Fly Removal Services & Fly Repellents

House Fly

Although many insects are commonly called flies, true flies are members of the order Diptera. They are distinguished by having only two wings with which to fly and two balance organs called halteres. Diptera contains an estimated 1,000,000 species. These include such pests as houseflies, drain flies, and mosquitoes.

Houseflies are normally dull gray, with four dark stripes on the side of the thorax. Typically, between a quarter and half an inch long, they are a familiar sight almost everywhere around the world.

Several species of fruit fly are found in the US but the most common is Drosophila melanogaster. A small species only about 1/8 inch long, the adults are brown or tan and often have red eyes.

In the US, around 200 species are considered “filth flies”. Among these are the two most common fly pests:

  • Houseflies, which are notorious for spreading disease.
  • Fruit flies, small but annoying pests that can quickly damage the reputation of a food-related business.

Life Cycle

Both houseflies and fruit flies undergo complete metamorphosis. They pass from egg to maggot, pupating and then emerging as adult flies.

Eggs are laid in any moist place that has suitable food for the maggots. Housefly maggots will feed on decomposing organic waste, carrion or manure. The maggots of fruit fly favor ripe or rotting fruit but can survive on most organic waste. The time spent as maggots in either type is controlled by temperature. It can be as short as a few days or as long as several weeks.

Houseflies and fruit flies are normally only active during daytime but they will fly at night in a well-lit area.

Adult flies enter a form of hibernation during the winter to reappear in the spring. Fruit flies can often continue to breed in small numbers throughout the winter due to the heating in most homes.

Mexican Fruit Fly

Both species are infamous for the speed they can multiply. An adult female housefly can lay upwards of 1,000 eggs during her lifetime. Fruit flies lay fewer eggs but as both species have short life cycles in summer, their numbers can rapidly escalate.

Diseases

Because of their daily habits, adult houseflies can pose a serious health risk. Flies eat by using their saliva to liquefy food before feeding. They often live in unsanitary bacteria-rich environments, such as drains and dead animals.

Houseflies carry over 100 diseases and pathogens, such as typhoid, cholera, and salmonella. They can transfer these to human food simply by walking or feeding on it. In addition, they are known to transmit eggs of parasitic worms.

Fruit flies are not known as vectors for disease but, by walking on rotting food items, they can pick up bacteria and deposit it on human food. This may cause diarrhea.

Treatments

Small numbers of flies can be dealt with using sprays and aerosols. Larger infestations need an integrated pest management program (IPM). An important part of the program is to clear out any places flies can breed.

Baits, sticky traps, and UV lights can trap both houseflies and fruit flies but are unlikely to be effective enough to stop an infestation.

Fogging can provide a short-term solution by killing adult flies. However, the larval stages are normally unaffected and the problem soon reappears. 

Remedies involving insecticides are normally the last resort and should be carried out by trained pest control professionals. These treatments only work in conjunction with the removal of breeding sites.

Prevention

While it is almost impossible to stop solitary flies entering a home, it is easy to prevent infestations. Good sanitary practices will make it hard for a fly population to establish itself. Even if an infestation has occurred, the following steps will help control it:

  • Dispose of garbage in plastic bags. These reduce the odors that attract flies.
  • Keep garbage cans away from doors and windows to the kitchen.
  • Empty and clean garbage cans regularly.
  • Don’t leave uncovered food items lying around.
  • Clean all food preparation surfaces after use.
  • Don’t store or display ripe fruit in the open.
Scorpion Fly

Do-It-Yourself Treatments

After taking all the steps necessary to remove breeding sites, aerosols and sprays can be used to kill adult flies.

Fruit flies are harder to eradicate as they can breed in small, secluded places. Sometimes the inside wall of a kitchen drain provides enough organic material for them to continue breeding. Bacterial digesters may be used to clean drains and remove potential breeding sites.

Professional Treatments

Professional exterminators will provide advice about sanitation and treatment of potential breeding sites.

Insecticide-resistant flies are a growing problem. Pest controllers will know how to treat this type of infestation.

Costs

DIY treatments start at around $12 for sprays and aerosols. Traps may cost from $10 to $40 depending on the type of bait used. UV light traps start at $35 but can go over $200.

Professional treatment varies depending on the scope of the infestation, the size of the property and its location. The costs are typically between $100 and $300.