House Flies in NJ, NYC, and Eastern PA

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House Fly Control in New Jersey, New York City, Philadelphia, Connecticut, and Delaware

Appearance

What Do House Flies Look Like?
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Size: As adults, house flies typically range from 1/4 to 1/2 inches (6-13 mm) in length, with females being larger in size than males. House fly larvae, also known as maggots, are 1/4 to 3/8 inches (6-9.5 mm) long just prior to pupating.

Color: Adult house flies appear dull gray in color, while larvae are whitish or cream-colored with a greasy sheen.

Characteristics: Fully grown house flies boast a pair of velvety stripes on their faces. The upper stripe appears silver in color and the lower one is gold. Adults also feature a single pair of wings and four dark stripes that run lengthwise down the thorax, while the sides of the abdomen are usually pale and yellowish-white. The mouthparts of the house fly work like a sponge and soak up liquids, as the insect cannot bite or chew. During the larval stage of the life cycle, house flies are eyeless, legless maggots with worm-like bodies that taper from the rear to the front.

Facts

  • Strongly associated with humans, the house fly represents the most common fly species encountered in homes and one of the most prevalent types of insect pests in the world.
  • House flies are also generally categorized as filth flies because they breed in unsanitary environments and regularly feed on decaying matter, such as excrement.
  • Due to their unhygienic tendencies, the pests are capable of carrying over 100 different pathogens, which they can transfer to food, household surfaces, and, ultimately, humans.

Food

What Do House Flies Eat?
Restricted to a liquid diet, house flies nevertheless feed on everything from excrement to human foods. The diet of the house fly prominently includes moist decaying matter, such as:

  • Garbage
  • Rotten fruits and vegetables
  • Sewage

The pests can also feed on solid foods by regurgitating saliva and liquefying the food source before consuming it.

Biology

House fly larvae hatch from eggs that adult females deposit in moist decaying matter. Common breeding sites include:

  • Horse and cow manure
  • Human excrement
  • Decomposing vegetable waste
  • Dumpsters and trash receptacles
  • Accumulations of household garbage

The typical female house fly lays her eggs individually or in bunches of 20 to 50 and produces between 350 and 900 offspring over the course of her lifetime.

Maggots hatch from the eggs in a mere 8 to 20 hours, feed on the decaying matter in which the eggs were laid, and complete three larval molts, called instars, before pupating.

House flies spend 3 to 7 days in the larval stage of the life cycle, as long as the temperature remains between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and then travel up to 150 feet to find a cool, dry place to pupate.

Depending on the temperature and humidity of the surrounding environment, pupation can take anywhere from a few days to a month to complete.

Upon completion, house flies emerge as fully mature adults and typically live for 15 to 25 days. In the right conditions, the pests can develop from eggs to adults in as little as a week.

Detection

  • Look for adult house flies around trash cans and other sites containing decaying matter.
  • May notice fly specks, or fecal spots, on household surfaces.
  • When resting on walls, house flies tend to remain within five feet of the ground during the day and climb to higher positions at night.

Problems Caused by House Flies

Like other species of filth flies, the house fly breeds in and feeds on decaying matter, such as excrement, and regularly comes into contact with disease-causing microorganisms as a result.

Problems arise when house flies transfer the pathogens to food items and household surfaces, thereby putting humans at risk of contracting a variety of potentially serious diseases.

The pests defecate and regurgitate whenever they land on a surface and are capable of carrying over 100 different pathogens, including:

  • Cholera
  • Dysentery
  • Typhoid fever
  • Tuberculosis
  • Salmonella

Signs of Infestation

  • Adults: The mere presence of adult house flies often implies that an infestation is nearby, as the insects generally remain within a mile of their birthplace.
  • Feces: House flies also leave tiny fecal spots called fly specks on surfaces. In fact, determining the severity of a house fly infestation can be accomplished by strategically placing white spot cards around the home and counting the number of fly specks that appear after a week or so.
  • Fly specks: Fifty or more fly specks generally signals the need to implement proper control measures, while anything over a hundred specks means that a serious infestations exists nearby. This test method tends to be unnecessary, however, as most homeowners can recognize a house fly infestation through regular observation.

Prevention Tips

  • Cleanliness: The most effective ways to prevent a house fly infestation involve maintaining a sanitary home environment and barring the pests from entering in the first place.
  • Sanitation: Effective sanitation entails removing spoiled food and garbage from the home, regularly cleaning and covering trash cans and recycling bins, and preventing organic matter, such as grass clippings, manure, and weed and compost piles, from accumulating in the yard and decaying.
  • Exclusion: Similarly, excluding house flies from the home also requires the implementation of preemptive measures, such as checking and tightening window screens, keeping doors closed, and caulking or plugging any openings through which the pests could enter.
  • Pesticides: Chemical methods, while available, typically fail to control house flies long-term, as the insects can become resistant to pesticides.

Tips for Removal from Home

  • Traps: Sticky traps, live-capture traps, and insect light traps may help alleviate a house fly infestation.
  • IPM plan: An integrated pest management plan (IPM) based on sanitation and exclusion represents the best approach to take when attempting to control and eradicate an infestation of house flies.

For assistance in developing and implementing an IPM for house fly removal, contact a local pest control professional.

Contact the Professionals
A professional pest control specialist can also identify any underlying problems contributing to the current infestation and provide further information on how to avoid future issues.

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

Call for service: (877) 250-3857