Different Types of Flies

Flies belong to the order Diptera, which is derived from the Greek words di, meaning two, and pteron, meaning wing. While there are many types of flies, all species have two wings.

The order of flies can be broken down into five categories. These categories include filth flies, small flies, overwintering flies, biting flies and non-biting gnats and midges.

Filth flies

This group of flies often has a negative impact on humans, although they also depend on humans to survive. They commonly spread disease and are responsible for causing a large number of human deaths by transmitting disease-causing microorganisms, contaminating food and sometimes infesting human hosts.

One of the most commonly known filth flies is the house fly. They measure about one-fourth of an inch in length and are often attracted to manure. Other attractants include garbage and rotting fruits and vegetables.

Small flies

One of the most common small flies is the fruit fly. These types of flies are commonly found in homes and restaurants. At least eight species of this type of fly are known to exist in the United States. These flies have the ability to breed indoors or outdoors, in decaying food, fruits, vegetables or other moist organic material. They often travel indoors from nearby dumpsters. They are about one-eighth of an inch in length.

Other small flies include Phorid flies, commonly found in coffins; Sphaerocerid flies, commonly found in animal feces; moth flies, commonly found in drains; fungus gnats, found in house plants; and the cheese skippers. The cheese skipper, also sometimes called a ham skipper, is commonly found in animal products or fungi.

Overwintering flies

These types of flies include cluster flies and face flies. Cluster flies do not consume human food. They are mostly outdoor flies, but they look for shelter in homes over the winter. They breed in discreet areas of the home and may become a nuisance to homeowners as they try to escape the house and travel outdoors during warmer months.

The face fly looks almost identical to the house fly but is dependent on horse or cattle droppings in order to reproduce. As a result, they commonly only infest areas near cattle or barns.

Biting flies

These types of flies include stable flies, horse flies, black flies and biting midges. This group typically feeds on horses, cattle and other animals, although they will also readily bite humans. A number of these flies are capable of causing diseases. Most are found in rural areas or near beaches.

Non-biting gnats and midges

A large variety of these types of flies exist. They do not bite, although some people may have allergic reactions. They typically breed in water and can reproduce in large numbers. They are night fliers. Most prove to be a large nuisance to homeowners, sometimes completely covering homes or vehicles. They can also contaminate fabric, plastics and other stored products.

There are various control methods for managing flies. For help determining the types of flies that are pestering around your home, call a pest management professional.

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