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House Fly (Musca Domestica)

Facts, Identification & Control

House flies are the most common fly and can practically be found all over the world.

Where do they live?

House flies are typically found almost anywhere, particularly in places inhabited by humans. The flies are inactive at night. Ceilings, beams, overhead wires within buildings, trees, and shrubs, various kinds of outdoor wires, and grasses are reported as overnight resting sites. House flies eat sugary liquids and different kinds of organic waste and so they favour dung heaps, garbage cans, roadkill, rotted fruits and vegetables.

How do they live?

The house fly has 4 life stages: egg, larva (or maggot), pupa and adult and can complete its life cycle in 7 to 10 days.

Each female fly can lay up to 500 eggs. Maggots immediately begin feeding on and developing in the material in which the egg was laid.

The adult house fly is 6mm to 7mm long, with the female usually larger than the male. Flies have large compound eyes and three simple eyes. The female has a relatively wide space between the eyes (in males, the eyes almost touch).

Adults usually live 15 to 25 days, but may live up to 2 months. Longevity is enhanced by availability of suitable food, especially sugar.

How do they affect us?

Surprisingly, house flies can be beneficial since they accelerate recycling processes by decomposing organic waste.

However, the common house fly has served as an ideal host for many types of bacteria and is a proven carrier of such germs as gangrene, typhoid, leprosy, tuberculosis, amoebic dysentery, just to name a few. These pathogens are picked up by flies from garbage and sewage.

How do we control them?

Good sanitation is the basic step in any fly management program. Food and materials on which the flies can lay eggs must be removed or destroyed. Garbage cans and dumpsters should have tight-fitting lids and be cleaned regularly. Windows or doors around homes and businesses should be screened and trash containers should be covered to prevent the flies from entering.