Flies are of the insect order Diptera, which means “two-winged.” Diptera includes flies, mosquitoes, gnats and midges. There are an estimated 120,000 species of flies that have been described by science, although the actual number of species in the world is much larger. Adult flies live in a wide range of habitats and display enormous variation in appearance and lifestyle. Males and females are hard to distinguish, females are usually larger and sometimes males have enlarged eyes which meet on the top of the head.

Flies are not just a nuisance; they carry diseases such as tuberculosis, typhoid, dysentery, diarrhea and other foodborne illnesses which can pose a serious health hazard to people and animals. The mechanics of how flies spread disease is dirty; they frequent areas where they can find rotting garbage and human or animal waste, then carry germs from those areas to the food we eat. Ensuring that your home or business is clean is the first and most important step in fly control.

Common Fly Species

Appearance – Adult Blow flies are metallic green, blue or copper colored. They are about ¼ to ½ inch long. Their entire life cycle is usually between 10 and 25 days, depending on the environment.

Biology – Blowflies are usually found near dead animals or things that are decaying. These flies are considered filth flies and are thought to carry diseases. They are very noticeable outdoors during the summer months. Some types of flies may look for shelter inside homes during the winter or spring. If there are a lot of blowflies found inside the home during the summer, it is very likely they could be breeding in a recently deceased animal in the house.

Prevention – Much like getting rid of houseflies, there are at least three basic methods that can be used. First, sanitation is very important to reduce the number of flies. Getting rid of breeding sites is important; removing trash regularly and using garbage containers that tightly seal, and cleaning up pet waste immediately can do this.

Second, keep flies outside by using fine mesh screens on doors and windows, and sealing any cracks or holes. Third, use things like ultraviolet light traps, sticky fly traps, fly swatters, baited fly traps, etc. which can get rid of many flies inside a home. If a lot of blowflies are found inside the home, quickly find out the breeding site (usually a dead animal) inside the home, remove it, and treat the home for the adult flies. Talk to a pest management professional to find the best treatment.

Appearance – Cluster flies look like the common housefly. The only difference is that cluster flies have a patch of yellow hair under their wings. They are dark gray colored, and about 3/8 of an inch long.

Biology – During the spring/summer, cluster flies are found hovering over grass looking for areas to lay eggs so their offspring can feed on earthworms. In late summer and early fall they enter homes through cracks and holes of buildings looking for a place to spend the winter. They stay active during winter if the temperature inside of the building is warm. They can be a bother when they come out of hiding during the winter. They are not known to carry diseases, but they can be a health issue when they enter hospitals, food processing or handling areas. If there are dead cluster flies inside of walls or areas that are hard to reach, they may cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive. Also, they attract other pests that eat dead flies, such as hide beetles, larder beetles, carpet beetles and carpenter ants.

Prevention – Seal cracks and holes on the building. They could get inside around window pulleys, window frames, doorframes, baseboards, outlet boxes, etc. Get rid of flies indoors right away by vacuuming. Talk to a professional pest manager to find proper treatment.

Appearance – Adult flies are about 1/16 to ¼ inch long, delicate and fuzzy. They are yellow/brown or gray/black, depending on what type they are. The wings are a wide, pointed oval shape.

Biology – Also known as moth, filter or sewage flies, these flies are common indoors on windows, sinks and walls. They breed in dirty water and rotting wet organic matter, which are usually in sinks and floor drains in homes, or nearby sewage plants. Eggs are laid during spring and summer in moist, decomposing material inside drains. The maggots feed on the slimy decomposing material, and they mature within 2 weeks if depending on conditions. They form a hard shell that the adult fly will come out of. These flies do not bite, but may become a bother if there are a lot of them.

Prevention – Seal cracks and holes on the building. They could get inside around window pulleys, window frames, doorframes, baseboards, outlet boxes, etc. Get rid of flies indoors right away by vacuuming. Talk to a professional pest manager to find proper treatment.

Appearance – The most common fruit flies are a light tan color. They are about 1/8 inch long, and small enough to go through screens

Biology – Fruit flies feed on decaying fruits and vegetables, and fermenting liquids in garbage cans kept indoors. They are common throughout the year, even in the winter. They reproduce very quickly when it’s warm.

Prevention – Ensuring everything is clean and sanitary is one of the best ways to prevent fruit flies. Take out kitchen trash daily, and keep counters clean. If possible, keep fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator.

Appearance – Houseflies get their name from being the most common fly found around homes. Adult houseflies can be 1/8 to ¼ inch long and usually live for 15-25 days. It’s easy to identify them because they are dark gray, and have four dark stripes on top of the middle of the body.

Biology – They are very filthy insects, because they hang around places like dumpsters, sewers, and garbage dumps. They feed on feces, discharges of wounds and sores, and any moist decaying matter. They are thought to carry at least 65 diseases human diseases, including typhoid fever, cholera, poliomyelitis, anthrax, tularemia, leprosy and tuberculosis. Flies discharge waste wherever they land, which transmits disease bacteria

Prevention – There are four common ways to get rid of houseflies. First, sanitation is very important to reduce the number of flies. Getting rid of breeding sites is important; removing trash regularly and using garbage containers that tightly seal, and cleaning up pet waste immediately.

Second, keep flies outside by using fine mesh screens on doors and windows, and sealing any cracks or holes. Third, use things like ultraviolet light traps, sticky fly traps, fly swatters, baited fly traps, etc. which can get rid of many flies inside a home. If you still have a lot of flies, even when using these methods, talk to a pest management professional to find the best treatment.

Appearance – These flies are also known as humpback flies. They are small, about 1/16 to 1/8 inch long. They’re usually mistaken for fruit flies from their small size, but their body is brownish with a humpback shape from the side view, and long legs. Their wings barely have veins, and they fly irregularly.

Biology – Phorid flies are a bother when there are many of them. They are found indoors throughout the year wherever decaying organic material is found, in garbage cans, drains and sewers. They are usually not a health problem; but they can possibly carry diseases.

 

Prevention – Keeping everything sanitary is important to get rid of phorid flies. Keeping you home clean helps to eliminate breeding sites. A lot like other organic matter breeding flies, find and throw out decaying fruit, vegetables, and garbage near sinks and sewers. Take out trash often and clean garbage containers. Also, adult flies are attracted to light, so reducing the lighting in decks and patios in the summer will reduce the number of flies that might enter the area and find breeding sites near your home.

 

DIY Fly Pest Control Tips

1. Keep Screens on Doors – The use of mesh screens on windows and doors or keeping doors and windows closed can help prevent flies from entering the home.

2. Remove or Limit What is Attracting the Flies – Keep garbage lids closed and trash out of the house.

3. Try Insecticide – Use aerosol insecticide as a quick knockdown, but stay out of the sprayed area for as long as possible after use.