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Facts About Houseflies

Houseflies (Musca domestica) are common and well-known nuisance pests that plague both homes, food markets, ranches, and farms. This filth fly species is almost always found in the vicinity of humans and domesticated animals. Houseflies are a nuisance to be sure, but worse yet, they transport and transmit all kinds of bacteria and contaminants wherever they travel and land (and they travel and land A LOT! Including on your food!) Housefly infestations can create a health problem if not kept in check. 

What Do Houseflies Look Like?

house fly

Most people are familiar with Houseflies, which often get confused with Cluster flies. Houseflies usually measure about 3/8" - 1/2" in length and are usually light grey to dark grey in color, with four darker stripes on their bodies. They have rounded distinctly reddish eyes. 

Housefly eggs resemble small grains of rice, and their larvae are tiny whitish, wormy creatures (maggots), ranging from about 1/4" to 3/8" long. 

Where do Houseflies Live?

Wherever humans go, Houseflies follow. Houseflies are likely the most widely distributed of any insect worldwide. They are found even in colder, Arctic regions, but thrive more in temperate to tropical climates.

What Causes A Lot of Flies in the House?

Houseflies are attracted to any and all decaying and rotting materials, garbage, and feces, as well as human food and drinks. They seem to have a penchant for ruining outdoor cookouts and picnics by hovering around people and their food. 

Are Houseflies Dangerous?

As you probably know, Houseflies do not bite. They just spread bacteria and germs everywhere they go. They defecate every time they land on something, and they vomit on your food to liquefy it so that they can ingest it. Sounds like motivation enough to reduce their numbers and to get rid of them around the house.

The Housefly Life Cycle 

Housefly life cycle

The life cycle of Houseflies is one of a full metamorphosis (Egg, larva (maggots), pupa, adult), just like most insects. During optimal conditions, like in the heat of the summer, a developing Housefly egg to adult runs about 7 to 10 days. Adults live for about 15 to 30 days, depending on temperature and availability of a food source.

Will Houseflies Eventually Go Away on Their Own?

As long as conditions exist that attract Houseflies, they will stick around and continue to be a nuisance. As with other pests in your home, when you eliminate the conditions (food, water, harborage) that attracts them in the first place, they will move on and go elsewhere.

How Do I Get Rid of Houseflies?: How to Get Rid of Houseflies Naturally

What can you do to get rid of Houseflies at home? Here are some suggestions. Sanitation is key. The cleaner and tidier the home, the fewer flies (and other pests) you'll likely ever see.

  • Keep surfaces wiped down and free of crumbs and spills.

  • Keep your sink free of dirty dishes.

  • Keep your trash covered tightly, and remove it regularly (daily, if possible). Keep outdoor trash receptacles covered and as far away from doors and windows as possible.

  • Keep pet feces cleaned up around your yard. Change out litter boxes regularly.

  • Ensure door and window screens are intact.

  • Seal up cracks, crevices, and any holes that might be a way inside for flies and any other unwelcome pest intruders.

Pest Control Products

Houseflies thrive better in warmer to hot weather and can survive indoors or outdoors, depending on the availability of food sources. Reducing the things they are attracted to (easily accessible trash, pet feces, rotting materials, etc.) always helps mitigate indoor fly problems. Pest control products would ideally not be used until preventive methods have been implemented (see above).

Try an effective plant oil-based indoor fly killer for spot-treatment, like Maggie's Farm Home Bug Spray, or Maggie's Farm Flying Insect Killer. Plants don't like flies and other bugs any more than you do, and the natural oils they produce to protect themselves are amazingly effective at killing and repelling bugs of all sorts. For effective personal protection against flies (and mosquitoes), try plant oil-based Maggie's Farm Natural Insect Repellent.

For longer-term, more thorough coverage, you can treat wider areas of your lawn with effective hose-end plant oil-based pest control products like Maggie's Farm Yard Bug Spray

Always carefully follow any directions on pest control product labels, including for storage and disposal.

Find more information here:

The Best Indoor Fly Killer Spray

Tips for a Bug-free Cookout

How to Use a Yard Bug Spray

How to Keep Pests Out of Your Lawn Naturally

How to Prevent Overwintering Pests


How do you control Houseflies? We want to hear your input! Leave us a comment! 


For scientifically-tested, effective fly control in your home that is friendly to the environment, try Maggie’s Farm pest control products. Our promise is that our plant and mineral-based products are developed by scientists and seasoned pest control professionals to be the most effective.

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