Most common species occurring in homes
Housefly (Musca domestica)
Size7 to 12 mm
Lifespan30 to 70 days
Reproduction600 to 1200 eggs; many generations a year
Food ingestionMouthparts evolved into a proboscis, liquefies food
DamageTransfer of pathogens to foodstuffs and contamination through egg deposition
ControlPrevention: fly screens
For systematic control: glue traps and fly baits containing an insecticide


Flies are classified in the order Diptera (two wings). Unlike other insects, they only have one pair of wings. The posterior pair of wings, known as halteres, is club-shaped and used for stabilisation during flight. A special mechanism known as the indirect flight musculature, which uses the tension in the insect's exoskeleton, allows the fly to move its wings very rapidly. This allows the fly to carry out spectacular manoeuvres during flight.

There are several thousand species of flies. Among these species are the greatest pests to man and beast. Flies are also a major factor affecting health. Parasitic worms and numerous pathogenic germs, such as those that cause typhus, cholera, tuberculosis, anthrax and polio, have been found in flies. Flies were also identified as a carrier of SARS in South-East Asia. But flies are also an important part of the ecosystem. They serve as a food source for many other organisms and play an important role as pollinators.

The Housefly

The type of fly found most frequently in homes is the housefly (Musca domestica). Houseflies are between 4 and 7.5 mm long and can be distinguished from other types of flies found in homes by the veins in their wings and four stripes on the thorax. The mouthparts of the housefly have evolved into a proboscis, with which they can only take in liquid food. Houseflies liquefy solids with their saliva.

Occurrence and Reproduction

Houseflies are true cosmopolitans. Houseflies are found wherever there are people, either all year round or solely during the warm seasons, depending on climate.  Houseflies can grow from an egg to a full-grown fly in just two weeks under favourable conditions, a process during which they undergo three wingless larva phases (whitish maggots) and a period of rest (pupation). Flies can reproduce at an incredible rate, which is necessary, given their short life cycles. As many as twelve generations can develop in a single summer. A female can lay up to 500 eggs during her lifetime. A single clutch contains approximately 50-75 eggs. Depending on the surrounding temperature, houseflies can live for more than one month; in cool climates, wintering houseflies can live much longer.


Flies are diurnal and primarily use visual orientation. Their eyes are very large in comparison to their head and, as with all insects, consist of many small lenses (compound eyes). The temporal resolution of the eyes is much greater than for vertebrates, giving flies a faster reaction capacity. Light from the green and red wavelengths attracts flies, as does light in the contrast area between light and dark.  Flies can also perceive ultraviolet light. In contrast to moths, for example, which use airborne signals (pheromones) to communicate over long distances, chemical signals only play a role for flies over short distances. Flies tend to explore their environment haphazardly.

Impact on Health

Flies are not only a nuisance to people and pets. They also spread some dangerous germs and parasites (see above), through their habit of landing on food, as well as on waste and faeces.

Control Measures

In rural areas, manure is a key source of infestation. But garbage bins and rotting grass clippings are also favourite locations for flies.

Flies can be controlled in a number of different ways. Mechanical barriers (screens) can keep them from entering buildings. Flies can be caught in sticky traps, which make use of flies’ natural behaviour patterns. Since flies are attracted to light, transparent glue traps can be affixed to windows; alternatively glue traps with patterns and colours can be designed to attract flies. Bait with an attractant and an insecticide can also be used to control flies (here also the luring effect is enhanced by the use of appropriate colours). In cattle houses, stables and pigsties sticky traps with a large surface area, which attract flies with printed patterns and colours, can be used effectively. Of course, fly swatters are also used to combat individual pests.

Insecticides can also be extensively applied to walls in stables. Natural enemies of the fly can also be used to fight their presence in stables. The predatory larvae of the muscid fly (Ophyra aenescens) feed on housefly larvae.

Aeroxon Window Fly Trap Fruit Design

Non-toxic and odourless glue trap to control flies in domestic situations

Window Fly Trap Fruit Design

Aeroxon Window Fly Trap Transparent

Non-toxic and odourless glue trap to control flies in domestic situations

Window Fly Trap Transparent

Aeroxon Window Fly Screen

For use against flies, mosquitoes, wasps, moths and spiders (washable)

Window Fly Screen

Aeroxon Window Fly Killer –Strips*

Odourless fly bait with food attractant to control flies in domestic situations

Window Fly Killer –Strips*

Aeroxon Fly Swatter

Fly swatter with a flexible head, no marks left on the wall if used properly

Fly Swatter

Aeroxon Fruit Fly Trap

Effective control of fruit and vinegar flies

Fruit Fly Trap

Aeroxon Yellow Sticky Panels

Special, non-toxic glue that will not dry out

Yellow Sticky Panels

Aeroxon Yellow Glue Trap for indoor and balcony plants

Non-toxic and ready-to-use glue trap for the control of harmful flying insects on indoor and balcony plants.

Yellow Glue Trap for indoor and balcony plants

Aeroxon Window Fly Killer – Butterfly*

Decorative, odourless window sticker treated with a bait to control flies in domestic situations

Window Fly Killer – Butterfly*

Aeroxon Window Fly Killer – Ladybird*

Decorative, odourless window sticker treated with a bait to control flies in domestic situations

Window Fly Killer – Ladybird*

Aeroxon Barn & Stable Fly Catcher

Catches up to 10,000 flies

Barn & Stable Fly Catcher

Aeroxon Door Fly Screen

Fine-meshed door fly screen available in anthracite colour for French windows

Door Fly Screen