House Fly


and other filth flies, Order Diptera

Distribution: Throughout Australia

Habitat: Several kinds of non-biting flies can be found in and around homes, food handling establishments, commercial buildings and farms. Filth flies can usually be grouped according to their habits and appearance as houseflies and their relatives; flesh flies; blow flies and bottle flies; filter flies and vinegar (fruit) flies. Flies seek breeding places where garbage, animal droppings or vegetation residues accumulate.

Feeding Habit: Houseflies feed on decaying organic matter such as rotting meat, vegetables, cereals and other putrid food sources such as animal waste. Houseflies do not digest solid particles of food. They consume food by spitting on the food source which extracts nutrients from the surface then suck up the spit, absorbing the extracted nutrients. This spitting action increases the fly’s ability to spread germs and bacteria from one food source to another. The passing of germs and bacteria is a problem especially when the germs are passed onto foodstuff or into skin wounds.  

Life Cycle: A female fly is capable of laying 500 eggs. This amount of eggs will be laid in separate batches from 70 up to 150 eggs per batch. Within one day the larvae (maggots) emerge from the eggs. The larvae feed and live in decaying organic matter. In appearance they resemble grains of rice and are sized between 4-10mm long. Flies transform through three instars whilst in their larval stage of the life cycle. Larvae then crawl to a drier place to pupate. Here they transform into a cocoon that is brown in colour and about 8-10 mm in length. In the final stage of the complete metamorphosis the adult fly emerges from the pupae and almost immediately starts looking for a reproductive mate. The adults live from anywhere between 20 – 90 days depending on the supply of food and climatic variables. 

Interesting Fact: The smaller flies are sometimes mistaken for younger flies. The smaller flies are actually adult flies that are smaller in size due to a lack of nutrition when they were in their larval stage.

Health risks: These flies can be harmful to health, causing annoyance and discomfort. Filth flies are usually scavengers in nature, and many are capable of transmitting diseases to man.

Management: Sanitation is still the best method of controlling filth flies in and around the home and on the farm. Locate and thoroughly clean such places. Dry, spread or dispose of dog, cat or other animal excrement. Do not let rubbish accumulate in the open and make sure rubbish bins have sound bottoms and tight-fitting lids. Good-fitting screens on windows and doors are essential in preventing flies from entering homes and kitchens. Flies often enter houses through cracks and crevices around windows and doors. Treat indoor cracks and crevices with Biflex, Brigade T&O or Bestox. An outdoor barrier spray can be applied to areas where flies rest before entering the house, such as walls in a carport, near porches or under eaves, and around doors and windows.

(Extract from FMC Australasia


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