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General Information

Houseflies can be some of the most annoying creatures on the planet. They tend to buzz around your personal space and get into your food and drink. Despite this behavior, houseflies do make some positive contributions to the environment. Houseflies assist the natural decomposition process by consuming decaying organic matter from other insects and dead animals. They also provide a stable food source for many other creatures in the environment.

Though they can be a nuisance during outdoor activities such as camping or cooking out, they truly become a house guest that is less than welcome when they are in your home. Houseflies are persistent pests and can pose a real health risk to you and your family. Learning how to keep houseflies in check around your property and out of your house will help you better protect your family.

What Are Houseflies?

Houseflies are flying insects that seem to have no purpose other than to get on people’s last nerve, but they can be beneficial. Houseflies are not picky eaters and have a diet that consists of almost anything. They consume animal carcasses, excrement, fruits, meats, dog food, cat food, scraps, and garbage.

They are extraordinarily unsanitary and pick up nasty germs and diseases due to how and what they eat. Houseflies go from one food source to the next and contaminate everything they encounter, including food and all surfaces where they can land. At any given time, the common housefly can be carrying over 100 distinct pathogens such as typhoid, cholera, and dysentery, all of which can cause severe illness if not treated.

These small flying critters can reproduce at astonishing rates when in ideal conditions. Any place that has a humid and warm environment is well-suited for them to thrive. Female houseflies can lay as many as six batches of eggs that have the potential to hatch 12 to 24 hours after being laid when the weather is warm. A batch of housefly eggs can hold up to 100 eggs each, leading to an all-out infestation if left unchecked.

Though they’re great in number, houseflies live for only around a month on average in their natural habitat. This amount of time is drastically cut down to two or three days when they can find no sustainable food sources or they encounter humans with fly swatters — whichever comes first. Houseflies prefer to lay eggs on dead carcasses, in garbage cans, and in landfills, where their young will have ample food sources for them to feed on as they grow into adults.

What Does a House Fly Look Like?

Houseflies are relatively small for how annoying they are when you happen to be in their presence. They grow to only about 0.25 to 0.28 inch in length and are extremely agile when in flight. They have a single pair of wings, six legs, compound eyes, and mouthparts specializing in consuming liquids. Houseflies can use their eyes to process visual information at seven times the speed of humans. Their visual acuity and impressive in-flight aerobatics allow them to avoid predators and fly swatters alike, but it isn’t impossible to capture or kill them.

Image via Flickr by VinothChandar

Where Do Houseflies Live?

Houseflies are found throughout the United States and thrive in warm, humid areas, such as Charlotte, North Carolina, and Greenville, South Carolina. Though the southernmost regions of the United States are prime territory for houseflies, they are adapted for hibernating through winter and found in the northernmost areas, as well.

In their natural habitat, houseflies can be found buzzing around garbage cans and plants or scurrying across the ground. They are most active during the day. They are mostly inactive at night but are drawn to light and will approach outdoor light sources such as porch and patio lights. When inside your home, they tend to gather on ceilings, walls, and floors. They can also be observed inside trash cans, sink drains, countertops, or any other location where there could be residual food crumbs or scraps.

Common Problems With Houseflies

Houseflies are among the filthiest creatures on earth and carry germs and diseases. These diseases can cause serious illnesses in humans and pets that require medical attention. They breed and feed in filth, then spread it wherever they go, contaminating just about all the surfaces of your home and food with their saliva and feces.

They are reasonably stealthy when necessary and can quickly fly in when doors or windows are opened, even if it’s only for a second or two. They are highly sensitive to airflow, and their ideal temperature is somewhere around 83 degrees Fahrenheit. They can sense temperature changes and are drawn to the warm air of your furnace during colder weather and the cool air of your air conditioning during warmer weather, making it nearly impossible to keep from attracting them inside.

How To Get Rid of Houseflies

As you already know, houseflies can thrive just about anywhere and are well-adapted to live in your home when they can. Preventing houseflies is critical when trying to get rid of them, and there are simple steps you can follow to keep your house free of houseflies. Identifying potential entryways such as cracks in the foundations of your home, torn window screens, and crevices around doorways and sealing them off can go a long way toward keeping houseflies out of your home. Keeping your home clean and free from scraps, food crumbs, open dog or cat food containers, and garbage will also help deter them from finding their way indoors.

Houseflies are annoying, disease-carrying pests that can negatively affect you and your family if left unchecked. If you are overwhelmed with a housefly infestation, reach out to Bulwark Exterminating today.

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