms, etc.).

Mosquito Larva
The larva (larvae - plural) live in the water and come to the surface to breathe. Most larvae have siphon tubes for breathing and hang from the water surface. Anopheles larvae do not have a siphon and they lay parallel to the water surface. The larva feed on micro-organisms and organic matter in the water. On the fourth molt the larva changes into a pupa.

Mosquito larvae, commonly called "wigglers" or "wrigglers", must live in water from 7 to 14 days depending on water temperature.

During growth, the larva molts (sheds its skin) four times. The stages between molts are called instars. At the 4th instar, the larva reaches a length of almost 1/2 inch.

When the 4th instar larva molts it becomes a pupa.

Note : Anopheles are unlike Culex and Aedes larvae since they do not have a breathing tube, they must lie parallel to the water surface in order to get a supply of oxygen through a breathing opening.

Mosquito Pupa
Mosquito pupae, commonly called "tumblers", must live in water from 1 to 4 days, depending upon species and temperature.

The pupa is lighter than water and therefore floats at the surface. It takes oxygen through two breathing tubes called "trumpets". When it is disturbed it dives in a jerking, tumbling motion and then floats back to the surface. During this form Pupa does not eat.

The metamorphosis of the mosquito into an adult is completed within the pupal case.

The adult mosquito splits the pupal case and emerges to the surface of the water where it rests until its body can dry and harden.

Mosquito Adult
Only female mosquitoes bite animals and drink blood. Why blood? Becouse female mosquitoes need protein from blood. Male mosquitoes do not bite. They feed on the nectar of flowers.

Aedes mosquitoes are painful and persistent biters, attacking during daylight hours (not at night). They do not enter dwellings, and they prefer to bite mammals like humans. Aedes mosquitoes are strong fliers and are known to fly many miles from their breeding sources.

Culex mosquitoes are painful and persistent biters also, but prefer to attack at dusk and after dark, and readily enter dwellings for blood meals. Domestic and wild birds are preferred over man, cows, and horses. Culex tarsalis is known to transmit encephalitis (sleeping sickness) to man and horses. Culex are generally weak fliers and do not move far from home, although they have been known to fly up to two miles. Culex usually live only a few weeks during the warm summer months.
Those females which emerge in late summer search for sheltered areas where they "hibernate" until spring. Warm weather brings her out in search of water on which to lay her eggs.

Culiseta mosquitoes are moderately aggressive biters, attacking in the evening hours or in shade during the day.

Anopheles mosquitoes are the only mosquito which transmits malaria to man.

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Butterfly Life Cycle

The life-cycle of a butterfly (and moth for that matter) is a remarkable series of changes between seemingly very different forms culminating in the emergence of a butterfly. Throughout nature there are fantastic and fascinating occurrences of many kinds. The metamorphosis of an egg to a butterfly is just one of those wonders.

The story starts with a pair of butterflies mating. This enables the females eggs to be fertilised. Like many other species in nature there is often a courtship routine preceding the actual mating. Some butterflies fly in spirals, sometimes the female lies with her wings in a certain position.

The Egg or Ovum

The shape of butterfly eggs is remarkably variable. The examples below show some recurring forms but there are many others, for example swallowtail eggs are smooth and spherical. There is some consistency of shape between closely related species. The egg consists of an outer casing, or chorion, inside which is the females fertilised ovum. There is always a minute opening, the micropyle, which is visible as a small pit at the top of some eggs. This structure allows the male sperm to fertilise the egg and probably allows the developing embryo to breathe.

Through her legs the female butterfly can 'taste' plants by a chemical process and so recognise the species, or groups of species which her young will need to feed on. Some butterflies (termed monophagous) only use a single species of plant for their larvae, while others (oligophagous) will use hostplants of similar species and there are some (polyphagous) which will use hostplants from different genera. Once a suitable site is found egg-laying, oviposition, can take place.

Sometimes eggs are laid singly, at other times they may be in bunches, Araschnia levana, lays its eggs in vertical columns. All these tactics have their benefits in terms of survival, a parasite may miss one or two eggs in a large group and similarly may miss one or two widely scattered eggs. Usually the eggs are laid on the foodplant, but some species lay nearby. The Silver-washed fritillary, Argynnis paphia, lays its eggs on the trunk of a tree near to a growth of its foodplant, Viola. Butterfly eggs are attacked by various parasitic wasps so as much as possible must be done to safeguard them.

The eggs take a variable amount of time to hatch, indeed some butterflies remain as eggs through the winter, only hatching when the warmth of spring arrives. I guess they are less likely to be eaten when very small and easy to miss. Usually it takes about 10 days for an egg to hatch. There is an easy exit for the tiny first instar caterpillar to escape from the confines of its egg.

A number of young larvae actually eat their egg shell. For some it is the fuel for their journey to find the foodplant and for others it is the only meal they have before the winter, without it they don't survive.

The Caterpillar or Larva

A caterpillar is an eating machine. Its consists of a pair of jaws or mandibles for chewing plant matter followed by a long gut for digestion. It moves using three pairs of true legs (like all insects) and five further pairs of 'prolegs', sucker like structures with hooks on the end for gripping hold of the leaves and stems. Along the side of the larva are small openings, spiracles, nine pairs in all, through which respiration occurs. A modified set of salivary glands, spinnerets, produce silk. All butterfly larvae are hairy, some quite spectacularly covered with bushes of setae, they may well be off-putting to potential predators.

When first hatched the larva or caterpillar is very small indeed, just a few millimeters long. These first instar larvae look similar regardless of which species they belong to. Usually the caterpillar immediately searches out food and starts to eat, although some species overwinter at this stage.

Due to the nature of the skeleton of insects they cannot grow in the same way that we do. Every so often the caterpillar sheds its skin so that it can expand and grow to a larger size. This process is known as ecdysis and each time it happens the caterpillar moves on to a new instar. Most European species molt four times and so their final stage is usually the fifth instar.

Caterpillars feed for a large part of their time, consuming an ever increasing amount of foodplant as they get rapidly larger. Some species prefer the cover of night to avoid unwanted attention, the Comma, Polygonia c-album, spends most of its time underneath leaves for the same reason. Their excrement, usually called frass, is dropped all over the place in small lumps.

Caterpillars produce a silken thread from organs beside their jaws. This is used for a variety of purposes. It gives the caterpillars a good hold on their foodplant and some use it to rest between bouts of feeding.

When a caterpillar is fully grown it takes time to wander in search of a suitable pupation site. This stage is sometimes known as the prepupa. The larva will let all frass clear its system before pupation.

The Chrysalis or Pupa

The word chrysalis is derived from the Greek work crusoz meaning gold, referring to the colour of some Nymphalid pupae, whereas pupa is the scientific word describing this stage of a butterflies life.

Most of the adult body parts can be seen in the pupa (See image)

Once the caterpillar has transformed into a pupa a remarkable process occurs transforming the contents of the pupa into an adult butterfly. This can take as little as two weeks, but some species over-winter (hibernate) in this stage, only hatching in the warmth of spring. As the pupa is unable to avoid any potential predators they tend to be quite well camouflaged, indeed some are form under the ground.

The pupa hangs onto the silken pad using its cremaster, rather than the anal claspers of the caterpillar. Just before the adult butterfly hatches the pupal skin becomes transparent and the wing pattern is visible inside.

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Phylum, Arthropoda; Class, Insecta; Order, Orthoptera

Identifying Features

Appearance (Morphology)

  • Brown, with some darker markings
  • Black herringbone pattern on hind femur
  • Big hind legs for jumping
  • 2 pairs of wings: forewings narrow and relatively hard; hind wings large, membranous
  • Antennae not very long, 20-24 segments
  • Conspicuous eyes
  • Cerci (pair of appendages at end of abdomen) unjointed

Adult Males and Females
Males have a single unpaired plate at the end of abdomen. Female has two pairs of valves (triangle shapes) at end of abdomen used to dig in sand when egg laying.

Immatures (different stages)
In very young stage, the grasshopper has no wings. In later stages, wings are visible as small pads at end of thorax.

Natural History

Many species of grasshoppers are general herbivores feeding on a variety of plants. Some species only like grasses.

Widespread in U.S.

Birds, lizards,mantids, spiders, and rodents eat grasshoppers.

Interesting Behaviors
Feeding: Although they eat many things, they still have preferences. Mating behavior: See how male courts female. Egg-laying: Female digs hole with abdomen. Some grasshoppers spit a brown bitter liquid as a defensive behavior in response to being handled. Use a piece of white paper and gently wipe the grasshopper's mouth if the spit is not evident. Before molting, grasshoppers do not eat and become less active. During the molt, they swallow air to build up pressure to split the old cuticle.

Impact on the Ecosystem

As herbivores, grasshoppers link plants to the rest of the ecosystem. Frass (droppings) contribute to nutrient turnover by returning nutrients as fertilizer for the plants. They provide food for birds and other arthropods.

Sometimes some species of grasshopper occur in very large numbers and cause serious crop damage and loss of plants in pastures.

Collecting Live Insects

Where to find
Grasshoppers are around in the spring and summer, but are most noticeable in the autumn. Areas with many grasses, small "vacant" lots and gardens are good places to start looking. Look at the area as you walk through. If you can hear the plants moving as you walk there are most likely grasshoppers around. Look during the middle of the day for best results. At night, use a flashlight to find grasshoppers roosting on the leaves. In the summer and autumn, some grasshoppers fly into porch lights.

How to collect
Encourage students to bring in grasshoppers. Catching grasshoppers may require patience and determination. Once grasshoppers have wings, many species can fly faster than you can run. Those without wings are easier to chase. Grasshoppers are perceptive and can sense you when you are several feet away. If they are on a plant and you try to grab them, they will move around the stem and often drop off the plant. You can swing an insect net or place the net over the plant while holding up the bottom of the net. With your hand gently coax grasshoppers into the net. They will walk or jump up into the net. Once in the net, gently pick up the grasshopper and place it in a container. It is also possible to collect grasshoppers by very slowly moving a glass or plastic vial towards the grasshopper's head and they will jump into it.

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Green Tree Ants

The green tree ant found in Northern Australia is a type of weaver ant found in many parts of the world. The Australian species (Oecophylla smaragdina) is commonly referred to as either a green tree ant or weaver ant. They are called weaver ants because they weave a nest together out of leaves.

In Australia they are only found in the Northern regions. They occur in forested areas both in Northern Western Australia and also in the Northern Territory and Queensland. In Queensland they spread down the coastal fringe as far south as Rockhampton, and can often be found in fruit orchards.

Weaver Ants build nests by joining leaves together with a sticky substance produced from their lavae. Many ants work together to construct these nests which can finish up being 300 - 500 mm long in a roughly oval shape. As they are made from the leaves of the tree in which the nest is, they are quite well camouflaged.

Tree ants aggressively defend their nests biting intruders. Acid from the tip of their abdomen causes pain and discomfort which generally drives off the invader.

The ant's body is a green or even a pale yellow, and its mandibles (Jaws) have 10+ teeth.

Green tree ants forage both for vegetation (eg nectar) and for invertebrates (insects), both on the ground and on vegetation. The ants also feed on excretions from aphids and scale insects.

The Queen Ant is located in one nest, but her eggs are distributed through the other nests of the colony.

Green Tree Ants have few preditors but jumping spiders, which look and smell like them, can invade the nests and eat the ants and the larvae.

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