If there is one insect on this planet that most humans could do without, it would be the common house fly. These small flying insects are some of the most annoying creatures on Earth. They buzz around your head, get in your face, and land on your food. You may even find one floating in your drink.

With all the negative aspects that house flies are known for, their positive contributions to the environment are often overlooked. When in their natural habitats, they help clean up organic waste material and are a huge part of the natural decomposition of dead animals and other insects. Still, despite these positive behavioral traits, flies can be a nuisance when they make their way into your home.

What Are House Flies?

Image via Flickr by Eran Finkle

Adult house flies are half an inch of pure trouble. They aren't picky about what they eat. Their diets can consist of animal food, animal carcasses, human food, excrement, or garbage. They will go from one to the other spreading germs and disease where ever they land. They are known to carry more than 100 different pathogens that can cause illness such as cholera, tuberculosis, typhoid, and dysentery.

Adult female house flies lay eggs anywhere that provides a warm, humid environment and food for the larvae. Female house flies can lay up to six batches of 100 eggs. When the weather is warm, the eggs can hatch within a 12- to 24-hour period. The typical life span of a house fly in its natural habitat is usually less than one month, and that number drops to two or three days without a viable food source.

What Do House Flies Look Like?

A house fly measures between 4 millimeters and 7.5 millimeters in length and is usually dark gray in color. House flies have transparent wings with distinctive veins and black stripes on their thoraxes. They are covered with tiny hairs that act as taste organs. The eyes of house flies are known as compound eyes. Their eyes are incredibly complex and made up of thousands of individual lenses that provide them with a wide field of vision. Male house flies are yellow on the sides of their abdomen.

Where Do House Flies Live?

House flies can be found around the world and are right at home here in the United States. House flies don't have a nest in which they spend a lot of time; they are always on the move. When they need to rest, they like edges, corners, or thin objects. When they are inside, they will rest on the walls, ceilings, and floors. When they are outside, they will rest on the ground, plants, garbage bins, or fence wires. At night, they usually frequent places that are 5 to 15 feet high and near food.

Problems With House Flies

House flies are the epitome of everything filthy. They eat and breed in filth, and then they carry that filth everywhere they go and spread it to everything they touch, which can cause sickness and disease in humans and pets. This becomes especially troubling when you consider how many times a fly has landed on your plate or in your food. Most people will shoo the fly away and continue to eat, but this can be a costly mistake if the fly happens to leave just one of the over 100 pathogens that it may be carrying at the time.

These terrors on wings are attracted to your home and other buildings by air currents that flow from inside. They prefer an ambient temperature of around 83 degrees Fahrenheit and will be drawn to the cool air coming from within your home on warmer days and the warm air on cooler days. They are quick and somewhat stealthy and will shoot in when a door is opened, or they will find their way in through cracks or gaps haven't been properly sealed off.

Once they get inside, flies may thrive on the available food sources and multiply. The fact that they are drawn by odors and air currents from inside your house makes it hard to keep them out, especially during the warmer months when they are most active. Be sure to keep your home in a state of good repair so there are no easy access points for house flies or other pests.

House Fly Control Solutions

House flies are significant indicators of an unsanitary living environment. If you fear that these pests are invading your home, the best course of action is to thoroughly clean and sanitize the inside and outside of your home. By removing potential food sources and possible environments that are suitable for flies laying eggs, you will significantly reduce the chances of having a house fly infestation.

In severe cases, you may want to enlist the help of a professional pest control agency. Professional exterminators are trained in how to eradicate house fly invasions and can implement plans that will prevent future outbreaks.

If you feel that you can handle the situation on your own, you can try one of several methods to eliminate house flies. For instance, you can utilize fly bait and traps if the intrusion is significant enough to warrant them. Alternatively, if you can locate the breeding site where the eggs are being laid and eliminate it, then you will only have to deal with the remaining adult flies.

When faced with menacing house flies, you may feel that defeating them is impossible, but with a little knowledge, you will be well on your way to protecting your home and your family. Prevention will require ongoing effort, but if you stick to your plan, you can keep these pests outdoors where they belong. Take control of your household by working to maintain a pest-free atmosphere.

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