image of a blow fly

Bottle Fly Control: Protect Your Home


What Do Bottle Flies Look Like?
top view of bottle fly
Size: The bottle fly is a relatively stout insect that grows to around 1/2 an inch in length.

Color: The abdomen ranges in color from metallic green to blue, depending on the species, while the rest of the body tends to appear black in color with bristle-like hairs.

Characteristics: Larger than common houseflies, the bottle fly possesses large, red compound eyes and clear, brown-veined wings. In place of hindwings, the insect has structures called halteres that assist the fly with balance and tiny pairs of claws on each leg tip called pulvilli, which enable the pest to stick to surfaces.

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  • Bottle flies are also known as blow flies.
  • The insects are widely distributed throughout the United States and found all over the Mid-Atlantic region.
  • Both the green bottle fly and the blue bottle fly can be found in the area.
  • The bottle fly appears larger than the common house fly and typically prefers shade, which compels the pest to enter homes occasionally.
  • Interestingly, bottle flies serve an important purpose in the field of forensics, as the presence of bottle fly larvae in a decomposing body has been known to help scientists accurately figure out the time of death in homicide cases.


What Do Bottle Flies Eat?
Bottle flies feed primarily on carrion but may also consume living organisms with open wounds. Additionally, the insects will eat feces and other decaying matter such as garbage.


The life cycle of the bottle fly consists of four stages:

  • Egg
  • Larva
  • Pupa
  • Adult

Females may lay up to 3,000 eggs as many as 10 times in just a few weeks. The insects lay their eggs in cavities or crevices within a dead or dying organism. Larvae, or maggots emerge and begin to feed on the decomposing entity before pupating after about 10 days.

Pupation typically lasts from one to several weeks depending on the soil temperature with adult flies emerging and becoming sexually active within three to eight days after that. Larvae and pupae can survive the cold, but adults die in the winter.


  • Bottle flies typically appear soon after an organism dies. Spotting the familiar metallic-colored fly usually means that carrion may exist around the home.
  • Look for bottle flies breeding in garbage, animal feces, and spoiling meat.
  • Bottle fly larvae may be observed crawling around the soil of dead or decaying organisms in preparation for pupating.

Problems Caused by Bottle Flies

Many species of flies have been linked to food-borne diseases, and the bottle fly is no exception. Contamination readily occurs when the fly breeds and lays eggs in food and when emerging larvae feed.

Since the bottle fly typically feeds on garbage, feces and decaying meats, the transfer of diseases and other harmful bacteria regularly occurs when the insect lands on food preparation surfaces, exposed food items and utensils. The pests are known to carry the pathogens that cause:

  • Dysentery
  • Myiasis-borne infections
  • Salmonellosis
  • Paratuberculosis (in farm animals)

Signs of Infestation

The presence of bottle flies usually indicates a larger problem in the home. As the insects are known for feeding on detritus and decaying meat, homeowners experiencing a bottle fly infestation may also be dealing with some sort of carcass near or even in the home.

Rotting flesh of any kind remains a prime breeding ground for bottle flies and the diseases they carry. Spotting larvae in exposed meats typically indicates the presence of bottle flies, as well.

Prevention Tips

Screening potential entry points into the home is a viable way to prevent bottle flies from entering a structure, in addition to:

  • Waste removal: Proper maintenance and the removal of all garbage and animal feces
  • Proper food storage: Proper refrigeration of stored meats
  • Decaying matter: Any decaying animal organism found near homes should be properly removed in order to eliminate breeding grounds for the flies

Tips for Removal from Home

Completely removing a bottle fly infestation from the home may require more than just a flyswatter and chemical sprays. The presence of bottle flies usually indicates a larger problem of:

  • Rotting garbage
  • Decaying animal remains
  • Excessive animal feces on the property

As the bottle fly reproduces at a relatively quick rate, eliminating the incursion completely may require the services of a professional pest control specialist. A competent pest control professional maintains the knowledge, expertise and necessary certifications to fully eliminate severe infestations of bottle flies.

Learn more about Western’s comprehensive Home Pest Control Plans.

Call for service: (877) 250-3857