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 pest control.
Common Fly Species
Blow or Bottle Flies
Appearance – Adult Blow flies are metallic green, blue or copper colored. They are about ¼ to ½ inch long.
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 in the house during the summer, it is very likely they could be breeding in a recently deceased animal in the house. Their entire life cycle is usually between 10 and 25 days, depending on the environment.
Sanitation is very important to reduce the number of flies. Getting rid of breeding sites is important; remove trash regularly and use garbage containers that tightly seal. You can also try scented trash bags that repel flies. Always clean up pet waste immediately.
Keep flies outside by using fine mesh screens on doors and windows. Seal any cracks or holes.
Try preventatives like ultraviolet light traps, sticky fly traps, fly swatters, essential oils, etc. which can get rid of many flies inside a home. If you have a lot of blowflies, quickly determine the breeding site (usually a dead animal) inside the home, remove it, and treat your home for the adult flies. Talk to a pest management professional to find out how to get rid of blow flies permanently.
Appearance – Cluster flies are dark gray colored and about 3/8 of an inch long. They look like the common housefly but have a patch of yellow hair under their wings.
– 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 and look for a place to spend the winter. They stay active during winter if the temperature inside of the building is warm.
Cluster flies 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.
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 learn how to get rid of cluster flies in your home.
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 – found in sinks and floor drains in homes, or nearby sewage plants. They lay eggs during spring and summer in moist, decomposing material inside drains. The maggots feed on the slimy decomposing material and mature within 2 weeks 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 in large numbers.
Prevention –Seal cracks and holes on the building. Drain flies 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 for proper drain fly 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 indoor garbage cans. They are common throughout the year, even in the winter. They reproduce very quickly when it’s warm.
Prevention – Ensuring your home 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. It’s easy to identify them because they are dark gray and have four dark stripes on top of the middle of their body.
Biology – They are filthy insects that hang around 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 including typhoid fever, cholera, poliomyelitis, anthrax, tularemia, leprosy and tuberculosis. Flies discharge waste wherever they land, which transmits disease bacteria.
Prevention – Sanitation is very important to get rid of flies in your home. Remove breeding sites; take out trash regularly and use garbage containers that seal tightly. Clean up pet waste immediately.
Keep flies outside by using fine mesh screens on doors and windows and seal any cracks or holes.
You can use things like ultraviolet light traps, sticky fly traps, fly swatters, essential oils, etc. which can get rid of many flies inside a home. Talk to a pest management professional to find the best treatment.
Appearance – Also known as humpback flies, they are small – about 1/16 to 1/8 inch long. They’re often mistaken for fruit flies due to their small size, but their body is brownish with a humpback shape in profile view, and they have longer legs. Their wings barely have veins, and they fly irregularly.
Biology – Phorid flies are a bother in large numbers. 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 things sanitary is important to get rid of phorid flies. A clean home helps to eliminate breeding sites. 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.
First, make sure that your garbage lid is on tight. There are a number of commercial products you can purchase to keep flies out of your garbage like scented trash bags that repel flies. You can also try a more natural approach with vinegar or essential oils.
There are many scents that repel flies. Use the essential oil version of clove, peppermint, thyme, cinnamon or lemongrass to keep flies away.
Drain flies are fuzzy, like moths. Phorid flies have transparent wings.
While very similar, phorid flies have a “hunchback” shape to them while fruit flies do not.
Like most flies, sanitation is key. In the case of phorid flies, locate whatever decaying matter is sustaining them and eliminate it. This may mean cleaning out garbage cans or sanitizing your kitchen drain.