House Fly (Diptera: Muscidae): Biology, Pest Status, Current Management Prospects, and Research Needs

C. J. Geden, D. Nayduch, J. G. Scott, E. R. Burgess, A. C. Gerry, P. E. Kaufman, J. Thomson, V. Pickens, E. T. Machtinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The house fly, Musca domestica L. (Diptera: Muscidae), is a global pest of humans and animals that carries scores of pathogens and costs up to $1 billion per year in the United States alone. Information is reviewed on recognition, distribution, biology, dispersal, and associations with microbes. Particular challenges of managing flies in different animal systems are discussed for swine, poultry, dairy cattle, beef feedlot, and equine operations. Effective fly management requires diligent monitoring and integration of cultural control, especially manure management, with mechanical control, traps, conservation or augmentative biological control, and judicious use of insecticides. House fly is notorious for developing insecticide resistance and its resistance status is summarized as of August 2020. Several critical research needs are identified. Monitoring systems and nuisance/action thresholds need improvement. Faster-killing strains and better formulations are needed to integrate pathogens into Integrated Pest management (IPM) programs. The use of parasitoids remains an inexact science with many questions remaining about species selection and release rates. New attractants are needed for use in traps and attract-and-infect/kill strategies. Screening of new active ingredients for toxicity should continue, including a rigorous assessment of essential oils and other botanicals. Rising global temperatures may affect the balance of the fly with natural enemies. An understanding of the fly microbiome may reveal unknown vulnerabilities, and much remains to be learned about how flies acquire, retain, and transmit human and animal pathogens. System-specific research is also needed to tailor fly IPM programs to individual animal systems, especially in organic and free-range animal production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number39
JournalJournal of Integrated Pest Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science
  • Insect Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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