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Attribution: Jon Sullivan, via Wikimedia Commons
Medium-sized flies about 1/4-inch in length.
Dark gray; four stripes are present on top of the thorax in front of the wings.
The house fly is the most common and ubiquitous fly on the planet, being found everywhere humans are found except possibly the coldest reaches of the Arctic and Antarctic. Because it frequents unsanitary areas, such as garbage and manure, this fly is considered a possible health risk and its presence indoors should be minimized. This species has sponging mouth parts so it cannot eat solid food. It regurgitates digestive fluids onto its food and then sponges up its digested liquid meal.
This species breeds primarily in fresh animal manure and so is most common on and near farms. Lawns where dog manure is left for days can also become a significant breeding site for house flies. Any building can be plagued by house flies, but those located near farms and pastures are likely to experience more flies than other structures. House flies rarely breed indoors, but if they do, the site is usually a trash container that hasn’t been cleaned for a while or possibly rotting vegetables or fruit in a box in a restaurant storeroom or kitchen.
In most cases involving house flies around homes, the problem is twofold: (1) flies are being attracted to the building by trash containers or pet manure and (2) openings (e.g. doors) exist that are permitting flies to enter. To minimize problems with flies, take the following steps:
- Throw trash away in trash cans in plastic bags. Bags reduce odors associated with garbage and trash thus attracting fewer flies to the area.
- Locate trash receptacles as far from the building as possible. Those flies that are attracted to the area will therefore be away from the back door.
- Regularly pick up pet manure from the yard.
- Keep doors and windows closed unless they are equipped with tight-fitting screens.
- Ensure all edges of doors and windows have tight weatherstripping. Flies can squeeze through amazingly small cracks.
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