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Identify Flies

Fly Close Up

Common Fly Identification

Flies vary greatly in size, shape, and color. Because they are easy to confuse with other pests, fly identification helps homeowners decide the next step in proper pest control. Most types of flies are harmless and some are even helpful to the environment as pollinators. However, certain species indicate wildlife, moisture, or cleanliness problems in the home, while others may spread bacteria or even bite. The preferred habitat and developmental sites of flies range from moist, organic material laden places and aquatic sources such as:

  • Animal & Pet Feces

  • Drains

  • Marshes

  • Soiled Garbage Containers

  • Streams

How to Identify Flies

Since these pests are generally small and move rapidly from place to place, getting a good look at a fly can be difficult. Pest experts are the best equipped to distinguish between different species, but homeowners should be able to spot a few important fly identification factors:

  • Size: Flies come in many sizes, from one-millimeter-long biting midges to horse flies over an inch in length.

  • Color: Black, brown, yellow, and iridescent green are common colors for nuisance fly species and those often associated with dead animals.

  • Shape: Body shape can range from compact gnats to the gangly, mosquito-like look of crane flies.

  • Hair: Some varieties, like shiny bottle flies, appear to have little hair, while fuzzy drain flies have a moth-like look.

  • Eyes: Forward-facing, goggle-shaped eyes are a hallmark of house flies. The eye placement of other types of flies can help experts identify them.

Controlling Flies

Once in a home, flies may feed on and lay eggs in human food. This contamination spreads harmful diseases. To identify flies and remove infestations, contact the trained professionals at Orkin.

Flies vary greatly in physical appearance, differing in size, color, and wing type. Numerous books are available from agencies such as the state extension service or the Nature Conservancy, some of which feature full-color photographs and descriptions that can assist homeowners in identifying pests.

Identifying fly species can be an important key in eradication of unwanted populations. If a fly is tiny and found near sugary substances, it may be a fruit fly. Blue bottle flies and blow flies are fairly large and slow flying. They lay their eggs on carrion rather than fruit. Identification of feeding and breeding sites can help to discern type of infestation. The sites should be eliminated as soon as they have been found.


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