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Pest control Cape Town: facts about flies

Flies are some of the most frustrating, difficult to catch and bothersome pests we face in Cape Town. Attracted by food and rubbish in our home, they seem to appear out of nowhere when the summer months roll in. 

While we can do our part to go out and purchase “effective” DIY pest control measures, this often only limits these pests’ presence in our home without actually addressing the reason behind their infestation. In just a few minutes of reading, find some facts about flies. Find out why they plague us, and what pest control Cape Town companies like Pest Managers can do to solve the infestation.

The Pest Control Cape Town List Of Pesky Flies We Find In And Around Our Homes


Most flies live around 30 days, and complete the four life stages of egg, larva, pupa and adulthood. Before launching into the details of why flies may be flooding into your home and disrupting your day-to-day activities, you should know more about the flies you are dealing with and how to recognise them.

The Bluebottle Fly


Scientifically known as the “calliphora vomitoria,” this fly is as unpleasant as it sounds. They are also commonly referred to as “blow flies” and are often found hovering around rubbish bins. These flies are true scavengers, and flock to pet faeces and deceased animals. They are one of many fly species that are known to carry diseases. You can recognise this pesky fly by its iridescent, metallic colours that draw attention to the appearance of coloured bottles.

Adults grow to around 30-36mm in length, and their offspring, or larva, take around 7 to 12 days to fully mature.


The Horse Fly


Horse flies, scientifically known as “tabanidae,” are the bane of every farmer’s existence. Female Horse Flies are known to be relentless biters and especially plague horses, cows and pets. These frequent biting attacks can cause weight loss in many animals. Humans are not safe from the bites of female Horse Flies either, and they can be extremely painful too.

Their mouth parts can be likened to tiny knives that function to slash open skin in a scissor-like motion. Male Horse Flies on the other hand mainly snack on pollen and nectar. Adults usually reach up to 25 mm in length and are recognisable by their black or dark brown colour with black or green eyes. Where males have contiguous eyes, which means “touching” or “together in a sequence,” females have eyes that are widely separated. This makes it easy to differentiate between the two.


The Cluster Fly


Typically dwelling in the undisturbed, quiet areas of your home, such as spaces between the walls and attics or basements, Cluster Flies are suckers for warm places. This is because they need to hibernate over the winter months. On sunnier days, you may notice large groups of these flies near your windows basking in the warm sunlight. Known scientifically as “Pollenia rudis,” these flies are recognisable by their dark olive or grey thorax which is coated in golden or brown hairs.

When at rest, their wings overlap noticeably. You may notice that when in flight, the Cluster Fly almost appears “sluggish,” which makes them slightly easier to swat than your typical house fly.

The Sand Fly


Sand Flies, or “Spiriverpa Lunulata,” are present between April and September, especially in sandy riverbank regions. If you live in such an area, you may have come into contact with these pests that look similar to mosquitos. Female Sand Flies tend to lay their eggs in water or damp soil. In adulthood, the Sand Fly reaches between 10-11 mm in length, and can be identified by their pale grey bodies with bronze or brown eyes. Their legs are a reddish brown color.


The fruit fly.


Most homeowners are familiar with the pesky Fruit Fly. They are found infesting fruit or vegetables or alternatively around pubs, breweries, fruit orchards or vegetable patches. They are scientifically considered a part of the “Drosophila species” and are responsible for compromising the beauty of our fruit bowls. Their flight is characteristically slow and in flight their abdomens hang down noticeably. In fact, they tend to hover rather than fly.


They typically reach lengths of around 3 mm and are yellow-brown in colour with large, bright red eyes.

The House Fly


Scientifically referred to as “Musca domestica,” House Flies are known to be major carriers of diseases, as well as to have the ability to infest all sorts of premises. They are particularly drawn to food, whether this be pet food, human food, animal feed, waste and even faeces. Upon noticing a few adult House Flies, you can assume that there is a potential problem and more will soon follow. House Flies are known to lay offspring incredibly fast, especially in open rubbish bins.


Adult House Flies grow up to around 5-8 mm in length, and are recognisable by their grey thoraxes with 4 thin stripes across them. Their abdomens are usually a yellowish colour and are covered with tiny hairs that are used as taste organs. House Flies have complex compound eyes, which means that they have thousands of lenses that provide them with an incredibly wide field of vision (one reason why they are so difficult to swat).

The Drain Fly


Often found in sewage beds – wherein their larvae feed on sludgy and organic matter – drain flies are around 2 mm in length and tan coloured. They are scientifically known as “Psychodidae” and are also referred to as sewage flies or moth flies. They are also recognisable by their hair-covered wings.

The Lacewing Fly


Lacewings, or “Chrysoperla carnea” in science, are actually considered to be significant predatory flies in greenhouses and interior plantrooms. Their prey are mealybugs, which feed on plants and are known to be pests. Lacewings also hunt and feed upon other pests such as aphids, whiteflies and spider mites. They are active both during the day and night and are recognisable by their fluttering flight pattern.

Lacewings, as suggested by their name, have lace-like, translucent wings and large, pale green bodies. They are around 12-20 mm long and have long antennae that curl over at the top. Their eyes are bright and golden. Because of their pest-hunting tendencies, many do not consider lacewings to be pests themselves, and happily accept their presence in the home.


The dangers of the House Fly


Arguably the most common fly that plagues the homes and businesses of Capetonians, the House Fly, as already mentioned, thrives in filth and spreads dangerous diseases. There are a few reasons as to why you may be experiencing a House Fly infestation. These reasons include poor sanitation and the presence of spoiled food and unsealed rubbish bins in your home or business. The presence of cracks in your windows, walls, and screens as well as the presence of pets also encourage flies to enter your space. This is true no matter how clean it may be. Many agree that the buzzing of a house fly is one of the most repulsive sounds to the human ear.


House Flies are known to pick up a variety of fungi, bacteria and viruses which they then spread via the contamination of food and water. A fly infestation can lead to various health issues in your space. Research has shown that House Flies in particular can harbour at least 65 different illnesses that can infect humans. Many of those can also infect your beloved pets. Some health problems flies can spread include:

  • Dysentery
  • Tuberculosis
  • Food poisoning
  • Anthrax
  • Cholera
  • Typhoid
  • Salmonella

While regular cleaning can certainly limit the areas where flies can breed, sometimes an infestation is not so easy to deal with, especially if they are breeding in your garden and then entering your home. Flies enjoy resting on walls, corners or thin objects during the day. During the night, they seek out areas closer to a food source.

The ugly truth behind DIY fly control methods


When the summer months roll around in the Cape, flies begin to emerge in significant numbers. Many South Africans would prefer to head to the store at the first sight of flies to purchase DIY fly control methods. Instead, they would consult a pest control Cape Town company. Unfortunately, DIY fly control measures, more often than not, are not a solution to the problem, but merely hold off an infestation for a brief while longer. It is not a long-term solution.


Fly zappers, fly strips, repellents or even bags of water are some fly control options available in most stores. However, here are some facts about these DIY methods that may cause you to think twice next time and rather opt for professional pest control Cape Town consultations for your fly infestation:

They cost you more in the long run than hiring pest control Cape Town companies off the bat


While popping into the shop to buy a bug spray or zapper may seem like the more economical viable option in the moment, hiring a pest control Cape Town company may cost less at the end of the day. This is because one or two purchases of DIY fly control measures cannot possibly keep the flies away for long. Should you continue this practice, costs will keep piling up before your eyes. Stopping these methods will then result in a sudden return of fly activity.

They are an unpleasant mess


Hanging fly strips and traps around your home or business is incredibly unsightly. They can also produce foul odours as the fly bodies that are caught pile up. Using pest control Cape Town companies such as Pest Managers will help you get rid of your pesky fly problem without compromising the aesthetic of your space. Strips and traps are also full of dangerous chemicals, which leads us to the next point.

They are unsafe


If you have pets or small children roaming about in your space, DIY fly prevention and eradication measures are often not an option. Using chemicals with which you are unfamiliar poses a certain danger. Although your trusted pest control Cape Town company like Pest Managers may choose to use chemicals to get rid of or prevent a fly infestation in your home, you can rest easy with the knowledge that not only are they seasoned professionals who are familiar with the products, but also that the team will prioritise the safety and wellbeing of your family and pets as they do so.

They are largely infective


While purchasing a spray off the shelf may help you kill the flies residing in your rubbish bin, your efforts are akin to using a bucket to empty your swimming pool. Stalling by purchasing your own DIY fly control methods instead of contacting a professional pest control Cape Town company can actually result in the infestation worsening with time.

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