Authors as Published

Eric Day, Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech

Image 1 House Flu Maggot
Life stages of House fly. Maggots are shown top left of image. Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series.


Larvae are soft, worm-like, pale colored maggots. Size: 3/8 to ¾ inch (9.5-19.1mm). Color: Pale.


August is the "house-fly month" for household insect pests. The hot days of July and August will result in a great number of flies by the end of August and September. House flies breed in garbage (primarily), and garbage cans and large trash containers are a likely breeding place for house flies.

Life Cycle

At the height of the summer season, a generation of flies (egg to adult) may be produced in 12-14 days. In Virginia, there might be time for 10-12 generations during a season.

Type of Damage

Common household pest which can spread disease.

Cultural Control

Control of house flies is important. They can and do carry and spread disease. Control should be aimed in two directions: the breeding site and in the house. Plain boiling water is an excellent (and inexpensive) way to kill house fly maggots in garbage cans. Fly paper, fly swatters, and aerosols are the best methods for adult control.

Interesting Facts

Flies rest on objects hanging from the ceiling, especially at night. It has been estimated that the offspring of a single female fly at the end of the ninth generation may reach as many as 1,953,000,000 female flies, to say nothing of all the males produced. Fortunately, all the eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults do not live.

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Publication Date

May 13, 2011

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