Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Flies at Starbucks

Flies at Starbucks

Flies at Starbucks (1999)

From the Koday Kids Amazing Insects page on characteristics of the housefly:

Where are they found and how do they develop?

House flies are the most common flies found in homes, restaurants and other structures where man and his domestic animals live. Adult flies lay eggs in horse, cow, pig, dog, poultry and human manure, garbage or decaying meat. They can readily breed in fresh and wet incinerated garbage but not in scattered, dry garbage. They may also breed in wet flour and soybean meal around industrial plants. As many as 868 fly pupa can develop from 1 ounce of manure.

What is their life cycle?

Houseflies go through 4 stages of development: egg, larva, pupa and adult. The entire life cycle can be completed in 7-10 days under ideal conditions. Adult females can lay as many as 2,700 eggs in 30 days but more commonly lay 350-900 in 5 or 6 different batches. The eggs which are laid singly but often appear in clusters hatch in 6 to 24 hours. The maggot remains in the breeding media for 4-10 days, feeding and growing. In wet breeding areas, full grown larvae climb to the surface or sides of the breeding media before pupating. There have been cases of the larva crawling a distance of 150 ft. from the breeding source in order to pupate. The pupal stage lasts 3-6 days. The adult female is ready to lay eggs 2 2 days after emergence and continues to lay eggs for about one month. Adult flies live from 30-60 days during warmer months. In Northern areas, some adults may survive indoors for several months. It appears that flies continue to breed all year in low numbers in heated buildings such as dirty restaurants or incinerator rooms. In the spring these flies disperse to other buildings and increase in numbers rapidly.

Do they bite?

Adult house flies do not bite. They have sponging mouthparts for feeding. In order to feed on a piece of food, the fly must first regurgitate some saliva on the food to soften it. The food is transformed into a liquid and sponged up.

What are fly specks?

Black specks left on walls and surfaces where the fly rests are deposits of saliva and fecal material.

Do they carry disease?

Houseflies are a danger to the health of man and animals principally because it carries and spreads disease organisms. They move from garbage and sewage to our dinner plates. It carries bacteria on the outside of its body, it regurgitates saliva and deposits wastes on human food. By comparison the cockroach is sanitary.

From the Starbucks in Seattle site, which lists the various Starbucks franchises in the Seattle area:

This store, built in an old garage, has a garage door that opens, though not so much any more because the flies are attracted to the food.

From GameSpy Wireless Forums, where Dracion writes:

Starbucks are like flies.

And from "The Mud and the Blood and the Beer!"

It was 7 a.m. when I pulled up into my parking spot at Starbucks. It had been a Murphy's Law kind of morning. I picked up the CD that fell on the floor on the passenger's side, then opening my own door and stepped onto the pavement. We'll that's not exactly true. Actually, I stepped onto 6 months worth of old crusty Carmel Frappucino looking stuff. My sandals stuck so much that they almost came off my feet had I not been accustomed to the problem. I was in the kind of mood that today I was finally going to say something to Starbuck's management. "Why don't you guys clean up this mess?"

It reminded me of the new voting commercial where the girls look at the faucet where someone forgot to turn off the water. Who was finally going to something? Management informed me that the parking lot was not their responsibility. It was Property Management's and they had been complaining to them for months as had the other business owners in the mall. Hmm! Environmentally friendly Starbucks had a cloudy lining after all.

I asked for the property management's number and the Starbuck's manager gladly gave it to me. I called Donahue and Schriber. First time, they said they'd look into it. Second time, a few weeks later, they said they'd been out and were now trying to figure out how to "recapture" the water. Meanwhile the flies and yellow jackets had really created a major health hazard.

There are seemingly countless "I Hate Starbucks" sites on the Net. The most relevant for today's image might be those where disgruntled employees talk about creative ways to doctor Starbucks patrons' drinks. First, Google around and root out some added ingredients recipe concoctions -- then scroll back up and re-read the fly's culinary prep that "must first regurgitate some saliva on the food to soften it. The food is transformed into a liquid and sponged up." Now, sip that frap.

Given that a fly's metabolic system is already amped to overdrive, I wondered what would happen if flies started slurping spilled double mint mocha skimmed lattes. Talk about being buzzed.

There are other flies at Starbucks, too -- trended-up variations of the Mickey Rourke barfly who "can't get through their day" without gravitating to something sweet.

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