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Common housefly

Key features

Adults are 6-8mm long. Wing span is 13-15 mm. The thorax is grey with four longitudinal dark stripes. The fourth vein on the wing bends sharply forward, almost reaching the third vein. The sides of the abdomen are yellowish and may be transparent.

A central dark band broadens at the back to cover the final abdominal segments. The pupa is about 6 mm long and may be yellow, brown or black. The larva is a typical maggot. It undergoes larval moults, gradually increasing in size and changing colour from cream to white.

Biology

A female fly becomes sexually mature one to two days after emergence. Eggs are laid a few days after copulation. The adult flies live 1-3 month depending on temperature; during her lifetime the female will produce 400-750 eggs. Eggs are laid in moist, fermenting or puterfying material such as excrement or rotting vegetable matter, especially that with a high protein content. Newly hatched larvae shun the light and tend to burrow into the food material. In fermenting materials, larvae often seek zones of high temperature, as high as 45 °c - 50°c. When mature the larvae leave the breeding site and seek a cooler enviroment, for example in soil. At this stage, wandering larvae may travel considerable distances and may become an accidental inclusion in commodities. The adult fly may travel up to 5 miles in search of suitable development sites. It is attracted by odours. The food requirements of adult flies are mainly for carbohydrates which are taken liquid form having been dissolved by regurgitated digestives juices.

In common with other insects, development times are influenced by temperature, relative humidity, moisture content, quantty and quality of food.The following figures are therefore only a guide and show the hours spent at each stage of the life cycle.


Egg..................................................0.3-2

Larva...............................................3.5-30+

Pupa................................................3-30+

Aldult..............................................30-90


Duration of the life cycle 1-5 weeks. The average length of  life cycle during UK summer is 3 weeks. It is likely that flies overwinter as slowly developing larvae in manure heaps and refuse.


Significance

Houseflies are potential vectors of a wide range of diseases such as dysentry, gastroenteritis and tuberculosis. They can also transmit intestinal worms. They move from filth to food indiscriminately and may therefore move pathogens from dirty to clean areas. Flyspotting is produced when feeding and defecating.


Control

Please call East Lancashire Pest Control on 0800 023 6116