- Color: adults – dull gray with four dark stripes on the back of the thorax (segments right behind the head with legs and wings attached); larvae (maggots) – creamy white.
- Size: adults – 1/8 to 1/4 inch long; larvae (maggots) – 1/4 to 3/8 inch long.
- Sponging mouthparts.
- Larvae or maggots are spindle-shaped; have dark mouth hooks at the head end and breathing slits that look like a “wavy W” at the larger round tail end.
House Fly Habits:
- Females lay their eggs singly but in clusters of 75 to 150 eggs in moist, rotting, fermenting, organic matter including animal manure, accumulated grass clippings, garbage, spilled animal feeds, and soil contaminated with any of the above items.
- Females lay more than 500 eggs within their lifetime.
- Developmental time (egg to adult): under optimum conditions, less than seven days.
- Adult flies might migrate to uninfested areas up to 20 miles away, but most stay within one or two miles of the breeding site.
- Adult house flies have a broad appetite and feed on foods ranging from excrement to human food; they feed on liquids but can eat some solid food by liquefying it with regurgitated digestive tract fluids.
- During the day house flies rest less than five feet above the ground but at night they rest above this height.
Damage From House Flies:
- House flies are associated with a number of filth-related diseases, and, thus, are a significant health concern.
- Resting sites – black to brown fly specks.
- Larval development sites – typically any type of decaying organic matter.
- Adult flies and larvae (maggots).
How to Control and Kill House Flies:
- Sanitation, or source reduction, is the most important step in house fly control because it eliminates larval breeding sites. Trash cans should be emptied and cleaned at least weekly in order to disrupt the developmental cycle. In areas such as stables, barns, pet kennels and poultry houses, animal feces must be spread out to dry or disposed of weekly.
- Insect-proof garbage containers, self-closing doors, screening, and caulking to prevent fly entry should be used.
- Operating insect light traps indoors and at night is effective in controlling adult flies inside or entering the structure.
- Sticky traps and other devices are also available to reduce adult fly populations indoors and out.