150808 Call now Request a callback

How Does Housefly Spread Diseases?

There are at least more than 150,000 species of flies found in the world, while houseflies probably belong to the common group of fly species that are widely widespread and infest a home and business.


More than just annoying and irritating insects which you commonly witness landing on your favourite foods and kitchen utensils at home; houseflies can act as indicators of the dangerous bacteria present in the business environment.

From a business perspective, it is believed that diseases carried by houseflies will have a negative impact on both customer and staff health, resulting in damages to income, brand reputation, and staff retention.

Let’s find out the reasons why house flies are such dangerous pests than we ever thought.


What are the diseases caused by houseflies?

On top of being the most common fly pest around the home and business property, houseflies (Musca domestica) are also noticeable for spreading bacterial diseases and infections to humans just as terrible as rats and cockroaches do!

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), houseflies are capable of transmitting at least 65 diseases to humans, including diarrhoeal diseases and skin and eye infections.

Houseflies are known to carry serious and life-threatening diseases, including:

  • Cholera
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Dysentery
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Salmonellosis
  • Shigellosis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Typhoid fever

study also proved that house flies can transmit foodborne pathogens and their associated toxin and resistance. Areas in close proximity to animal production sites are at higher risk of accumulating foodborne diseases from flies.

How do houseflies spread their disease?

Unlike the other flying insects such as mosquitoes that are transmitting disease through direct contact to your body, houseflies are not categorized as biting insects and are indirect rather than direct vectors of diseases.

Houseflies can transmit or spread the disease to humans in 2 ways, including:

  • Feeding habits
  • Breeding habits

Housefly feeding habits


Houseflies often feed on rotting and decaying organic matter, including human and animal faces. When a housefly feasts on a food source infected with bacteria, viruses, or parasites they accumulate the pathogens within their esophagus or digestive system.

Unlike other pests, houseflies don't have mouths and teeth or even stingers to bite and chew solid foods. However, they have a long tongue or called a proboscis to feed on liquid or semi-liquid substances.

When it comes to solid food they will regurgitate a liquid consisting of saliva and digestive juices which breaks down the food into a liquid substance, allowing them to feast. Due to this feeding habit, any microorganism living in their oesophagus will be transmitted to the item they are consuming. Similarly, any bacteria living within their digestive system can infect items they defecate on.

Learn more about what do flies eat here

Housefly breeding habits


Houseflies are rarely breeding inside a building structure and prefer to breed in dirty places that are not being conserved. Some of the breeding grounds for house flies, including:

  • Garbage
  • Decaying organic materials
  • Sewage sludge and solid organic waste in open drains
  • Fermenting or rotting fruits and vegetables

In referring to their filthy breeding, houseflies can also transmit pathogens by physical means. Areas where they feed, the food items themselves, as well as their preferred breeding sites, can be infected with pathogens.

Because of this houseflies can pick up particles containing bacteria and viruses on the tiny hairs on their legs and body. When a fly lands on a human food product or any other item, any pathogen which is in the attached particles can easily be transmitted to where it lands.

How can you catch a housefly-transmit disease?

The most common form of disease transmission by housefly:

  • Using contaminated cooking utensils, cutlery, and eating utensils
  • Consuming any food or drink which a house fly has regurgitated, defecated, urinated, or landed on
  • Direct contact by touching an infected product then touching your eyes or open wounds such as scratches and sores

How to prevent the spread of disease by the housefly?

Preventing flies from becoming a problem can be done by taking some proactive measures to reduce the presence of flies in and around your home or business, including:

  1. Maintaining food hygiene
  2. Eliminating breeding sites
  3. Contacting a professional pest control company

1. Maintaining food hygiene

Following correct food hygiene practices can help prevent the spread of housefly diseases. This can be done by ensuring:

  • Raw ingredients are stored in a hygienic manner and fruit and vegetables are thoroughly washed before use
  • Cooking and eating and drinking utensils are properly cleaned before and after use
  • Food preparation areas and processing machinery are kept to a high standard of hygiene

2. Eliminating breeding sites

Eliminating the common housefly breeding sites will reduce these filthy pests to picking up disease-causing microorganisms and also help reduce the flies themselves.

  • Garbage – A proper waste management system should be in place to ensure waste units aren’t overfilled and are regularly emptied. Bins should have a tight lid secured at all times and units should be regularly cleaned.
  • Excrement – Washrooms should be regularly cleaned and all pipes should be running smoothly to reduce build up and overflow. Flyscreens should be installed over ventilation covers and drains to prevent house flies from entering.

3. Contacting a professional pest control company

The most efficient way to prevent house fly diseases is to enlist the help of a professional pest control company.

  • To engage proactive services and solutions both control and prevent a fly infestation
  • To take preventive measures for peace of mind

How does Rentokil help you to get rid of flies?

Developed with innovative patented LED technology, Rentokil’s Lumnia range of insect light traps are designed to attract, kill and encapsulate insects hygienically, eliminating the risk of contamination.

Lumnia Family

The Lumnia range is purpose-built for a range of internal environments across food processing facilitieshotels and restaurants bound by strict legislation and regulation requirements.

  • Proven catch rates – High attraction output LED lamps are optimised for best-in-class fly catch rates. Units feature purpose-build modes to monitor the surrounding environment.
  • Modern and versatile designs – High-performing units in a sleek design which fits seamlessly into your business environment; offering a lower-glare from LEDs and reduced visibility of caught flies from customers.
  • High energy efficiency – Several energy modes that adapt from day to night, LED directional light emission reduces energy consumption by 61% on average.

Do you have any fly problems? Contact Rentokil today for immediate advice and assistance. We are here to help.