Pest Library - Flies


FlyHere are some other things you should know about flies:

  • The life expectancy of a fly is eight days to two months.
  • Flies belong to the Order Diptera. There are 16,000 species of flies in North America.
  • Flies plague every part of the world except the polar ice caps.
  • One pair of flies can produce more than one million offspring in as little as six to eight weeks.
  • As many as 33 million microorganisms may flourish in a single fly's gut, while a half-billion more swarm over its body and legs.
  • Flies spread diseases readily because they move quickly from rotting, disease-laden garbage to exposed foods and utensils.
  • A fly deposits thousands of bacteria each time it lands. This capablitly is due, in part, to the fact that house flies are quite setaceous or "hairy”.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture sources reveal that flies contaminate or destroy $10 billion of agricultural products.
  • For every fly seen, there are an estimated 19 more hidden from view. This means humans don't even see 95 percent of flies present at an infestation.

House Fly


Usually gray, less than 1/4-inch long with four black stripes on the thorax.



They prefer corners and edges or thin objects to rest on. Indoors, they rest on floors, walls and ceilings during the day. Outdoors, they will rest on plants, the ground, fence wires, garbage cans, etc. Night resting places are usually near sources of food and 5 to 15 feet off the ground.



Wide variety of food, including human food, animal food and carcasses, garbage and excrement.



House fly eggs are laid in almost any warm, moist material that will supply suitable food for the larvae. The female begins laying eggs a few days after hatching, laying a total of five to six batches of 75 to 100 eggs. In warm weather, eggs hatch in 12-24 hours.



More than 100 pathogens associated with the house fly may cause disease in humans and animals, including: typhoid, cholera, bacillary dysentery and infantile diarrhea.


Preventive Measures

  • Sanitation is the most effective and important step in controlling flies. All outside trash areas must be kept clean. Garbage should be drained and wrapped in plastic bags before being placed in trash receptacles or dumpsters outdoors. By placing garbage in bags, odors will be reduced, therefore attracting fewer egg-laying flies. (Reduce attractive odors by routinely scraping out and thoroughly cleaning food residues from garbage containers.)
  • Use garbage cans with tight fitting lids lined inside with plastic bags. Locate the garbage cans or trash receptacles as far away from the house or building as possible to reduce nuisance flies nearby. Dispose of garbage at least twice weekly at a regular landfill, by incineration or burying in the soil, if local health regulations permit.
  • Eliminate all potential breeding materials such as rotting straw or mulch, manure, garbage and animal excrement. Avoid damp pet foods left outdoors for several days. Eliminate carcasses of dead animals and birds. Any potential breeding material should be spread out thinly in the field and allowed to dry to prevent fly development.
  • Dispose of piles of old, wet, lawn clippings, leaves, manure stacks, old wet hay or straw bales and other such debris. Waste piles can be covered with black plastic which will heat the organic matter, destroying fly development.

Fruit Fly


Adults are about 1/8-inch long, have red eyes and a tan thorax. The abdomen is black on top, gray underneath.


Adults are strong fliers and have been known to travel as far as 6 1/2 miles within a 24-hour period. Populations tend to build during the summer, becoming very abundant at harvest time. Indoors, drosophila are frequently active at all times of the year.


Ripened fruit and vegetables. Fermenting products.


Larvae develop in moist areas where organic material and standing water are present. The entire life cycle lasts 25 days or more depending on the environmental conditions and the availability of food.


Drains should be the initial inspection site when encountering an infestation. The adults are often seen flying in areas located away from the source of infestation.


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