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Cluster Fly, House Fly what’s the difference?


What is the difference between cluster flies and house flies? They are easily confused,  however they are quite different, so let our pest experts give you an insight into differentiating between the two.

Neither fly does particular harm to a household, but cluster flies can cause panic due to their sudden appearance in very large numbers. These pests are capable of crawling through small openings in walls and like to hibernate in secluded parts of houses such as attics and wall voids.

However, with the correct knowledge and products you can make dealing with how to get rid of cluster flies simple and stress free.

Identifying a cluster fly

Here we are going to look in more detail into how you can identify a cluster fly so you can treat the pest much more quickly. In general cluster flies are slightly larger and darker than your common housefly and tend to move more sluggishly.

Adults grow to be 3/8thin length. The appearance of a cluster fly sets it apart from a housefly because it is not metallic in appearance, but instead has yellowish-gold hairs on its thorax and legs. This is a top tip when distinguishing between the two sets of flies.

You can also identify a cluster fly through where they hide in the winter period. They tend to appear in heaviest concentrations in late autumn and early winter, seeking out warm locations to live during the winter period.

Common places for cluster flies to hide are in homes, sheds, between cracks in rocks or underneath a dead or dying tree. In the Spring, they emerge from these hiding places and can be found outside clustering around flowers or fruit, hence the  name.

cluster fly

DIY identifier

  • Appearance– Less metallic and more yellowish around the thorax and legs.
  • Movement– Sluggish movement compared to a housefly.
  • Location– Usually found in protected areas e.g. house, wall cracks, between cracks in rocks.
  • Wings– When resting a cluster fly overlaps it wings whereas a housefly’s remain separate.

Identifying a house fly

Now you know how to identify a cluster fly we are going to provide you with some top ways you can identify a housefly. Houseflies are more common than cluster flies and grow between 5-7mm in length. They feature reddish eyes and their thorax bears narrow black stripes and has a distinct sharp upward bend in its fourth longitudinal wing vein.

You will also notice that the housefly is inactive at night and can be found resting in ceilings, beams, overhead wires and shrubs. Our pest experts recommend keeping a close eye on these areas to prevent an infestation sooner.

Less commonly known, houseflies are limited to a 100% liquid diet and require a source of water to survive indoors whereas cluster flies don’t require such a diet. As mentioned above, when trying to decide what type of fly you have, look closely at the wings as these flies will keep their wings separate.

DIY identifier

  • Appearance– Distinctly grey and feature black stripes along their bodies.
  • Movement- More frantic and faster than cluster flies.
  • Location– Usually found at night in ceilings, beams and overhead wires.
  • Wings– When resting a house fly keeps its wings separate.

Best way to prevent

There are many precautions you can implement to prevent the infestation of cluster flies and house flies and our experts highly recommend you act sooner rather than later. Some of the best ways to prevent cluster flies and house fly infestations are by:

  • Filling in as many cracks and crevices around your home more importantly surrounding doors, windows, along roofs and around vents. We also recommend replacing or repairing damaged screens or doors.
  • Remove any excess waste or rubbish from your home as flies are attracted to such areas.
  • Ensure all doors and windows are tightly fitted as these pests can easily squeeze through gaps or cracks.

Best way to control

Unfortunately, sometimes it can be too little too late to prevent a fly infestation and the only option you have left is to control it. Luckily, we have all the correct fly sprays, traps and other products to control an infestation effectively and quickly.

Some of the best ways to control housefly infestation are by:

  • Using spray based products. Sprays are effective as they can target a much larger area and can be sprayed into cracks and crevices. Our Insecto Super Bug Destroyer is very effective when dealing with flies and controlling them.
  • Using fly papers. Fly papers are a more environmentally friendly method and feature a non-toxic flycatcher made from natural products coated in a special fly attractant.

Cluster flies can be a trickier pest to control but with the correct products and tips they can be dealt with quickly. We recommend controlling cluster flies by:

  • Carrying out a periodic application of bombs and foggers for quick kills. Cluster Fly Smoke Bombs are proven to be very effective but may have to be used multiple times.
  • Using a specialised Cluster Fly Control Kit. This kit contains all you need to control and treat cluster flies in your home.
  • Using an insecticidal spray. Prevent Auto Dispensers are a great way to dispose of cluster flies and last for months. This natural pyrethrum based insecticide releases on a timed basis ensuring the most effective results.

Top cluster fly weapons

Cluster Fly Control Kit

  • All in one kit to control cluster flies

The Cluster fly Control Kit is a handy kit containing everything you need to effectively treat and control Cluster Flies in your home.

Cluster Fly Prevent Auto Dispenser

  • Sale! Cluster Fly Prevent Auto Dispenser

The Cluster Fly Prevent Auto Dispenser is an excellent solution to cluster flies in the loft. It contains a natural pyrethrum based insecticide which it releases on a timed basis.

Insecto Cluster Fly Smoke Bombs

  • Sale! Insecto Cluster Fly Smoke Bomb in 3 different sizes

Insecto Cluster Fly Smoke Bombs are ready to use Insecticidal Smoke Generators providing highly effective control of flying and crawling insects in difficult to reach places, loft spaces or empty greenhouses.

Mini Smoke Bombs (3.5g) x 4 or box of 24 Midi Smoke Bombs (15g) x 2 or a box of 12 Maxi Smoke Bombs (31g) x 1 or a box of 12

Bayer Fly Killer

  • bayer fly spray

Bayer Flying Insect Killer is specially formulated for the rapid control and quick knockdown of nuisance flying insects.

Agralan Sticky Fly Catcher

  • Sticky Fly Catchers In Box

The Agralan Sticky Fly Catcher is a proven and environmentally friendly way of controlling flies. Useful where minimal or no insecticide is desired or allowed.

Insecto Fly Killer Spray

  • Sale! Insecto Fly & Wasp Destroyer Spray

Insecto Fly Spray 300ml is probably the strongest Fly spray available on the UK market. Simply direct the spray at the target and it will kill the pest in an instant.


Cluster flies and house flies are pests which can cause big alarm for households so should not be ignored. We recommend following the above guide to identify the type of fly infestation you have before choosing your products for best results.

If you need any assistance or have any questions feel free to contact us today or get in touch with one of our experts on 01332 340898.

Read more: How to get rid of cluster flies

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