Fruit Fly vs House Fly: Similarities and Differences

Can’t tell the difference between a fruit fly infestation versus house fly infestations? There are several ways to tell the difference between your pest at home versus what you think it might be; just stick to your research! Here we have gathered a lot of information for you already, including how to get rid of your indoor infestations at home. 

Fruit Fly vs. Housefly – Similarities and Differences 

  • Appearance: Fruit flies can often be mistaken for fungus gnats, adult drain flies, cluster flies, or phorid flies (sewer flies). They are tiny with humped backs, one set of wings, and six segmented legs. Adult house flies are similar in size to flesh flies and blowflies at about 6-7mm long and with two sets of wings. 
  • Dietary needs of flies: The fruit fly diet consists of, well, you guessed it, fruit. It may surprise some of you that they eat more than just decaying fruits. It’s the sugar they are after, so you will see them swarming around open alcoholic beverages. Contrary to the fruit fly, the house fly eats everything from your food to your crap, literally. Both types of flies, however, need water to thrive. 
  • Location: While fruit flies are native to more tropical regions, the fly infestation has moved to almost every continent. 

What causes fruit flies? What are they attracted to in my home?

What causes fruit fliesAny source of sugar is food for the fruit fly. If decaying fruit is left out, they will start there and probably move to the garbage can. Likewise, empty bottles (or full and open bottles) of juice, beer, wine, or any sugary drink will draw fruit flies towards them to feast and breed. 

Are fruit flies or house flies dangerous?

In a way, yes, fruit flies and houseflies can be considered dangerous. The bacteria they carry from place to place is astounding. They are known to transmit diseases. Varieties of human, animal, and plant diseases from decaying plants or rotting plant material and houseflies are often found around dead animals and decaying things. In fact, many winged insects can carry everything from eye infections to diarrhea and food poisoning. It doesn’t really matter what type of fly is buzzing around that dead animal. Most flies cause problems as nuisance pests.

Can houseflies and fruit flies bite humans?

Fruit flies don’t have the physical capability to bite humans, so they can’t bite us. However, they have been a skin irritant for some people, causing itchy, red bumps. Houseflies also can’t bite, so it’s more likely a stable (or “horse” fly) or blowflies if a larger fly bites you. Houseflies can drink your sweat, so if it’s a hot day, I can imagine that salty sweat is a meal for them. 

How to get rid of houseflies

First things first: get rid of the problem. Is it that huge pile of really dirty laundry? Is it pet waste? Are your garbage cans full, and you let the fly infestation grow out of control? Get up and go clean the problem. With the problem out of the way, you can use whatever method suits you best:

How to get rid of fruit flies

Like with houseflies, start by removing the source of the problem, which is probably your trash can, dirty dishes, and drain gunk. There are many products for pest control and fly infestation treatment. You need to do what best suits your circumstances. For example, I don’t like using the sticky flypaper because I have gotten my hair caught in it before, and now I have that permanent stigma… One of my favorite home remedies is warm apple cider vinegar with a dash of dish soap; curse those rotten bananas. Some people swear by red wine and dish soap, but you’ve got yourself an at-home fruit fly trap as long as you use a sugary beverage and a dash of dish soap.

Do different types of flies make different a variety of fly nests?

If you want to kill the flies where it counts, go to the source: a fly will lay eggs on rotting food in particular, and the breeding sites will be near water. They are often attracted to garbage and sinks for access to water and around fruits and vegetables. They need to be near their food source. Just do what you can to kill adult flies, and you’ll be under fly control in no time. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are fruit flies baby house flies that turn into adult flies?

No, they are a different genus entirely from one another. 

Will traps for fruit flies work on house flies?

Sure, but they aren’t large enough to be effective pest control against a fly infestation.  

How long do fruit flies live?

fruit fly life cycleDepending on environmental and dietary factors, they live anywhere from two to four weeks. So it’s not just the adults dying you need to worry about; don’t forget about the eggs and maggots crawling around in your garbage cans. 

How about outdoor fly control?

Remember that nasty-smelling candle at camp? That candle helped to keep the bugs away but didn’t seem to work that well. You can avoid different fly species through fly traps and lamps to help control flies. Clean up after yourself to prevent filth flies.


Keep in mind the differences between the flies and that each fly infestation must be treated differently.      

The fly infestation is real, and the first thing you always do is clean! You need to remove the problem at the source and ensure you do everything you can to inhibit any eggs from hatching. There are a variety of flies that live under different yet similar circumstances but don’t leave food out to rot, clean pet waste regularly, and keep a tidy kitchen in particular. 

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