Green Bottle Flies

Facts, Identification & Control

Scientific Name

Lucilia sericata

Appearance

What Do They Look Like?

Green Bottle Fly
  • Size: Green bottle flies are similar in size to house flies
  • Color: They appear metallic green with portions of copper-green.
  • Wings: They have clear wings with brownish-colored wing veins
  • Eyes: large, reddish-colored compound eyes
  • Body: black legs and antennae

How Did I Get Green Bottle Flies?

Open doors, cracked window frames, and holes in screens allow green bottle flies to enter homes. Once inside, they can contaminate food and lay eggs in wastes and wet garbage. They eat from dirty dishes and trashcans but will consume almost any edible items left out in the open.

Green bottle flies deposit eggs in decaying tissue, which the larvae feed on after hatching This is why the pests often swarm near and develop in dead animals in wall voids, crawl spaces, attics and garages. Outside homes green bottle fly preferred development sites are trashcans, spilled trash and animal feces.

How Serious Are Green Bottle Flies?

Transmit disease
While unsightly and a nuisance, the green bottle fly is also a potential threat to human health since these pests transmit diseases like dysentery and salmonellosis through food contamination. Symptoms can range from mild cramps to severe diarrhea, vomiting, headache, weakness and fever.

Filth feeders
Green bottle flies are classified as filth feeders that develop in and feed on dead animals, feces, garbage and decomposing plant materials. Because of their unsanitary habitats, they may carry pathogenic bacteria that can be transmitted to people and animals via mechanical transmission. Outside, they are commonly seen on dog feces and are one of the many reasons why it is so important to pick up dog feces.

How Do I Get Rid Green Bottle Flies?

Green bottle fly prevention and control may be comprised of both exterior and interior procedures.

First, contact your pest management professional for assistance. Your pest management professional will positively identify the offending pest, conduct an inspection and then develop an integrated pest management plan (IPM) to resolve the problem. The key components of a green bottle fly IPM plan include:

  • Identification – since not all flies have the same behavior and habitat, it is important to correctly identify the offending insect so that an effective and efficient IPM program can be put into place.
  • Inspection – your pest management professional’s inspection will provide the information and observations needed to develop the proper IPM plan
  • Sanitation – keep the property clean and get rid of all sources that provide green bottle flies a suitable development habitat.
  • Exclusion – seal and repair screens, holes, gaps and any other entryway that green bottle flies may use to enter the home or may allow animals to enter the structure.
  • Traps – Light traps to attract and trap flies.
  • Chemicals – Chemical products to treat fly resting places and using chemical fly baits, residual insecticide and aerosol products in locations where flies are active.


Reproduction & Life Cycle

Green bottle flies complete their life cycle in a short time, but the period of time is affected by factors such as the quality of their food source, seasonality, temperature and humidity. The adult female fly deposits up to about 200 eggs that hatch and become larvae in 1-3 days. Within about 3-10 days, fully developed larvae leave their development site and burrow into the soil. Pupal development takes approximately 6-14 days after which time the adults will emerge and begin to feed on plant nectar, a carcass or garbage. The female fly lays eggs about 2 weeks after they leave the pupal stage. Green bottle flies usually complete 3 or 4 generations per year, more in the warmer regions of their distribution areas. One female green bottle fly will lay about 2,000-3,000 eggs in her lifetime

Signs Of A Green Bottle Fly Infestation

The most common signs of bottle flies are either the adults themselves or their larvae. The adults may be seen resting on surfaces or buzzing around potential food sources in which to lay eggs. Larvae may be observed when they crawl out of the breeding material to pupate.

If a large number of green bottle flies are found inside a structure, they are usually breeding inside the home or in the immediate area of the home. Examples of such breeding sites may be a dead mouse or squirrel in the attic or wall void, or a dead bird or other animal in the chimney.

Distribution

The green bottle fly is found throughout the world, but is more likely to be found in the Northern Hemisphere. This species is widely distributed throughout the United States and southern Canada.