Adult flesh flies are some of the largest flies and can grow as large as ½ inch long.
Flesh flies are black and light gray with a checkerboard effect on the top of their abdomen. They usually have red eyes and a red tip at the anal area.
Flesh flies are scavengers that spend their lives in and on decaying flesh. They will also inhabit decaying organic materials such as vegetation piles and animal droppings as well as garbage dumpsters. They are very loud, buzzing fliers and are strongly attracted to light.
Flesh fly maggots occasionally eat other larvae but also eat the larvae of grasshoppers and have been known to eat beetles, snails and caterpillars. Flesh flies and their larvae are also known to eat decaying vegetable matter and excrement.
Eggs hatch within the female, and she then deposits living larvae onto a food source – usually an open animal wound or a badly decomposed human or animal carcass. Flesh flies have been known to lay so many eggs on an animal carcass that, when they hatch, the carcass is transformed into a squirming mass of maggots.
Forensic entomologists use flesh flies and their larvae to determine the progress of decomposition at crime scenes. A sudden appearance of flesh fly swarms inside a home could indicate there is a dead animal in the walls, attic or basement.