House Flies vs. Cluster Flies

Flies are an extremely common house pest. Two of the most common problem flies are house flies and cluster flies. Given their common nature, it can be easy to overlook their very relevant differences. As with all types of pests, the differences in their life cycles, feeding habits, preferred living/hiding spaces and potential damage determine the ways in which you can prevent, manage or eradicate a pest problem. Let’s explore the differences between a house fly and cluster fly:

Life Cycles

While house flies hatch in the warm summer months, cluster flies typically hatch in the late summer to early fall. After a house fly hatches, it hatches into a maggot which then feeds off of the food sources around it for up to 5 days before pupating. Alternatively, cluster flies actually seek out an earth worm and act as a parasite to the earthworm for several days before molting and pupating. Furthermore, the typical house fly only has a lifespan of about 15 days to a month, while a cluster fly takes up to 39 days just to reach the mature adult life stage.


Cluster flies and house flies look very similar to one another and are therefore commonly mistaken for each other. Mainly, cluster flies can be identified by the golden hairs on their thorax (between their wings and their head). They are also larger and slower than a house fly, having uniquely checkered abdomens.

What should I do?

Both flies show similar evidence of an infestation in your home. While a winter infestation is most likely to be cluster flies, and a summertime infestation could be contributed to house flies, keep an eye out for these major indicators of a fly problem in your home:

  • Large numbers of flies being present in the home
  • Dark spots in a cluster
  • Huddling of flies near lighted areas like windows
  • Maggots which are found in areas where decaying organic matter resides like the trash can

Regardless of the type of flies that are invading your home, they are a very pesky and unwelcome pest. Keep this nuisance at bay by making sure your home is clean and sanitized. Avoid leaving foods out that can go bad, wrap up organic materials before putting it in the trash and make sure your waste containers are sealed tightly.

If you’re concerned that you may already have a fly problem, contact us today to schedule a free inspection of your home. We proudly offer full-service pest control to the greater Capital District including Albany, Troy, Schenectady, and Clifton Park, NY.

Family Pest Solutions