fly on a piece of fruit in knoxville home

This is not a question that has a single answer. Do you know that there are over 120,000 species of flies in the world? That's a lot of flies! In North America, we have about 18,000 distinct species. Fortunately, only a small number of these fly species make their way into homes. See if you can find your fly in the list below.

House Fly

This is the most common fly you're going to find in your home. It is a fly species that associates almost exclusively with humans, and human habitations. They can also be found in abundance on farms and ranches, feeding off many of the foods that are easily accessible.

Description: An adult house fly is grey with black lines on its back and a gray or yellow tinted abdomen. The eyes of a house fly are a dull red. Males have eyes that almost touch. Females have eyes that are wider apart. A house fly will typically grow to be about 6 to 7 mm in length.

Fruit Fly

If you've owned a home for more than a few years, you have probably experienced fruit flies. These insects often enter homes within eggs that have been planted on produce bought from a store. But, they are also capable of flying in. Once inside, it doesn't take long for fruit flies to multiple into frustrating clouds of tiny flies.

Description: An adult fruit fly is yellow to tan in color with bright red eyes. But you'll have to look closely to see those eyes. Fruit flies only grow to be about 3 mm in length.

Drain Fly

These flies can be found dotting the walls of bathrooms, cellars, and kitchen areas. They are drawn to rotting organic material and sewage.

Description: This small, hairy fly with its slightly pointed wings might be mistaken for a moth if it wasn't so small. An adult drain fly is typically smaller than 5 mm in length. Its coloration is a mix of tans and gray tones. It's fuzzy appearance makes it difficult to mistake this fly for another household fly pest.

Blow Fly

It is not uncommon for blow flies to enter homes, but they are most often found on farms, in barns, and on property that has livestock and other animals. They are drawn to infest the wounds on animals because they are attracted to soggy, and soiled hair, wool, and fur. They are also prone to feeding on rotting organic matter.

Description: The shiny metallic coloring of this fly makes it stand out, and sets it apart from other flies. Most often, blow flies are green, but they can be other colors. If you are able to examine a blow fly under magnification you will see that it has tiny hairs on its body and legs. An adult blow fly is between 6 and 14 mm in length.

Phorid Fly

This is a fly that prefers rotting animals over rotting vegetables. In a home, it can be found in trash receptacles as well as drain pipes. Since this fly is drawn to compost piles, trash heaps, sewers, and contaminated soil, it can contaminate food prep surfaces and food that is left out.

Description: The characteristic you're likely to notice first on this fly is its humped back. This has led some to nickname phorid flies, humpbacked flies. This is a small fly, only growing to be about 3 mm in length. Next to a fruit fly, a phorid fly will appear much sleeker with much longer legs. It is usually black or brown but may be yellowish tan.

Fungus Fly

Also referred to as a fungus gnat, this is a tiny black fly that can quickly turn into a swarm of tiny black flies inside a home if it is able to find an appropriate food source. Fungus flies are sometimes brought into homes within the soil of potted plants, but they can enter in other ways and they do not need plants in a home to multiply.

Description: Often mistaken for a fruit fly, and on rare occasions mistaken for a phorid fly, this tiny black fly will look like nothing more than a speck stuck to your wall. On close examination, they look more like a mosquito than a fly. It has thin legs and a slender frame, but it is hard to see these features when this fly is usually under 3 mm in length.


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