Different Types of Flies and the Danger they Pose
Updated: Jul 26
A Comprehensive Guide to Flies and Health Risks Associated
We all know those annoying insects that buzz around in search to share meals with us. Those nasty creatures that regurgitate on everything they land on. Flies are common around all regions of the world. They are so common that there is actually over 120,000 different types of flies found worldwide with18,000 of those species found in North America! With a dense population they greatly reproduce and are responsible for the spread of many pathogens, bacteria, and viruses. Some are as serious as Cholera, Conjunctivitis, Dysentery, Gastroenteritis, Salmonellosis, Tuberculosis, and Typhoid fever.
Where do flies come from?
Well we all know those disgusting Maggots that we associate with death. We must also assume that an egg must have been before the maggot. But the question I guess we are really looking to answer is how do they get in my home?
Flies for the most part hatch outside from eggs that have been deposited in decaying matter such as trash, feces, or even decaying organic matter. Later through the gestational process they become the Fly larvae known as maggots which will feed on the breeding source locations until they reach the Pupa stage before becoming a Fly. Once they reach the final stage of morphing, the fly will then typically enter a home through structural deficiencies in our homes such as faulty weather stripping, screen doors, torn screening or the obvious open doors and windows. Once indoors Houseflies will search for the same breeding source conditions. Different types of Flies will prefer different breeding locations. In this guide we will discuss the more common types of Flies a homeowner will most likely experience.
Different Types Of Flies:
The house fly is the most common fly found in and around our homes. They are typically gray in color and are roughly 4 to 7mm long. They have distinct four striped pattern on the thorax and when observed up close have small visible hairs used to taste. Also, when observed up close one will notice the large eyes which are covered in thousands of lenses.
If you have ever wondered why they are so hard to swat and kill or catch, this is the reason. With all those ocular lenses they can literally see a wide field of vision in almost every direction.
House Fly Habits: Depending on environmental conditions, it can take as little as six days for a house fly to develop from egg to adult Fly. Flies have a four-phase life cycle, which begins when a fertilized female house fly finds a desired location to lay eggs. In a home this is usually on pet feces, rotting meat, decaying food or undiscarded trash. The female house flies typically mate once in a lifetime but can produce 350-900 eggs during their lifetime. The larvae which we know as maggots, are opaque in color and resemble that of a grain of rice. Maggots feed three to five days after hatching and prefer dark and cooler locations out of direct sunlight. After three to six days the maggots will develop legs and wings, and grow to the adult house fly who will live on average of 15-25 days. With just as little as two to three days and adult female is ready to start the breeding cycle all over again.
House Flies do not pose a direct threat to humans as they are not capable biting or stinging humans. They actually are only capable of feeding on liquids and have sponging mouth parts so they rely on saliva and regurgitation to liquefy the foods they feed on with tongues shaped like straws for sucking. Pretty gross right? Yes in deed! The house fly will feed on human food, dead animals, pet waste and garbage. Anything that has strong odor will attract them
House Fly Threats: Although house flies do pose a direct threat to health, they do indirectly and are capable of transferring a variety different pathogens, including, bacteria, viruses, Cholera, Conjunctivitis, Dysentery, Gastroenteritis, Salmonellosis, Tuberculosis, and Typhoid fever.
As a house fly lands and feeds on its favored health ridden locations, these organisms become attached on their legs and mouths. It is no secret that feeding on feces, dead carcasses, trash and other decaying substances can only lead to cross contamination for any areas they choose to land. If it couldn't get worse, it does, Flies also have no control over bowels and will defecate at any time on any surface which results in further spreading of these health risks.
Fruit flies are also found throughout the United States and will also rapidly reproduce. This Fly in adult form are typically 3 to 4 mm in size and will live on average 25-30 days. This Fly will have a tan to brownish body, gray abdomen, small oval shaped antennas, six legs with most having red to darker eyes.
Fruit Fly Habits: Fruit flies are also attracted to and will also feed on rotting food matter showing participial favoritism towards fruits and vegetables, hence the name Fruit Fly. Like the House Fly, they are also privy to dark, unsanitary, and moist environments like garbage disposals, drains, and trash receptacles. Fruit flies reproduce very quickly, making them extremely difficult for a homeowner to control without hiring a pest control company. With an adult female fruit fly laying an estimated 500 eggs that can hatch around 24 hours, it is easy to see why they are so difficult to get rid of. Like the other fly species, fruit flies also have a four-stage life cycle, however, with proper conditions they can complete the full cycle as soon as 7 days.
Fruit Fly Threats: Fruit Flies are more of a nuisance pest and will not bite or sting. As does the House Fly pose an indirect threat to health, so does the Fruit Fly. They will also contaminate food and food prep areas with harmful disease-causing pathogens and bacteria. Because of the locations the Fruit Fly breeds in, they are readily accepting to transferring pathogens.
Drain Flies are another small Fly. This fly as the others also has six legs, a pair of wings and antennae. The Drain Fly is about 1.5 to 5mm long with a light gray to tan body that is covered in hair like its wings that give it a fuzzy appearance. For further information on Drain Fly habits, what Drain Flies are, What Drain Flies do, How to determine if you have Drain Flies and the health risks Drain Flies pose, I will direct you to our Pest Control Blog post Titled "Why am I Getting Drain Flies?"
Now We finally get to a Fly that will indeed actually pose a direct threat and not so much of an indirect threat. This nasty aggressive Fly receives its name because they are a notorious pest that frequents horses and other mammals. The Horse Fly is large with a size of 10 to 30mm long. They take on a Blackish gray body and have eyes with horizontal stripes that take on a green / purple color. The horse fly as the others also has six legs with antennae. They are commonly found in suburban and rural areas near bodies of freshwater water. For this reason, they will usually breed around these locations.
Horse Flies are strong fast fliers that can exceed 30 miles. This aggressive species of Fly likes to attack moving hosts. Being attracted to light, they have been known to congregate on windows during hot summer days. The female horse flies feed on blood with mouth parts designed for tearing flesh and lapping blood and are the ones who will do the biting. The male Horse Fly feeds on pollen and plant nectar.
Threats: Unlike the other flies mentioned in this guide, The Horse Fly is not known to be vector of disease or capable of transmitting pathogens. It could still be possible though as they are still capable of landing on certain contaminated locations and transferring. As mentioned prior, the female Horse Flies do indeed inflict painful bites that certain individuals can react differently to. The Horse Fly is so aggressive that it will chase down a host and remain persistent enough once its sights are locked. The Horse Fly will stalk and continue to bite their host until they have successfully reached.
The best way to prevent flies in any home, business or restaurant is through sanitation and cleanliness. Number on is to remove and discard trash daily. Secondly, ensure counters and food prep locations are kept clean. It is also imperative that checking that all window, door, and pool screens are repaired and in proper working order. Also, do not forget those land mines that our pets leave in the backyard! Always remember to pick up pet waste as it is also another source for a breeding ground.
If you suspect a problem with flies or an infestation, it is important to contact a licensed pest control professional to conduct an inspection, identify, and develop the proper treatment method. If you need of a Pest Control company, remember the name Imperial Pest Prevention. (386) 956-9506. A name you know and trust!