6 Most Common Flies: Do You Know the Difference?

Man with Flyswatter

When you’re seeing flies, you’re seeing the signs of an underlying problem – and it’s not one you can just swat away. Knowing the type of fly you’re dealing with is half the battle. Different flies have different preferences for food and breeding sites, so identifying the species is critical to help solve the problem.

Flies can hurt your bottom line by irritating customers, transmitting diseases and contaminating products. These stubborn pests can affect any business, so your pest management strategy needs to address them. (To learn more about keeping these dirty pests out of your establishment, download our free Comprehensive Guide to Flies & Fly Control Strategy.)

Here’s a rundown of the six most common flies in the workplace and how to tell them apart:

  1. House flies are the most commonly encountered fly. House flies can be identified by four length-wise stripes on the middle part of their body behind the head.

  2. Blow flies are sometimes called bottle flies because of their shiny, metallic looking abdomens. Their larvae can develop in walls or even inside rodents caught in traps.

  3. Fruit flies often lay their eggs near ripening fruits and vegetables. You might see this tiny fly – averaging an 1/8 of an inch long – near fermented materials in trash cans and floor drains.

  4. Drain flies are covered with long hairs and are very weak flyers. They prefer to crawl along damp surfaces such as drains and clogged gutters. Drain flies need standing water to breed and commonly lay eggs in raw sewage under slabs where pipes might be broken.

  5. Phorid flies are easily recognized by their humped backs and are 1/4 of an inch long. They are most often found in hospitals and restaurants.

  6. Fungus gnats are tiny flying insects that often come in with office plants – fungus growing in damp soil provides a food source for this fly’s larvae. They fly low to the ground, close to plants and soil.

Working with a pest management professional to inspect your property is the best way to make sure you identify a fly problem correctly. After determining the species of fly affecting your business, you can partner to create and implement the most effective treatment plan. For even more about how these flies behave, download our free Comprehensive Guide to Flies & Fly Control Strategy.

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