House Fly


Actual Size:  ¼”

Characteristics: Grayish-black with four black stripes on the thorax.

Legs: 6

Wings: Yes

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Drawn toward manure piles, lawn clippings, compost, and garbage.


  • Breeds in animal waste and decaying organic matter.
  • Live in close proximity to people and are rarely found in the wilderness.
  • Defecate every time they land, spreading bacteria and potential disease.

House Flies in Knoxville TN

Found on every continent except Antarctica, the house fly is one of the most familiar of all insects. House flies are generally found in the greatest numbers during the hotter summer months and generally live in close proximity to humans and animals. These pests breed in animal wastes and decaying organic material, including animal corpses and food waste from which they can pick up bacteria and viruses that may cause human disease. House flies defecate almost every time they land, contaminating food, with the potential to spread disease.

House Fly Habitat

In rural areas, manure piles are often the main source of house flies, and in urban areas, piles of fermenting lawn clippings commonly generate large numbers of flies. Animal manure is a favorite breeding medium for flies with the most important sites being horse manure, human excrement, cow manure, fermenting vegetable refuse, dumpsters and refuse containers, and household garbage. Some species of flies can live and breed in recycling containers, and fly problems are common in recycling centers.

House Fly Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Although house flies do not bite, they are capable of transferring more than 100 different pathogens, including salmonellosis, typhoid, and tuberculosis. Pathogenic organisms are picked up by flies from garbage, sewage, and other sources of filth, and then transferred on their mouthparts, through their vomitus, feces, and contaminated external body parts to human and animal food. They can carry a wide range of germs from filthy breeding sites to the dinner table or spread some diseases within herds or flocks. If you are experiencing a house fly infestation on your property, contact your local fly exterminators for help.