Common Fly Species

Flies can regularly be found in homes and businesses across the Philippines. Some species are more common than others and are attracted to different environments suited to their natural habits and lifecycle. Knowing about the size, patterns, seasonality and lifecycle of varying fly species can help identify the most effective fly control methods.

FACT: On average, the adult housefly will live for around 30 days. They go through a complete four-stage cycle that consists of egg, larva, pupa and adult stages.

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House Fly

(Musca domestica)

House flies are significant carriers of disease and can infest all types of premises. They are attracted to all kinds of food, including human food, pet food, animal feed, food waste and even faeces. Seeing adult flies is usually the most common sign of activity and a potential problem. Larvae may also be seen as they crawl out of breeding material to pupate.

Key Facts

  • An adult is 5–8mm in length.
  • Grey thorax with four narrow stripes.
  • Buff or yellow abdomen.
  • It is covered with tiny hairs that serve as taste organs.
  • Complex compound eyes – with thousands of lenses allows them a wide field of vision.
  • 4th wing vein bent, and wingtips slightly pointed.
  • The larva is white and tapers to a point at the head end. There are two spiral “spots” at the hind end, legless and 12 mm in length when mature.


House flies can quickly mature from an egg to an adult. They breed in moist decaying vegetable matter, e.g. in the uncovered dustbin or pet food.

  • Eggs are laid in batches of 120 to 150 and can hatch in 8 – 72 hours.
  • The larvae of House Flies can take 3 – 60 days to mature.
  • Pupae mature in 3 – 28 days.

Once indoors, house flies can be found resting on walls, floors or ceilings. Outdoors can be seen on plants, the ground, fences, compost heaps and rubbish bins.

At night them they prefer to rest near food sources approx. 5 to 15 feet off the ground.

Bluebottle Fly

(Calliphora vomitoria)

Bluebottle flies (also known as Blowfly) can often be seen hovering around dustbins. These scavengers are attracted to pet faeces and dead animals and, as such, are known carriers of disease.

Their name originates from their iridescent colours that are similar to coloured bottles.

bluebottle fly

Key Facts

  • An adult is 1/4″ – 1/2″ in length.
  • Metallic blue colour.
  • Larva — Similar to the house fly larva in all respects except size. 3/4″ when mature. They take 7 – 12 days to mature.


  • Eggs hatch 0 – 18 hrs (partial development may occur within the female).
  • Breeds in most meat derived substances, sometimes cheese.
  • Common pest of dead rodents/birds etc.

Fruit Fly

(Drosophila species)

Fruit flies are commonly found infesting fruit or hovering around fermenting residues found in pubs, fruit orchards & vegetables plots and breweries

fruit fly

Key Facts

  • 3mm in length.
  • Yellow-brown or mottled in colour.
  • Bright red eyes.
  • The abdomen hangs down in flight, which is slow.
  • Tend to hover.


  • They can breed in rotten fruit, unclean drains and even cleaning utensils.
  • Develops to adult in 7–30 days.
  • Adult lives 2–9 weeks.
  • In ideal temperature conditions, fruit flies can complete their development in as little as one week.

Drain Fly


Drain flies are often associated with sewage beds, where larvae feed on sludge-like organic matter. They are also known by various names; drain fly, sewage fly and moth fly are a few examples.

drain fly

Key Facts

  • 2mm in length.
  • Tan coloured body appears grey.
  • Wings densely covered in hair and held tent-like over the body when at rest.


  • Eggs hatch 1–6 days.
  • Larvae 10–50 days to mature.
  • Pupae 1–3 days to mature.

Flesh Fly

(Family – Sarcophagidae)

flesh fly


  • 6-14mm long.
  • Thorax is light grey and has three dark longitudinal stripes.
  • The abdomen is also light grey, spotted with dark patches to give a checkerboard appearance.


  • The lifecycle lasts for 2-4 weeks.
  • The female deposits live larvae on a suitable feeding medium (this can range from spoilt meat or fish, animal excrement, or decaying food waste found in garbage bins).
  • Larvae feed for a few days, then move away from the feeding medium to pupate in adjacent drier parts.


  • They are attracted to decaying wastes, excrement and human foods – making a threat to human health.

Horse Fly

(Family Tabanidae)

Horseflies are a particular pest to livestock. Relentless biting attacks by females can result in reduced weight gain in some animals.

Male horseflies are mainly pollen and nectar feeders and are most active during daylight hours.

Horsefly bites can be very painful for humans too. They have mouth parts that work like miniature knives, which they use to slash open the skin with a scissor-like motion.

horse fly

Key Facts

  • Adults can be up to 25 mm long.
  • Black to dark brown with green or black eyes.
  • The males have contiguous eyes, which easily differentiates them from females, where the eyes are widely separated.
  • Horsefly bites can be very painful.


  • Mating is initiated in the air and completed on the ground. The female then deposits an egg mass, sometimes with a shiny or chalky secretion, which aids in water protection.
  • Eggs are laid in masses ranging from 100 to 1000 eggs on a vertical surface overhanging water or wet ground favourable to larvae development. The eggs hatch in 5–7 days.
  • They overwinter in the larval stage and pupate during the spring and early summer.
  • The adult life cycle is 30 to 60 days.