There are thousands of fly species buzzing around the United States. When they invade your home, it’s important to know what fly you’re up against. We’ve gathered information about common fly species to help you identify and eliminate an infestation.
Houseflies are the most common fly found in homes. They have a gray body with four black stripes. They grow between 1/8ʺ-1/4ʺ and have red compound eyes. Houseflies lay eggs in rotting food and they’re often found near trash bins. Since they spend time in trash, they can contaminate food and counters when they land on it. These flies don’t have any piercing mouthparts so you don’t have to worry about being bitten.
Fruit flies get their name from their habit of eating and laying eggs in rotting fruit. They also like rotting vegetables and fermented liquids. These flies are about 1/8ʺ and have a brown body with a black and gray abdomen. Their eyes are typically red or dark. Fruit flies reproduce quickly and they infest homes throughout the year. Like houseflies, they are known to contaminate food and food preparation surfaces.
Cluster flies have a gray-checkered body with short, golden hair. They grow between 5/16ʺ-3/8ʺ. These flies enter homes looking for a place to overwinter. You’ll likely spot them hanging out in attics and on walls. As fall and winter approaches, cluster flies may begin gathering on windows. They are considered more of a nuisance than a threat. They don’t bite or reproduce indoors. However, their droppings can stain surfaces they land on and they could attract other bugs.
Blow flies can be identified by their metallic blue-green body. They are about 1/2ʺ in length. These flies enter yards and homes in search of food, which is typically decaying meat. They lay eggs on decaying animals, and an infestation can be a sign that something decaying is nearby. These pests don’t bite, but they can contaminate food or counters. They have been known to overwinter in homes.
Black flies are small flies measuring about 1/4ʺ. As their name suggests, they have a black body. These flies are mainly an outdoor pest. They lay eggs on objects, like rocks, in moving water. Male black flies feed on nectar, but females require a blood meal before producing eggs. They tend to bite humans and usually target your head or ears. These bites are painful and can cause skin rashes.
Horse flies have a gray or black body and large green or purple eyes. They are the largest fly on this list, ranging in size from 3/8ʺ-1 1/8ʺ. Horse flies can be found near water, in wooded areas, and near mammals. Their eggs are typically deposited in wet soil. Male horse flies eat pollen and nectar while females feed on blood. Don’t let their name trick you. Though they do use horses as hosts, they can target humans resulting in a painful bite. These flies are strong fliers and they’ll chase targets when in need of a meal.
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