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All about flies: species, biology and curiosities

Moscas na comida

There are several species of flies in the world, but there is one behavior that is common to all of them: the way they feed. The fly cannot ingest solid food, so whenever it lands, it releases a substance on the food to dissolve it and thus be able to ingest it. Since flies are attracted to various types of garbage and rotten food, there is a very high probability of spreading diseases, some of which are harmful to humans.


What are the most common fly species?

In Portugal, there are some popular fly species that we find in the various regions of the country.

➡️ Housefly

A housefly infestation can be harmful, as this species is attracted to litter and manure, transferring small particles whenever it lands on a surface. It is the most common species, due to its ability to adapt to the environment, being responsible for the transmission of more than a hundred pathogenic organisms to humans and domestic animals. Common insecticides are not fully effective in exterminating this species, which is often considered more resistant than cockroaches and mosquitoes.

➡️ Stable fly

Also known as cattle fly, this pest is characteristic of animal breeding spaces. They are, as a rule, larger than the housefly, reaching 2.5 cm in length, with a color between black and dark brown and green or black eyes. This species of fly spends the winter in the larval stage, which is why it is more common with the arrival of heat in spring and summer.

➡️ Blue blowflies

The blowfly is the one that we find near garbage containers. They are known to be carriers of diseases, since they are attracted to meat, animal feces and even dead animals. The blowfly is distinguished by its metallic blue color and yellowish head. The blowfly larvae can penetrate wounds, which makes them dangerous for humans.

➡️ Fruit fly

The fruit fly grows to just 3 millimeters in length and likes sweet liquids including soft drinks, vinegar, rotten fruit, syrup and alcoholic beverages. This type of fly obtains nutrients through fungi and bacteria from which they extract sugars in order to produce eggs. They reproduce in sweet foods or in dirty pipes and cleaning utensils.


🪰 Habits and curiosities about flies

The life cycle of flies has four stages: egg, larva, chrysalis and adult. The lifespan of a female fly is around 30 days and can lay up to 500 eggs (perhaps more in some species). These eggs are laid in decomposing organic substances such as decomposing animals, open pits, garbage dumps, among others. The fly larvae are born about 24 hours later and remain so for 5 to 8 days, when they turn into chrysalis (pupa). About 5 days later, the fly is born.

The adult fly has excellent eyesight and a fair sense of smell. It moves at speeds of 6 to 8 km/h and has diurnal habits: it rests during the night and is active during the day. Rapid reproduction in flies makes this insect one of the most common pests , both in cities and in the countryside. Learn how to deal with a fly infestation here .