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Common Fly Species

Flies can regularly be found in homes and businesses across Singapore. Some species are more common than others and are attracted to different environments suited to their natural habits and lifecycle. Knowing about the size, habits, seasonality and life cycle of different fly species, can help to 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

House Fly

(Musca domestica)

House flies are major carriers of disease and can infest all types of premises. They are attracted to all types 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

  • Adult is 5–8mm in length.
  • Grey thorax with 4 narrow stripes.
  • Buff or yellow abdomen.
  • Covered with small 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 wing tips slightly pointed.
  • Larva is white and tapers to a point at the head end. There are 2 spiracle “spots” at the hind end, is legless and 12 mm in length when mature.

Life cycle

House flies are able to quickly mature from an egg to an adult. They breed in moist decaying vegetable matter eg. in 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 matures in 3 – 28 days.

Once indoors, house flies can be found resting on walls, floors or ceilings. Outdoors they 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.


Bush Fly

(Musca vetustissima)


  • 2-6mm long.
  • Similar to the house fly but smaller.


  • Only last 2-5 weeks.
  • Eggs are inserted into the excrement of large animals (especially grazing animals).
  • Eggs usually hatch within a day and the larvae usually leave the feeding medium to pupate in adjacent soil.


  • Adults seek large animals, including humans, and remain on and around them for hours at a time being attracted to sweat, tears, saliva and in cases of grazing animals, faeces.
  • Transmit eye infections to humans and livestock and may also transmit other enteric diseases to humans.

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