There are over 18,000 different species of flies in North America. 200 of these species thrive in human environments. The annoying buzzing and erratic flying are not the only reasons why flies are pests. Flies can also carry dangerous disease-causing organisms. The house fly alone has the potential to spread dysentery, anthrax and typhoid fever. Flies can be beneficial decomposers and pollinators, and sometimes fly larvae is even used to help heal flesh wounds because they eat decaying skin. These winged pests are also an important food source for some animals and insects. There are various ways flies may infiltrate your home from fruit flies carried in with groceries to cluster flies that will overwinter in large numbers in your wall or attic.
Not all flies bite, but there are many species that can. “Biting flies” have piercing mouthparts that they use to break the skin and release saliva that prevents your blood from clotting. These bites often result in painful and itchy welts. Certain species of biting flies can transmit diseases like bartonellosis, leishmaniasis and tularemia. Some people can also have allergic reactions to fly bites.
Usually it is pretty clear that you have a fly problem, you will see flies darting around your fluorescent lights and windows, and will hear that characteristic buzzing. You may notice little black marks on your light bulbs which are fly droppings. These droppings include a pheromone, a chemical signal, that lets other flies know that the area is a good place to hang out. You might also see what looks like little white worms in your trashcan or crawling in your house. These are fly larvae or maggots. Flies typically lay their eggs in a moist area where there is plenty of food for the larvae. When it is time to pupate, the larvae will move to a warm, dry area, like a crack or crevice in your house, in preparation for their next developmental stage. During the pupa stage, flies often form brown pods which they emerge from when they are adults. You may find these little pods in your house, which is another indicator that you have a fly problem.
Types of Flies
Flies have a single pair of pearly, translucent wings and large compound eyes. These insects usually have short antennae and mouthparts made for sponging or sucking food. The larvae are typically a dirty-white color and appear worm-like. Larvae are commonly referred to as “maggots”.
Flies In The House & The Yard
Habitat differs greatly depending on the type of fly. For instance, bluebottle flies will develop in carcasses or meat while house flies will feed on garbage or any uncovered food and will rest in the building’s protected nooks and crannies. Some flies even breed in dung. Many flies live in an aquatic environment during their younger developmental stages. In fact, mosquitoes, black flies, and deer flies live completely submerged in water before they become adults. Flies will eat a variety of food including the nectar of flowers and decaying organic matter. These insects are only able to eat liquid substances or food made up of tiny granules. During the feeding process, flies will actually regurgitate onto the food first and the enzymes in their vomit help breakdown the food so they can eat it. This is how flies can easily spread disease. Flies go through a complete metamorphosis going from egg to larva to pupa to adult. Females typically lay eggs on or near food source, so when the larvae hatch they will have plenty to eat. Fly development can take anywhere between 6 to 45 days, and even longer if conditions are not ideal. Some fly species are active during the day while others prefer dawn or dusk. Many kinds of flies are attracted to light and you may see them walking on window glass or flying around lamps.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you keep flies from getting in your house?
There are various ways you can prevent flies from finding their way into your home. The most important action you can take is to practice good sanitation in and around your home. Make sure trashcans are routinely cleaned and trash is kept in tightly sealed containers like a lidded garbage receptacle. Empty and clean dumpsters regularly and store them away from the building. It is also helpful to eliminate areas of excess moisture in and around your home as these are the places where flies like to breed. Keep windows, doors and vents closed as often as you can. Check to make sure all screen doors and window screens do not have any tears that flies can get through.
Benefits of Professional Fly Pest Control
Flies can carry pathogens for dangerous diseases and pose a risk to you and your family. These pests can quickly get out of hand because of their short breeding cycles. Fly infestations present a unique challenge because the breeding site must be completely eliminated for the problem to be resolved. This can be difficult because many times the breeding site is far from where the flies are causing problems. A pest management professional will identify species and breeding site of the flies and will eliminate both the larvae and adults.