House Flies


  • Latin Name: Musca domestica
  • Size: ¼”
  • Color: House flies are gray with four black stripes.
  • Shape: Oval, wings, small hairs
  • Found in: All over the United States.
  • Overview: The house fly is the most common fly found in homes. These flies are always found near people or animals.

Origin: House flies originated in Asia, but are currently found all over the world.
Climate: House flies are found throughout the United States and can survive in varying climates. Typically, they prefer mild temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. They live in the city and the country.
Favorite Foods: House flies are on a liquid diet. They are able to turn some solids into liquids and are known to rummage in the garbage and animal manure to find a meal.
Family: It takes as little as 10 days for a house fly to develop from an egg to an adult. The eggs hatch within 24 hours. A female will lay her white eggs on any moist surface that will provide food for her cream colored larvae. A house fly may place her eggs in the garbage or in animal feces.  She will deposit up to 150 eggs at one time and will reproduce six times during her lifetime. The larvae will molt three times before crawling to a dry place to enter the pupal stage. The pupal case will change from a light yellow color to red then black as the fly matures. An adult house fly will live about a month. Without food, a house fly can only survive a couple of days.
Unique Facts: The hairs on a house fly are used for them to taste. Females are larger than males and have eyes that are further apart. The house fly looks similar to the stable fly. The larvae of a house fly are commonly called maggots. House flies like to sit on ledges or wire.
Signs of a problem: Large numbers of black flies in your house signal a problem. The bigger issue is where the adult females decide to lay their eggs.
Do they attack humans? House flies do not bite, but they are annoying and carry disease. Salmonella is commonly carried by house flies in the United States and can cause food poisoning. House flies all over the world may carry over 50 different types of disease including dysentery, anthrax, and leprosy. Flies excrete when they land on surfaces easily transporting the disease from one place to another. Always wash fresh fruits and vegetables before eating.
Stopping an infestation: The easiest way to deter house flies is to make sure all of your trash containers have lids. If you participate in composting, do this in an area as far away from your house as possible. Confirm your window screens do not have any holes. A variety of different cultural, chemical and biological  treatments can be used to terminate the house fly eggs. A fly swatter should be enough for the adults or you could set up fly traps. If you are setting up fly traps, be sure to change them often as dead flies will attract other types of insects.

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