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Common Types of Flies in Missouri

In nature, flies perform a vital function as decomposers of dead organisms, manure and decaying vegetation. These organic materials serve as breeding and egg-laying sites for the adult flies, and as food for immature flies, which are usually called maggots. Flies are also an important food source for many other kinds of organisms, including birds, fish, reptiles, and even some plants like the Venus flytrap.

Unfortunately, several species of flies and gnats have adapted to living in human structures. When flies are found in human structures, they are almost always considered to be nuisance pests. Some kinds of flies are also a potential threat to human or animal health. These flies may act as carriers of disease organisms present in their breeding and egg-laying sites. These disease organisms can cause food poisoning, diarrhea, dysentery or typhoid fever.

House Fly


Breeding and feeding habitats

  • Manure

  • Dead organic matter

  • Garbage

  • Rotting fruits and vegetables

The house fly is the most common fly pest around homes. This fly lays eggs on wet, decaying organic matter such as moist garbage, animal manure or rotting plant debris. The eggs hatch into creamy white maggots that feed in the waste. Eventually, maggots change into an inactive pupal stage from which the adult flies later emerge. This life cycle is completed in about 14 days, depending on temperature.


Blow Fly

Breeding and feeding habitats

  • Dead animals

  • Dead organic matter

  • Garbage

Several species of blow flies can be found infesting homes. These flies are shiny metallic colors of copper, green, blue or black. These flies lay their eggs on the carcasses of dead animals, decaying meat or garbage that contains meat scraps. The maggots hatch, grow to maturity by feeding on the meat, pupate, and then emerge as new adult flies. Development occurs over a 10 to 20 day period, depending on temperature.

Cluster Fly


Breeding and feeding habitats

  • Earthworms

Cluster flies belong to the same family as blow flies but are not metallic in color. They are dark gray, with curved, golden yellow hairs on their back behind the head. Their movements are normally sluggish and when crushed, they give off the smell of honey. Cluster flies lay their eggs in the soil outdoors. After hatching, the maggots develop as parasites inside earthworms. Their life cycle typically requires 30 to 40 days. When adult flies emerge in late summer/early fall, they may enter human structures as to pass winter. In these cases, they are usually attracted to the top floors and attic on the south- and west-facing walls. On warm days during winter/spring cluster flies may become active and invade indoor living spaces.

Fruit Fly


Breeding and feeding habitats

  • Dead organic matter

  • Garbage

  • Rotting fruits and vegetables

  • Drains, pipes, sewer

Fruit flies are also known as pomace flies or vinegar flies. Many of them are small (1/8 inch) and tan with red eyes. They are present outdoors during warm weather and may be pests inside during other times. They are more of an indoor nuisance during the fall when they enter houses to escape cooler outside temperatures. Fruit flies reproduce and develop on overripe and rotting fruits, vegetables, and other moist plant material. They are able to complete their life cycle in 10 to 12 days.



Breeding and feeding habitats

  • Wet organic matter

Fungus gnats are mosquito-like in appearance but are often much smaller. They are dark gray to almost black. The larvae develop in moist organic matter that contains fungi. Little is known about the details of their life cycle. Nearly all infestations indoors are attributed to highly organic, wet soil in potted plants or atriums. Rarely, poorly ventilated attics or accumulated bird feces can also serve as breeding sites. These flies may enter from outdoor breeding sites such as wet mulch near windows and doors. They are attracted to lights and will readily enter structures when doors or windows are left open — especially at night.

Drain Fly


Breeding and feeding habitats

  • Drains, pipes, sewer

  • Soil with sewage

Moth flies are also known as drain, filter or sewage flies. They are tiny flies and their bodies and wings are densely covered with hair. The wings are held rooflike above the body when at rest. Indoors, moth flies breed and the larvae develop in the wet, gelatinous material that lines the inside of drainpipes.  The life cycle from egg to adult can take as little as 8 days or as long as 22 days, depending on temperature. In most situations, adult flies appear suddenly in the vicinity of sinks or drains. They are commonly noticed on the bathroom mirror.  In some cases, these flies are small enough to penetrate normal window screening.

How To Keep Flies Away From Your Home

Sanitation refers to activities that reduce or eliminate fly breeding and feeding habitats in and around the home. Important breeding sites for the flies mentioned in this publication are shown above. The proper management of garbage, yard and garden wastes, and dead animals reduces the availability of resources that are critical for the development of house flies, blow flies, fruit flies, flesh flies, and stable flies. .

Household waste management is critical to sanitation. Use plastic garbage can liners inside trashcans that hold household waste. When plastic liners are full, close them tightly and transfer them directly to a large garbage can outdoors or in the garage. Make sure all garbage cans have tight-fitting lids and that they are cleaned whenever waste accumulates in the bottom or clings to the sides. Ensure that garbage is taken to the landfill or burned at the earliest possible opportunity. If possible, reduce watering and organic matter in the soil of potted plants. Cleaning drains regularly or reducing moisture problems through ventilation and other means may be critical to eliminating some household fly infestations.

Exterior Lighting

Exterior lighting and odors will also attract flies to areas around human structures. Many flies are attracted to lights and will be found around exterior lighting at night. The smell of food odors from improperly maintained trashcans, compost bins or pet manure will also attract flies to areas around structures. After being attracted to the exterior of the home by lighting or odors, flies are able to gain access through open doors and windows, gaps, cracks or crevices.

Many homeowners aren’t familiar with fly biology, what causes fly infestations and how to get rid of flies for good, which is why a professional pest control service is useful. DeProw Services provides fly control solutions for homes and businesses, no matter the severity of the infestation.

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