Exploring Different Types Of Flies And Their Characteristics

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Discover the house fly, fruit fly, horse fly, and deer fly along with their sizes, colors, and wing shapes. Understand their feeding, breeding, and migration habits, and explore prevention, traps, and chemical treatments for fly control.

Types of Flies

House Fly

The house fly, scientifically known as Musca domestica, is one of the most common and widespread flies found in human habitations. These flies are typically gray in color with four black stripes on their thorax. Known for their rapid breeding cycle, house flies can quickly infest a space if not controlled. They are attracted to decaying organic matter, garbage, and food scraps, making them a common nuisance in households and restaurants.

Fruit Fly

Fruit flies, or Drosophila melanogaster, are small flies that are attracted to ripe or fermenting fruits and vegetables. These tiny flies are known for their rapid reproduction rates, with females laying up to 500 eggs at a time. Fruit flies are a common sight in kitchens, grocery stores, and fruit markets. Their presence can be particularly bothersome during the warmer months when fruits tend to ripen quickly, providing an ample food source for these pests.

Horse Fly

Horse flies, belonging to the Tabanidae family, are large, robust flies known for their painful bites. These flies are commonly found near water sources and open fields, where they feed on the blood of mammals, including horses, cattle, and humans. Horse flies have sharp mouthparts that can pierce the skin, causing discomfort and sometimes allergic reactions in their hosts. Their presence can be particularly annoying for outdoor enthusiasts, as they are known to swarm around humans and animals.

Deer Fly

Deer flies, also known as Chrysops, are another blood-feeding fly species that can be found in wooded areas and near bodies of water. These flies are known for their aggressive biting behavior, targeting mammals such as deer, cattle, and humans. Deer flies are attracted to movement and carbon dioxide, making them a nuisance for hikers, campers, and outdoor workers. Their painful bites can leave behind itchy welts and potentially transmit diseases.

  • Types of Flies
  • House Fly
  • Fruit Fly
  • Horse Fly
  • Deer Fly

Characteristics of Flies


Flies come in a variety of sizes, ranging from tiny fruit flies measuring only a few millimeters in length to larger horse flies that can be up to an inch long. The size of a fly is often determined by its species and can play a significant role in its behavior and habitat preferences. Smaller flies, such as fruit flies, tend to be more agile and adept at navigating tight spaces, while larger flies, like horse flies, may have a more robust build suited for outdoor environments.


The coloration of flies can vary widely, with some species displaying vibrant hues and patterns while others are more muted in appearance. From the iridescent sheen of a house fly’s wings to the bold stripes of a horse fly’s body, color can serve as a key identifying characteristic for different fly species. Some flies mimic the colors of their surroundings as a form of camouflage, while others use bright colors to signal their toxicity or attract mates.

Wing Shape

One of the most distinguishing features of flies is their unique wing shape. Unlike other insects that have four wings, flies have only two wings, which are connected to their thorax by small knob-like structures called halteres. These halteres play a crucial role in flight control and stability, allowing flies to perform intricate maneuvers with precision. The shape and size of a fly’s wings can also impact its speed and agility, with some species adapted for swift aerial movements while others are better suited for hovering or gliding.

Fly Behavior

Feeding Habits

Flies, being opportunistic feeders, have a wide variety of feeding habits that can sometimes be quite unsettling for humans. They are attracted to decaying organic matter, feces, and even food left out in the open. The house fly, for example, feeds on sugary substances and decaying materials, while the fruit fly is drawn to ripe fruits and vegetables. Horse flies, on the other hand, are known to feed on the blood of mammals, including humans.

  • Flies are voracious eaters, consuming up to twice their weight in food daily.
  • They use their sponging mouthparts to liquefy their food before ingesting it.
  • Flies are known to regurgitate their stomach contents onto solid food to pre-digest it before consuming.

Breeding Habits

The breeding habits of flies are quite fascinating and play a significant role in their population growth. Flies are prolific breeders, with females laying hundreds of eggs in their lifetime. These eggs are usually laid in moist, organic matter, providing a suitable environment for the larvae to develop and feed.

  • Flies undergo complete metamorphosis, with eggs hatching into larvae, then pupating before emerging as adults.
  • The warm, moist conditions of decaying organic matter provide the ideal breeding ground for flies.
  • Female flies are attracted to suitable breeding sites by the presence of other flies and the smell of decaying matter.

Migration Patterns

While flies may seem like common pests found in every corner of the world, they also exhibit interesting migration patterns that are essential for their survival and dispersal. Flies are known to travel long distances in search of food, mates, and suitable breeding sites, contributing to their widespread distribution.

  • Flies can be carried long distances by wind currents, vehicles, and even animals.
  • Migration patterns vary among different fly species, with some being more migratory than others.
  • Flies play a crucial role in ecosystem health by pollinating plants and recycling organic matter through their feeding and breeding habits.

Fly Control Methods


When it comes to controlling flies in your home or business, prevention is key. By implementing a few simple strategies, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of a fly infestation. One of the most important things you can do is to keep your space clean and free of food debris. Flies are attracted to rotting food and other organic matter, so be sure to regularly empty your trash cans and clean up spills promptly. Additionally, make sure to store food in airtight containers and keep your kitchen counters wiped down.


In addition to prevention methods, using traps can also be an effective way to control flies. There are many different types of traps available on the market, ranging from sticky traps to electric fly zappers. When choosing a trap, consider the location where it will be placed and the type of flies you are dealing with. For example, a UV light trap may be more effective for indoor flies, while a bait trap may work better for outdoor flies.

Chemical treatments

If prevention methods and traps are not providing the level of control you desire, chemical treatments can be a more aggressive approach. There are a variety of insecticides available that are specifically designed to target flies. These products can be applied as sprays, baits, or foggers, depending on the severity of the infestation. It is important to follow the instructions carefully when using chemical treatments, as misuse can be harmful to humans and pets.

In conclusion, controlling flies requires a multi-faceted approach that includes prevention, traps, and potentially chemical treatments. By implementing these strategies effectively, you can keep your home or business free of pesky flies and enjoy a clean and sanitary environment.

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