Home / Pest Library / Flies / Houseflies


  • Colour Light grey
  • Size From 4 mm to 7.5 mm long
  • Description Have four black, longitudinal stripes on the thorax, and large, bulbous, multifaceted eyes. Their abdomen is yellow and they have two transparent wings.
  • Notes Larvae are tiny, whitish, legless maggots and can grow up to 12 mm long.

How to prevent Houseflies from invading

Clean all drains and sink areas, Replace broken windows and screens, Create an air current to prevent flies from landing, Close the lids on all garbage and waste containers, Practice good sanitation and garbage/waste management

Habitat, Diet, and Life Cycle


Houseflies do not bite. Instead of a typical mouth opening they have a proboscis which is used to suck up liquids. In order to eat, the housefly will repeatedly eject its own saliva onto the solid matter and then suck up the resulting mixture. As you can imagine, this is an extremely unhygienic process.

There is evidence to suggest that houseflies have evolved to live with humans and even followed us on our migrations across continents. In the modern day, there is a seemingly endless list of places where you can expect to find these pests; near dumpsters, dishwashers, garbage and refuse, food preparation areas, elevator pits, sewer drains, food storage areas, recycling areas, the spaces between appliances and equipment, and so on…

Life Cycle

Musca domestica, the common house fly, like other members of true flies, goes through complete metamorphosis with four distinct stages: eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults.

Over a period of three to four days, females may lay up to 500 eggs in batches on the surface of a suitable food material such as garbage, animal carcasses, or feces. The eggs hatch within 12 hours into tiny, whitish, legless larvae also referred to as maggots, and they can grow up to 12 mm long. The larvae go through three larval instars before becoming pupae. Early stages of house fly larvae typically abhor light and may remain difficult to detect. At a later stage, the larvae leave the breeding source and wander around looking for dry, quiet sites to pupate in. The pupae may vary in colour from yellow, brown, red, or black and undergo this developmental stage for about six days before becoming adults.

The duration of the life cycle depends on environmental conditions such as humidity and temperature. Under normal conditions, it takes about 7 to 10 days for a house fly to complete its life cycle from egg to adult. A single female may produce as many as 12 generations per summer. An adult house fly may live between 15 and 30 days after emerging from pupa and reach sexual maturity by the end of the first day of life. Read more info about How Long House Flies Live.

Commonly Asked Questions

How worried should I be about houseflies?

House flies cannot bite or chew, so in order to feed, a housefly will repeatedly eject its own saliva onto food and then suck up the digested and liquified resulting mixture. This is an extremely unhygienic process, leaving behind bacteria and organisms that were once inside the fly.

As well, when a house fly walks across decaying organic matter and animal feces, it picks up pathogens on its body hair and the sticky pads on its feet. When they enter food handling areas, they unwittingly spread these microorganisms to your food, potentially causing disease.

At least 65 different diseases are known to be linked to houseflies, including anthrax, cholera, dysentery, leprosy, tuberculosis, and typhoid fever. Some of the most common pathogens transmitted by houseflies include salmonella and E. coli bacteria, which cause food poisoning.

House fly saliva and feces can also contaminate food and cause humans to become ill.

It is also estimated that more than $10 billion worth of agricultural products are contaminated or destroyed by flies each year. If your business develops a fly infestation, you can lose your reputation, your finances, and your licence.

However, keeping houseflies under control can be difficult, since they reproduce very quickly.

Over four days, female houseflies can lay up to 500 eggs in batches, which hatch within 12 hours and develop into fully grown adults in only 10 days. A single female may produce as many as 12 generations per summer.

To be sure your business or home is safe from houseflies and the havoc they can wreak, it’s essential that you get the help of a professional pest control service.

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