Blow Fly Identification & Prevention

Essential in nature is the decay process of carcasses. Blow flies are often the first insects to arrive after an animal dies.

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Blow flies and bottle flies are medium-sized, robust flies approximately 1/5 of an inch in length and are easily identified by their metallic appearance. Coloration varies mainly from blue, green, and gold to shiny black.

Biology And Behavior

a blow fly up close
  • Blow/bottle flies will lay their eggs on animal carcasses and manure as well as decaying vegetables, grass clippings, and leaves.
  • Their eggs are laid on a suitable decaying organic material, and the larvae hatch out and burrow beneath the surface where they feed.
  • After a few days of feeding, larvae emerge and crawl a short distance away from the breeding source and burrow into the soil to pupate. Adults emerge several days later.
  • The entire blow/bottle fly life cycle can take from 10 days to three weeks, depending on the environmental conditions.
  • Forensic entomologists track these environmental conditions and compare larval development from maggot specimens collected from bodies to help determine the time of death.
  • A single mouse carcass can produce over 100 adult flies.

Blow Fly Prevention Tips

  • The presence of blow/bottle fly adults and larvae inside of structures is usually related to the existence of a carcass, such as a rodent or bird that died inside a wall void, attic, or crawlspace.
  • Pet feces, piles of moist grass clippings, leaves, and poorly maintained garbage cans are excellent sources for blow/bottle flies in a residential setting.
  • Removing the breeding source is the best solution for long-term fly control. However, some carcasses are difficult or unfeasible to locate. In such cases, vacuuming and using removal and crack and crevice dust applications help reduce emerging larvae.
  • Baits, insect light traps, and residual applications to resting sites help eliminate adult populations.

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