Planet Earth

Getting a Fly-Full

Manure in the Dead Sea region is teeming with life: zillions of maggots.

By Jeff WheelwrightOct 2, 2014 12:00 AM
ALE-KS/Thinkstock

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Houseflies are out of control in the Dead Sea region.

Zillions of maggots hatch from the raw chicken manure that Jordanian farmers spread on their tomato fields. During the autumn outbreaks, between late August and early November, each monitoring trap routinely captures 60,000 houseflies — about 3 buzzing quarts full — every 24 hours. Friends of the Earth Middle East, an environmental group, is teaching the farmers to sterilize the manure and work it into the soil to help keep the flies down.

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