Vol. 11 Issue 2, Summer 2006
By Rachelle Hill
The common housefly often makes most of us run for our fly swatters. But do we really understand them?
The common housefly (Musca domestica) has only one pair of wings while the typical second wing, a characteristic of other flies, has been developed into halteres or smaller appendages that help to add stability to its flight. Its characteristic large eyes lend a unique look to this insect. Adults usually are 5-8 mm long, and its yellow abdomen is usually hairy.
The housefly’s life cycle begins as one in as many as 500 eggs. It then evolves through all of the typical stages of development: larvae (maggots), pupae, and then adulthood.
The housefly will actually clean itself as seen in the common movements one can observe once they land. They also eat through a process of spitting on food to dissolve it into liquid form.
So are houseflies really as pesky as they seem? While they do carry diseases, they are great food for the spiders in your house and garden, as well as the birds outside.
These natural predators of the housefly aid in keeping their populations in check. So next time you want to get rid of these pesky insects: welcome some spiders into your home.