The Blowfly

Blowflies (Family Calliphoridae) are actually one of around 1100 species of flies that are mainly attracted to meat. They are a common pest worldwide but are mainly found in temperate and tropical areas. Around 80 species of blowflies are found in North America. They are known for their metallic body and irritable buzzing noise. Sighting blowflies indicate that there is rotting or decaying matter nearby. They are known to spread diseases such as dysentery and do so by contaminating food and other items.


  • Shiny body
    how to identify a blowfly

    How to identify a Blowfly. By Dinesh Valke from Thane, India – … fly :: blowfly, CC BY-SA 2.0, 

  • Metallic coloring
  • Tiny hairs all over the body
  • Can have a blue or green tinge
  • Three-segmented antennae
  • Large reddish brown compound eyes
  • Body length 8mm to 10mm
  • Slightly larger than house flies
  • Sponge-like mouthparts (in adults)
  • Hook-like mouthparts (in maggots)
  • Maggots resemble white worms or grains of rice

Signs and Behavior

  • Blowflies are found around garbage and decaying areas.
  • They are attracted to meat and will be the first ones to start consuming dead animals
  • They are also attracted to plants that smell like meat or rot. They thus end up as pollinators for these plants
  • Blowflies lay their eggs on dead animals. The female blowfly requires proteins found in carrions to develop and lay eggs.
  • Blowfly larvae are called maggots and are often found as a layer on rotting meat. Maggot larvae are known as gentles. After hatching, they usually settle in damp, loose soil.
  • Blowflies have a characteristic flying sound, like a buzz, that is considered annoying by most humans
  • The blowfly is poikilothermic. Some species thrive well in very warm regions, while others do so in colder areas
  • Blowflies can smell dead and decaying matter from 1.6m away.
  • Signs of blowfly infestation of presence include the physical sighting of the flies and presence of maggots on decaying matter nearby
  • Blowflies swarm and envelop any dead matter in the area – their presence in such cases is indicated by very loud buzzing sounds
  • They are attracted to dead bodies due to bodily gases, odors, and fluids
  • Blowflies produce digestive  juices to break down food before they consume it


If there is wildlife or animal activity around your house, chances are that blowfly frequently the area as well. Dense vegetation often attracts blowflies, as there will decaying matter in it. Garbage bins can also attract blowflies. It is thus important to dispose of leftover meat in tightly closed trash bags. If your pet has an open wound, blow flies can lay eggs in it. Large piles of trash can also attract these flies.


You can prevent blowflies by keeping trash tightly stored in bags. Do not just throw out leftovers (especially meat) outside. Dispose off rotting organic matter (such as vegetable peels) as well. Always clean your trash bin regularly, and check for maggots each time. Check the meat you buy from the store.  

To eliminate blowflies, use fly spray or sticky fly traps. If the infestation is very regular and stubborn, contact your local pest exterminator.

Blowfly Facts

  • A female blowfly can lay 2000 eggs during her short lifespan
  • The word “blowfly” was first mentioned in William Shakespeare’s plays
  • Laboratory-raised blowfly maggots are used for cleaning non healing wounds
  • The stages of blowfly population present on a dead body can indicate how long it has been lying undetected

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