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House flies are among the most common flying pests in New Jersey. Characterized by large protruding eyes, veined wings and an annoying buzzing, flies can be a persistent nuisance both indoors and out. These scavengers breed on decomposing plant and animal matter including garbage, sewage, dead animal carcasses and manure. Tasting with tiny hairs on their feet, flies buzz from dumpster to table, spreading disease pathogens and creating a health risk wherever they land. Flies are associated with more than 100 disease-causing pathogens including typhoid fever, cholera, dysentery, hepatitis, polio and tuberculosis. Worldwide, flies destroy or contaminate more than $10 billion in food supplies annually.

About 1/2 inch long, the common house fly is dark gray to black. Liquid feeders, house flies regurgitate onto solids, liquefying food so they can absorb it with their mouthparts. House flies lay their eggs on wet organic materials.

Bottle Flies are slightly larger than house flies with a striking metallic coloration. About 5/8 inch long, bottle flies have brilliant metallic green, gold or blue bodies with black legs and antennae. Bottle flies are usually the first insect to reach a dead animal and lay their eggs in carcasses. Forensic pathologists use bottle fly larvae to help determine time of death.

Fruit Flies are colored with distinctive bright, red eyes. Fruit flies are often seen hovering in kitchens or around trash cans. Fruit flies can be a significant problem in residential and commercial kitchens, bars, restaurants and groceries. These small 1/8-inch flies are attracted by moisture and decaying fruits and vegetables, which they eat and use as a breeding ground. 

Drain Flies are small, just 1/4 inch long, are brown to black, their fuzzy moth-like bodies and wings covered with dense hair. Weak fliers, drain flies are capable of flying only a few feet at a time, preferring to hop. They breed in stagnant polluted water and in the slimy organic sludge that accumulates around household drains and commercial overflow pipes and are a particular problem at sewage treatment plants. Adult flies may be observed resting on shower or laundry room walls or hovering over drains or rarely used toilets. Drain flies are often discovered after return from a long vacation.

Drain flies are suspected of carrying numerous pathogens due to their diet of decaying organic matter in drain sludge, garbage cans and animal dung. Dust from their decomposing bodies is known to trigger bronchial asthma. A good deterrent of drain flies is a periodic scrubbing of drain openings and a regular flushing of drains and toilets to prevent water from becoming stagnant.

 


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