The adult house fly reaches ¼ inch long.
House flies are dark gray and easily distinguished by the pattern of wing veins, four dark longitudinal stripes on the top of the thorax, and the yellow sides of the abdomen on the males.
The house fly got its name from its common occurrence in homes, particularly during more rural times when horses and livestock were used as transportation. House flies are found just about anywhere there are humans and often swarm near garbage piles and manure. They are considered a health risk and should be eliminated whenever possible.
House flies eat a wide variety of food including human food, animal food, carcasses, garbage and excrement. They cannot eat solid food and have spongelike mouthparts that they use to suck up pre-digested, liquefied food.
The house fly breeds prolifically, with females laying anywhere from 350 to 900 eggs in their lifetime, with a record of 2,400 eggs from a single female fly. The interval from egg to adult fly can be completed in less than one week under warm, moist conditions, and there can be many generations each year. Adult flies live as long as 54 days and females mate multiple times. Breeding sites include any moist, decomposing organic material, such as lawn clippings, manure, animal waste, soiled garbage containers, outhouse receptacles, and decomposing plant materials.
These flies are inactive at night and rest on ceilings, beams and overhead wires within buildings, trees, and shrubs, various kinds of outdoor wires, and grasses. House flies can transmit more than 100 different pathogens.