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House Fly

Danger/Damage

The House fly lives in close association with humans. Not only are they a nuisance, but due to their habits of where they live and breed, they are excellent vectors of diseases causing organisms such as typhoid, cholera, pinworm, paratyphoid, roundworm, and tapeworms. Due to the filth in which these flies are associated with, they can easily spread these disease-causing organisms from garbage, sewage and other sources of filth and then transferred their body parts and mouthparts. .


Did you know?

House flies have mouthparts which allow them to only ingest liquid materials. For a house fly to consume solid food material, they must liquefy the food first by regurgitating saliva onto the food material and then drawing the liquid back up with their sponging mouthparts.

Attracted to buildings by air currents and odours, house flies will feed on any suitable food source, be it excrement or human foods. This proclivity for a wide range of foods coupled with their habit of regurgitating on potential feeding sites is why these flies are particularly prolific disease spreaders.


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House flies measure between 4 mm to 7.5 mm, with females usually larger than males. House flies have bulbous, reddish-eyes, sponge-like mouths and are often gray to black, with four vertical stripes along their backs. Additionally sporting two velvety stripes on their faces, both silver above and gold below.

House fly eggs of white and approximately 1.2 mm in length. The eggs hatch into cream-colored larvae with a greasy appearance. When entering the pupal stage, maggots develop dark, hard outer shells, legs, and wings, ultimately emerging as full-grown adult flies.


House flies are commonly found around human habitation, be it urban or rural areas. Their larvae grow best in human garbage, decaying foods, and feces. They are most likely to frequent manure heaps, garbage cans, pet waste and roadkill and have been known to travel up to 30km in search of food sources.


House flies like to lay their eggs in warm materials such as manure piles or decaying foods. They can go through a complete metamorphosis (egg, larvae (maggot), pupae, adult) in as little as six days if conditions are favourable.

The female house fly can lay anywhere from 350 to 900 eggs in her lifetime. Eggs hatch 8-20 hours after being laid and as many as 10-12 generations can be born in one summer.

House flies usually live 15-25 days, preferring an ideal temperature of 28°C.


  1. House flies do not have teeth and can only feed on liquids.
  2. House flies use their spongy mouthparts to liquefy solid foods by spitting or regurgitating saliva.
  3. House flies tongues are shaped like straws to suck up food.
  4. House flies are attracted to pet waste and other excrement because of its strong odour.

How do l recognize a house fly?

House flies measure between 4 mm to 7.5 mm, with females larger than males. They have bulbous, reddish-eyes, sponge-like mouths and are gray to black with four dark stripes on their upper body.

Where am I most likely to find house flies?

House flies are most active during the day, often seen resting on manure, garbage, grass clippings, weed piles, or other decaying organic matter that may accumulate around your home.

What do house flies eat?

House flies are attracted to the smell of food or decaying matter. They have been known to feed on milk, sugar, blood, feces, and rotting foods like fruits and vegetables. House flies also drink water.

Are house flies hazardous to humans?

Yes. House flies are known to carry over 100 different pathogenic organisms. They are attracted to decaying matter and can transmit disease through their feces, excretes, body hairs or even the sticky pads found on the bottom of their feet.

How do house flies behave?

House flies are active during the day during the hottest and driest part of the day, between 2 and 4 pm. Adults are only active around artificial light at night.

House flies can fly in short distances at a speed of up to 24km per hour. They can beat their wings up to 1,000 times per minute. This is what makes a buzzing sound when they are flying.

Do house flies have any predators?

Yes, house flies can be eaten by beetles and mites.

How do I prevent house flies?

  1. Keep kitchen trash in sealed containers and the containers as clean as possible.
  2. Dispose of waste regularly and keep away from your home.
  3. Eliminate sources of moisture.
  4. Keep counters and surfaces clean.
  5. Keep doors, windows and vents closed when possible.
  6. Seal potential entryways, repairing any rips or tears in screens.

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