The word ‘pest’ is almost synonymous with the insect housefly. House flies (Musca domestica) are one of the most common pests in the world. These winged insects have been around for almost 250 million years, and are considered a nuisance worldwide. Their annoying buzzing sound and ability to carry pathogens and germs make them an insect you definitely don’t want anywhere around your house. They are found on every continent, and almost every human on earth has encountered house flies once in their life.
HOW TO IDENTIFY HOUSE FLIES
Everyone has seen a housefly, but very few of us can accurately identify them when compared to other flies. Here are some physical characteristics of the common housefly-
- Grey to black in color
- One pair of membranous wings
- Body length is from 6mm to 7mm
- Fine hairs on the body surface
- Wingspan varies from 13mm to 15mm
- Large, red compound eyes
- Females have larger wings than males
- Males have longer legs than females
- Two short antennae
Appearance and Behavior
These greyish insects are found in almost every human space. House flies are extremely adaptive insects that have adjusted to the climate of every continent on the planet. Flies fly quite fast and are often hard to swat away. They are able to see human movement in slow motion, and so can dodge any swatting hand. House flies follow a liquid diet and suck up fluids using capillary action through their sponge-like mouth part. Their saliva dissolves solid food, to assist ease of consumption.
Female house flies usually mate just once and can produce 500 eggs in her lifetime (she stores sperms for future use). Male flies mate multiple times. House flies live for about a month, but can produce enough progeny flies to start a full-blown infestation.
House flies consume almost anything – from dead matter to sugary substances. Adults are primarily carnivores, but they also consume other food items like sugar, milk, and fruits. They can even feed on blood at times. House flies tend to follow human settlements, as the latter provides them with ample food sources.
House flies hibernate during the winters. During the warmer months, they are seen flying around searching for food. They are not active during the night and choose to rest on ceilings, walls, trees or long grass. They mate and lay eggs during spring.
Signs of housefly infestation include the physical sighting of the flies. If you see bunches of flies gathering around your dustbin, in your kitchen, near your pantry or near sewage lines you can be sure that there is large housefly population nearby. House flies are particularly attracted to exposed food items and filth.
House flies are known to be carriers of various diseases and can spread these diseases by contaminating food.