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Scientific Name: Diptera
Physical Attributes: Flies are an extremely light winged pests. Flies feature three pairs of legs, each which contains two claws.
Adult Size: 5 to 7 mm long, 12 mm or more wide
Habitat: Varies depending on the species, but includes vegetation, water and dead or decaying animals.
Lifespan: As an adult, three weeks to three months
Found In: Throughout the world
Flies are one of the most common types of pests found throughout the globe. In fact, they may be one of the most successful types of insects ever to exist. Flies are found everywhere humans are, and many exist in a quasi-symbiotic relationship with the human settlements around them.
There are estimated to be over 240,000 species of the order Diptera, though only approximately half have been described. Flies are an evolutionarily old species, having changed relatively little in over 200 million years. The wide variety of flies extant today provide valuable ecological impact in nature, including as food for a huge variety of other insects, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and even some plants.
There are many types of flies found in the world, including thousands of species present in the United States alone. The life cycle of these pests begins as an egg. Different types of flies lay eggs in various places. Some species, such as the black fly, lay their eggs in water while others will deposit eggs in different types of decaying organic matter.
Once eggs hatch, they go through several larval stages, during which they appear as maggots, constantly feeding and growing. Once the maggots are large enough, its skin darkens and hardens, entering them into the pupa stage. During this point they will develop all of the features of a full grown fly. Once development has completed the fly emerges. This is done using a fluid-filled pouch that’s found on top of the fly’s head, this fluid is used to break through the hard-casing of the pupa. Due to their short life span, flies begin mating as soon as they arise from the pupa. As many as 900 eggs can be laid during the weeks that make up the adult fly’s life.
In homes, flies are primarily a nuisance. They do not damage homes, nor do they attack plants the way many other pests will. The biggest danger from flies comes in the form of disease transmission. Flies feed on decaying matter, and often pick up bacteria, viruses, and fungi as they feed. They then land on your food, which could then be contaminated with any number of disease-causing agents. As a result, control of flies is important.
Flies tend not to infest like other pests, but their control can still be difficult, and some species do overwinter in attics and crawlspaces. Some species tend to bite as well, and while they are not venomous, many people have reactions to their bites.
More than 16,000 species of flies are found throughout North America. Specific types of flies are found in certain areas, but certain varieties of flies present more problems to homeowners than others. Some of the flies that are spotted most commonly in and around American homes include: