Adult houseflies are approximately 1/8-1/4” long, females usually being larger than the males with wider set eyes. They are dark gray in colour with 2 velvety stripes, silver above and gold below. Their thorax has four narrow black stripes. House flies are general feeders, attracted to a wide variety of substances from excrement to human foods. These flies have been shown to harbour over 100 different kinds of disease causing pathogens, many of which are associated with filth. These include typhoid fever, cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, tuberculosis, anthrax, polio and others. They have shown to be disease pathogen transmitters via their vomit, feces, and contaminated external body parts.
Most house flies will stay within 1-2 miles of their hatching site, if food is sufficient. Females seek warm moist material with sufficient food for larval development for egg laying purposes. During the day, house flies tend to rest less than 5 feet from the ground on walls, floors, and various objects. At night they rest primarily above 5 feet near their daytime food sources.
House fly control is a 5 step process:
- IDENTIFICATION – Be sure the fly IS a house fly!
- INSPECTION – If possible, locate the breeding and larval development sites.
- SANITATION – This involves the removal or elimination of the larval developmental sites. This may include emptying and cleaning garbage receptacles. Sanitation should eliminate the bulk of the fly problem so that mechanical and insecticidal measures will be more effective.
- MECHANICAL – Have garbage receptacles with tight fitting closures, tight fitting doors and windows, self closing doors, seal all holes in structure, all vents securely screened. Use insect light traps, Flylight Jr, Goldsticks etc. to trap flies indoors. Fly traps outdoors, work very well.
- INSECTICIDES – Insecticide application involves using appropriately labelled insecticides to vertical walls adjacent to the dumpsters and other breeding sites, as well as the use of fly baits near adult feeding sources. Indoors the use of automatic dispensers may be useful to knock down the flies.