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How To Control House Flies

If there is one pest that is the most universally hated in all parts of the world, it’s the common house fly. These annoying buzzing pests can be found in virtually any location in the world and are tough to get rid of once they have entered into a home. It’s baffling to homeowners that flies basically appear from out of nowhere when there is food laying around either inside or outside.

House flies are usually gray and black and are between 4 to 7.5 mm long with four dark stripes on the thorax. The typical house fly can live anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks depending on climate and food supply. House flies can also fly long distances, up to 20 miles at a time.

The house fly has an odd method of eating which involves regurgitating liquid from the stomach to dissolve food, then use their sponging mouthparts to suck it up. Since they only have two wings they land frequently and when they do, they leave fecal spots. These specks often contain pathogens that can cause disease in humans and animals.

Solution Pest and Lawn offers the largest selection of house fly control products for your home, office or commercial facility. Whether you are in need of large scale recommendations and procedures, to small personal suggestions we can help guide you step-by-step through the process to ensure those flies are properly exterminated by you.

Follow these steps and you will be free from the annoyance of house flies. Browse our recommended house fly control products below. If you have any questions or concerns regarding making an order or would like live DIY advice from trained pest control experts, give us a call, shoot us an email or live chat with us online. We’ll be happy to help out.

How to Get Rid of House Flies: 4 Step Solution

To successfully remove house fly infestations from your home, it usually requires a combination of indoor and outdoor treatment measures. This may be an especially vital approach if you live close to bodies of water, have pets who leave feces in the yard or live close to nearby trash bins or dumpsters that are not cleanly managed. While completely eliminating house flies on your property may not be realistic, you can drastically reduce the population via the steps we have provided below:


Step 1: Identification is an important initial part of controlling the house fly. You need to be sure that you are in fact dealing with a house fly and not some other type of flying pest. From afar, it will be hard to tell what flying insect you have but upon closer observation of its appearance and seeing where the pest is spending it's time will help you in determining what fly species it may be.  House flies are usually between 1/16-inch to 1/2-inch long. They are dark with 4 black, lengthwise stripes on the thorax.


Step 2: Next, you should do a detailed inspection. Observe where the flies are gathered and what they are drawn toward. Houseflies don't just show up for no reason, they are attracted to a food or breeding source. Part of inspection is also preliminary sanitation which is a vital part of getting rid of these pesky house flies is performing a detailed sanitation of your home. Doing so will eliminate the breeding and food sources within the home that attracted house flies in the first place.  This usually may be garbage that hasn’t been thrown away, rotting or spoiled food fin the home or any some other unsanitary item that is luring house flies. By simply removing the foul item from the home and sanitizing your living space, house flies will have no reason to stick around.


Step 3:  Control. There are a variety of products you can use to eliminate house flies. For the quickest results, we recommend using a combination of fly lights (like Mantis Fly Lights), glue traps (like Musca-Stik) and fly insecticides. Traps and lights work well since house flies are a flying insect and are constantly on the move so it’s hard to get a contact kill. The traps we carry contain pheromones which will lure the insect towards it and once caught in the glue they can be easily disposed of.  You can also use a general aerosol insecticide spray like Pyrid Aerosol . This spray is good to use as a space spray and will kill flies on contact. If you do use spray indoors, depending on the type you may be required to vacate the room after treatment and ventilate the area before reentering.  What you choose depends on your personal preference and other circumstances of your living space. You can, of course, contact us if you want more detailed advice or recommendations.


Step 4: Prevention. Once the flies have been eliminated from your home, your work isn’t finished yet, in fact this step is an ongoing process. It takes diligent and consistent work to keep house flies away from your home. This means cleaning up regularly, not letting foods spoil, discarding garbage from your home and changing garbage bags regularly along with exclusion measures such as sealing gaps and holes and any other points of entry into the home with caulk.


SEE ALSO: Stages of a Housefly Lifespan - All You Need To Know

Housefly FAQ - All You Need To Know About House Flies

How does a house fly look?

The average housefly has a dark or gray colored body with black vertical lines on their thorax and two goldish to silver stripes on their on their face which big buggy darkish red eyes. Adults can range between 1/8th and 1/4 of an inch in length. In their larvae stage, they are squiggly slimy cream colored maggots with a pointed head. In their pupal stage they are dark brown, round, and taper from front to back.

Where are house flies typically found?

Much like their name implies, house flies are most often found around human dwellings, finding their way in through the smallest of nooks and crannies while in search of water and something to eat. They usually slip inside of homes the rips on screen doors, gaps found around windows and doors as well as cracks found in the foundation of your home.House flies don’t just show up because they like to hang around your home, something is attracting them to your home in the first place. Usually this can be any one of the following: garbage, animal droppings, rotting or decomposed organic matter or leaky plumbing pipes.

What do house flies like to eat?

While house flies do like some of the same foods we eat, which can is evident when they are flying around when you’re trying to enjoy a meal, their idea of food would be repulsive to us. A house fly can feed on food they find in our pantries and kitchens, or can eat absolute filth like fecal matter, rotting flesh and garbage. House flies don’t having biting mouthparts, so to eat, they disgustingly regurgitate on what they want to consume to liquify it, then suck up the food like a straw.

What can I do to get rid of house flies from my house?

House flies are a frustrating issue for homeowners. Not only is it greatly irritating to have them flying around your home, but they are also very hazardous to your health because they are unsanitary and bring the risk of diseases which can be spread to you and your family when they land on food and where food is prepared. Aside from using professional quality insecticides and traps designed to target and get rid of house flies, below is a list of some additional things you can do to lessen or prevent a house fly infestation in your home.

* Keep your home neat and tidy. Wipe away crumbs and spills immediately.

* Keep your garbage cans sealed with a tight fitting lid, and take out the trash daily; don’t let the trash sit for days.

* Put screens on windows and doors and seal gaps in your home’s foundation as well as caulk gaps found around windows and doors to exclude houseflies from venturing indoors.

* Keep food in sealed containers or in the refrigerator, not out on counters or tables.


READ MORE: House Flies: How Long Does It Live and How Does That Impact You?

Learn more about the Houseflyhouse fly

The common housefly, as its name implies, plagues the household of people all around the world. It cannot bite or sting, but its physical structure and feeding habits make it a carrier of disease and death.


The housefly spreads the organisms that cause typhoid, fever, dysentery, tuberculosis, leprosy, hookworm, cholera, diarrhea and numerous other painful diseases and parasites that inflicts suffering and death upon mankind.


If the housefly were not such a restless explorer of everything in sight, it would not be such a dangerous pest but it is equally at home as it visits back and forth between surroundings where there is food and places of filth.


Housefly behaviors

Before a housefly arrives in your kitchen, they flies may visit along the way such places as an unsanitary dump, a decaying animal carcass or some other dirty place where disease and germs thrive.


Tests have proven that flies from a dump are capable of flying as far as twenty miles away to perhaps a candle on a baby’s birthday cake. While it may be amusing to see a child swatting at a fly, these germ laden house flies may bring the unwanted gift of a bad tummy ache.


The two main factors which makes a house fly such a menace to human health are its structural characteristics and its rapid rate of reproduction.


housefly on wood surfaceHousefly Body Structure

A housefly is a true insect which belongs to the the diptera order which means “two wings”. It’s two transparent wings fall back to give it a triangular appearance. When not flying, bristle like hairs cover parts of the fly’s body. These hairs are one of the means by which the fly picks up and transports millions of disease germs as it visits sources of contamination.


The house fly has three distinct body parts: a head, a thorax and an abdomen. The head bares its eyes, antenna and mouth parts or proboscis. The surface of each of the large compound eyes is divided into approximately four thousand facets or individual lenses. The eyes of the male housefly are spaced closer together than those of the female.


Between its compound eyes, the housefly has three ocelli or simply eyes but in spite of this elaborate equipment, the housefly depends mainly on its highly sensitive antennae in detecting odors which are attractive to it.


The interesting feeding organ or proboscis can be retracted almost completely into the head when not extended for feeding. The end of the proboscis is a spongy, heart-shaped structure composed of two lips which the fly presses against any substance upon which it desires to feed.


Disease, germs and parasites may stick to the lips of the fly and be carried to the next place the fly visits and is deposited as the fly tastes or feeds on the new substance.


The wings and legs of the fly located on the thorax provide excellent movement for the fly as it explores. Both wings and legs in coming in contact with filth become important vectors in the disease spreading activity of the fly.


Each of the fly’s feet is equipped with a pair of claws which are used for clinging to rough surfaces. Some segments of the legs and feet are sensitive to taste. On each foot, we see a light colored structure called the pulvilli which help the house fly to stick to smooth surfaces. Thus, the housefly can walk upside down the on ceiling or climb walls with ease.


This feature, although helpful to the fly, makes the fly a more dangerous transmitter of disease since its sticky feet pick up germs and parasites and distributes them everywhere the fly walks.


The housefly’s respiratory and digestive systems extend through the thorax and the abdomen. The abdomen also encloses the reproductive system. Breathing is accomplished through holes or pores called spiracles in the body wall. The feeding and digestive systems of the fly add still another manner in which the fly spreads disease.


The housefly’s Eating Habits

When necessary the fly pumps saliva from its salivary glands onto its food to help soften it. Often times it also regurgitates partially digested food from its crop to help liquify food it wishes to eat.


The proboscis then sucks up the good, germs included, into the esophagus. The proventriculus directs the flow of food into the crop. Suppose the fly were to land next to your ice cream sundae, the filthy germ-infested food in the fly would be regurgitated. The fly’s feet would add more contamination.


The house fly has been known to carry over 6 and a half million bacteria at one time. It becomes obvious why houseflies are such a health menace. As digestion is completed, the waste products are expelled through the digestive tract, still laden with the germs or parasites swallowed by the fly.  


The familiar fly specks you may see around a housefly infestation are the regurgitation and feces of flies. Many of them may be deposited close together on surfaces frequently visited by flies.


Housefly Reproductionhousefly infestation on screen

Houseflies lay their eggs anywhere they find the kind the kind of food on which the fly larvae can feed. When they hatch, an uncovered dirty garbage can is an open invitation to a breeding fly. Fly larvae or maggots are a common sight in an unkempt garbage can.


Accumulations of animal feces are also  an ideal breeding place for flies. Thousands of housefly eggs may be laid in a manure pile. Within a few hours after the manure is dumped, you see masses of tiny white fly eggs. The heat given off by the decaying waste helps to incubate the eggs.


The female fly can lay an average of 100 to 150 eggs at a time and may lay up to seven batches of eggs in an average lifetime of two or three weeks. The pearly white eggs are so tiny, that 150 of them can rest on the point of a pencil.


In warm weather, the eggs usually hatch. Within 8 to 24 hours, a slit appears on one end of the egg and tiny white legless larvae or maggots wriggle out of the egg case. The maggots immediately begin feeding on the decaying food matter in which they find themselves. Within an average of 5 to 14 days in warmer climates, they will be full grown larvae.


While they are growing, they go through distinct larval stages called instars. At the end of each the first two stages or instars, the maggot molts its skin. When ready to molt, the old skin breaks open at the head or pointed end and slips off as the maggot crawls away. The maggot has hook-shaped mouthparts for feeding and to help it crawl.


The maggot then pupates and in a span of 5 days comes out as a fully grown adult housefly, ready to carry on the spread of filth and disease.


Better Safe Than Sorry: Equip Yourself With Protective Safety Equipment Before Spraying


Housefly Management Options

While flies do have many predators such as the spider and frog, there are not enough natural means of controlling the housefly when they’ve ventured into the home, so we have to take it upon ourselves to control this annoying enemy.


Swatting flies one by one while millions of new house flies are hatching will never begin to solve the housefly problem.


Insecticide sprays are a great help in killing flies but they are best used as part of a solid house fly control program. The only sure cure for a housefly infestation will not be effective without a thorough sanitation process. No amount of insecticide will eliminate the housefly if sanitation measures are in place and are consistent.


Maintaining a high standard of cleanliness is vital to overcome a plague of houseflies. For a more detailed guide on how to approach fly control, please visit our DIY fly control page.


Additional Resources


house fly - Musca domestica Linnaeus

House Flies — Department of Entomology — Penn State University



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