The Behavior of Flies

When house flies and fruit flies invade

Whether it’s a buzz in the middle of a conversation, or a sudden landing on a piece of fruit you’re about to bite, flies can be a nuisance. Both house flies and fruit flies play a large role in the grief of homeowners. Understanding fly behavior might help eliminate some of this grief.

The behavior of flies depends on the type of fly, although most flies have certain things in common. This includes the fly life cycle, which occurs in four stages, and a general attraction to rotting food or manure. House flies and fruit flies are particular nuisances because they are common invaders of homes and restaurants.

Fly behavior: The house fly

House flies commonly breed in manure, fermenting vegetables, dumpsters and garbage cans. A female house fly can lay up to 150 eggs in a single batch. She can lay approximately six batches of eggs during her lifetime, which is about 30 days. Eggs hatch to become maggots. These maggots survive best in warm temperatures. Once matured, however, they seek cool, dry areas to develop into the third life stage and become pupa.

Adult house flies emerge from the pupal stage in about four to six weeks. These adult flies can travel over 12 miles, according to the Mallis Handbook of Pest Control by Arnold Mallis, although they rarely travel more than a mile.

Fly behavior: The fruit fly

There are at least 177 species of fruit flies. Most require moist environments for reproduction. Females can lay approximately 500 eggs during a single life span. They lay eggs in containers of fruits or vegetables that are unsealed, on edges of cider or vinegar bottles, in wine or beer, in floor drains and sometimes on mops or rags with leftover food particles. The entire life cycle of a fruit fly takes about 22 days. These types of flies are found throughout the world.

Fly behavior and disease

Both the house fly and the fruit fly are carriers of disease. House flies are known to transmit at least 65 different diseases, including typhoid fever, cholera, anthrax and tuberculosis. The fruit fly has been associated with intestinal discomfort and diarrhea. While neither of these types of flies bite, both transmit disease through food contamination.

Even with a strong understanding of the behavior of flies, managing a fly infestation in any home can be a challenge. To best address the flies buzzing around your home, call a pest management professional.