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Flies Fact Sheet

Pest biology

Each species of fly has its own food and breeding place preferences. Examples:

House Flies – Typically 6-8mm long and greyish in colour. Houseflies are one of the most widespread household pests globally. They feed by sucking up liquid food, but can feed from solid foods such as animal faeces and human foods by ejecting their gastric juices containing digestive enzymes, and sucking up the resultant liquefied food. They put your health at risk due to their ability to transfer pathogens, both physically on the feet and bodies, in their gastric juices and in their faeces that they deposit around every 5 minutes.

Cluster Flies – Typically 10mm long with golden-coloured hairs on the thorax, and irregular light and dark grey areas on the abdomen. Cluster flies live outdoors in the summer, where they parasitize earthworms. But they overwinter in roof voids, cavities and sash window casings of buildings and they return year after year to the same favoured places.

Fruit Flies – Typically 2.5 mm long with brick red eyes and yellow-brown striped abdomen. Fruit flies are a common problem to many catering facilities. They are attracted to various moist food substances particularly fermented drinks (wines & beers) and fruit based beverages, but will also live in drains. They develop quickly and are able to complete a full lifecycle within 7 days.

Problems they cause

Bluebottles and houseflies go from filth to food in a short time and have the ability to carry a wide range of disease-causing and food-spoilage micro-organisms such as Salmonella, E.coli, Campylobacter, Cladosporum. They can also transmit parasitic worms.

Swarming flies such as cluster flies can decide in their hoards to spend the winter in your house, which can cause significant nuisance.

Fruit flies will infest food and drinks and cause spoilage and physical contamination.

Commercial control methods

  • Fly-proof screens installed on windows and doors can be used to prevent fly entry
  • Many fly species are highly attracted to UV light. Electronic fly killing units emitting UV light are an excellent permanent pro-active control tool. The flies are either electrocuted or get stuck to a sticky board.
  • Spraying walls using residual insecticides will kill flies that subsequently land on these surfaces.
  • Specialist ULV or fogging treatments can be used as a quick space treatment to ‘knockdown’ flies in an area quickly.
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