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Flies breed in animal waste and decaying organic material from which they can pick up bacteria and viruses that may cause human diseases!


House Fly
House Fly, Larvae (Maggots), Pupa

               HOUSE FLY

The House Fly is probably the most common fly found throughout the world.  It is readily found in and around the dwellings of man and his livestock.  A prolific breeder, the house fly is a medium sized gray fly about 1/4 inch in length with four dark stripes on it's thorax.  The house fly is easily confused with the face fly which also infests structures.

House flies breed in "decaying organic matter" (garbage, fresh animal manure, compost, etc.).  Adult flies feed on a variety of foods including manure, garbage, rotting fruit and just about any food man eats.  The adult house fly has sponging mouth-parts and eats by regurgitating fluids onto its food.  These fluids dissolve the food and the fly sponges up the resulting mixture.

House flies are strongly suspected of spreading disease-causing organisms.  Just the fact that they could have been feeding in garbage or on manure before landing on food is cause enough for concern by health officials.  For this reason, the house fly is a significant concern for virtually everyone, but particularly sanitarians, restaurateurs, hospital administrators, and food manufacturers.

Most of the efforts to control house flies involve non-chemical methods.  The keys to control flies in or around homes or others structures are: Sanitation, Exclusion, Treatment of Fly Resting Areas, Fly Baits, Light traps, and ULV Treatments.

Fruit Fly


Fruit Flies are small flies measuring about 1/8 inch in length including the wings.  The head and thorax are tan colored with the abdomen somewhat darker.  A key character is its bright red eyes.  These red eyes, help distinguish this fly from the Phorid Fly which is similar in appearance but does not posses the red eyes.

Fruit flies are found throughout the world and may also be known as Pomace flies or Vinegar flies.  The Fruit fly is considered a significant pest when found in food producing or food handling facilities.  It breeds in and feeds on ripened fruits and vegetables, as well as moist, decaying organic matter.  Because it frequents such unsanitary areas, it could potentially carry disease-causing bacteria onto food products.

The key to Fruit fly control is to find the breeding sources and eliminate them.  This is many times easier said than done.  When searching for the breeding sources of fruit flies, keep in mind that the larvae can survive only in decaying organic matter which is moist.  The obvious choice is fruits and vegetables.  A second source is trash containers or recyclable containers which are not cleaned regularly.  Additionally, floor drains are also a common breeding site.  However, the Phorid or moth fly will most likely be found in drains.  The regular cleaning of floor drains is crucial in preventing infestations of fruit flies and several other flies.  Bleach and hot water, WILL NOT eliminate fly larvae breeding in a drain.  This is accomplished by using a stiff drain brush and an industrial strength drain cleaner or specially formulated bacteria cleaner.

The application of any residual insecticides for fruit fly control is rarely, if ever, necessary.  The best method for eliminating an infestation of fruit flies is to find and remove all actual breeding sources and all potential breeding sources.

Green Bottle Fly
Green Blow Fly with Maggot


Blow flies are sometimes known as blue or green bottle flies.  They generally range from 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, and are characterized by metallic blue, green or copper colored bodies.  In urban areas they are sometimes more abundant than house flies.  These flies are often flying up and down in a window, making their characteristic buzzing sound. 

Blow/Bottle flies are scavengers who deposit their eggs on decaying organic matter such as: decaying meat, fish, garbage, fecal matter and dead animals. The bluebottle and greenbottle flies, lay their eggs almost exclusively in dead or rotting flesh.  They are usually the first insects attracted to a fresh carcass, sometimes within minutes of death: they are attracted by organic odors of decomposition.  The eggs are most ofter laid around natural body orifices or open wounds, and the larvae (maggots) molt and pupate at predictable rates for any given temperature and humidity condition.   It is for these reasons, the blow/bottle flies are so important in forensic pathology.  Maggots and the hollow cases left behind after adult flies emerge collected from a body can be used to determine, sometimes very accurately, the time of death.

Small numbers of bottle/blow flies in a structure usually point to an outdoor source.  If large numbers of these flies are found indoors, it may point to a sign of an indoor infestation.  Indoors, look for a sign of dead rodents or birds that may have been living in walls or crawl spaces, or even living in lower cabinets and under major appliances.  Outdoors, inspect the area for dead animals: any nearby dumpsters or other garbage containers.

Blow fly / Bottle fly control includes: sanitation, exclusion, baiting, and surface sprays.  However, the materials on which these flies deposit their eggs are the key in their elimination:  find and eliminate these sources!

Cluster Fly


Cluster Flies are medium sized flies measuring about 1/4 to 3/8 inch long.  Although they belong to the same family as blow flies and bottle flies, cluster flies are dark gray in color rather than metallic blue or green.  The key identifying character of these flies is the presence of golden yellow hairs on the front top of the thorax.  Cluster flies hold their wings flat over their backs while resting and the wing tips overlap.

Cluster flies are parasites of earthworms and breed outdoors in lawns and fields. Cluster fly females lay their eggs singly in cracks in soil.  The eggs hatch in three days and the larvae seek out earthworms which are their source of food.  the larvae burrow into the earthworm and feed for a period of up to 22 days.  The pupal stage last from 11-14 days upon which the adult emerges.  Adult flies feed on flowers.

During most of the year, cluster flies are not a problem in structures.  It is only when fall approaches that they begin to enter structures in large numbers.  Cluster flies begin to seek protected overwintering sites in late August and September.  As daytime and evening temperatures begin to drop, the adult flies will be attracted to the warm walls of buildings.  The walls on the south and west sides of building are the ones usually affected because the late summer sun shines most on these sides.

Cluster flies can squeeze into amazingly small cracks.  They have been known to squeeze around the edges of windows that were considered weather-proof.  As the number of flies increases, large "clusters" of flies will huddle inside wall voids, attics, and false ceilings.  Most infestations occur in the upper regions of buildings such as the attic of a home.  In multi-story buildings, these flies are most likely to be found on the upper two or three floors and almost always on the south and west sides of the building.

The flies stay inside the voids in which they are "hibernating" for the winter.  When unseasonably warm weather occurs during the late fall and winter, some flies become active, believing that spring has arrived.  Because they have just "woken up" the flies are sluggish and fly about slowly.  They are strongly attracted to light, so they are usually found around windows.

The key to controlling an infestation of cluster flies is to find the voids in which they are overwintering and treat the voids.  This is easier said that done and, in most cases. all of the overwintering voids cannot be located.

Flesh Fly


Flesh Flies are generally large, gray flies which have a checkerboard patternon the top of their abdomen.  Its pro-thorax has three dark stripes unlike the house fly's which has four stripes.  As their name suggest, flesh flies primarily breed in animal carcasses.  Like blow flies and bottle flies, these flies are usually the first insects to arrive at a carcass after and animal dies.  Forensic entomologist use the larvae of flesh flies collected at the site where a murder victim is found to help pinpoint the time of death.

Flesh flies generally do not infest structures in large numbers or with any regularity.  Flesh flies will be attracted to buildings by odors emitted from the dumpster or the building itself.  Rendering plants and meat processing facilities may attract more flesh flies than other facilities such as a hotel or hospital.

Occasionally, a large number of flesh flies will suddenly appear in a particular area inside a building.  These flies are most likely breeding inside a dead rodent or bird inside a wall, false ceiling, or attic.  Finding the dead animal is often very difficult because it has been dead several weeks by the time the flies appear.  If a dead animal odor is present, it may help narrow the search area.

Most of the efforts to control flesh flies involve non-chemical methods.  Finding and removing the source is the best remedy.

Horse Fly
Deer Fly


Horse Flies and Deer Flies are biting flies!  Bites can occur on any part of the body and are very painful.  The bite of large horse flies can even result in visible, bleeding wounds.  Adult females feed on animal blood.  The male flies feed on nectar in flowers.
Horse Flies are generally large flies which are usually brown or black in color.  The eyes of horse flies are very large and are often colorful or iridescent.  The mouth-parts of these flies are piercing/sucking in design and extend sword-like from the bottom of the head.
Deer Flies are closely related to horse flies and are generally somewhat smaller.  The most common species are tan or brown in color and the wings have dark markings on them.  Like horse flies, deer flies have piercing/sucking mouth-parts.
Horse flies and Deer flies are rarely a significant problem inside homes.  They are commonly found inside large commercial buildings, especially warehouses, where overhead doors are left open to allow ventilation.
Control of these flies outdoors is impossible because of the nature of the breeding sources.  If these flies enter a building and are causing problems, the best control method is exclusion. 
The best way to deal with Horse Flies and Deer Flies that have managed to enter a building is with... Insect Light Traps.

Stable Fly


The stable fly is a medium sized gray fly about 1/4 inch in length which closely resembles  the house fly.  Like the house fly, a stable fly has dark stripes on its pro-thorax.  The primary difference between the two is in the type of mouth-parts found extending from the bottom of the fly's head.  The stable fly has a long, stiff proboscis which is designed for sucking blood from animals.  A house fly's mouth-parts end in a sponge-like bulb which is used to soak up liquid foods.

Stable flies are biting flies which will readily seek out and bite people, pets, and other mammals.  Bites usually occur around the ankles and lower parts of the legs and are very painful, feeling like a stab of a needle into the skin.  Stable flies will readily attack people indoors as a person would be the only likely food source inside.  Outside, bites on people occur when stable flies are numerous and other, more suitable animals are not in the vicinity.

The stable fly gets its name because it is most common around stables and livestock holding areas.  Along the ocean, stable flies breed in seaweed washed up on the shore.  This has resulted in them being called "Beach Flies".

Most of the efforts to control stable flies involve non-chemical methods.  The pest control professional can only do one thing to help lessen the number of stable flies which could enter the buildings.  Surfaces such as walls and the ground next to doorways and other surfaces where stable flies might land to rest should  be treated with a residual insecticide.  Flies that land on these surfaces will be killed, reducing the number of flies entering the building.

A good way to deal with stable flies that enter a building is with "insect light traps".


Moth/Drain Fly


Moth flies are small flies up to 1/8 inch in length including the wings.  They are usually black in color.  The key identifying character for the moth fly is the unique pattern of veins in its wings.  The entire body and wings of the moth fly are covered with tiny hairs giving it a moth-like appearance.

The moth fly primarily breeds in drains which is why it is commonly called the "Drain Fly".  Breeding in drains, brings this fly into close contact with potentially disease-causing bacteria.  This could result in these organisms being carried onto food products or into sterile areas in hospitals.

Finding the breeding sites of moth flies is critical to eliminating them.  For drains, use a knife or screwdriver to scrape the film off the sides of the drain and examine it for live larva.  Occasionally, drain pipes will break under slab floors or between floors in commercial buildings.  Moth Flies can breed in large numbers in the organic debris deposited through the break in the pipe under the slab.  Sump pump pits and sewers are prime breeding sites for moth flies.  Also, inspect the pits of elevators for signs of excessive moisture or standing water.  In homes, moth flies are generally found breeding in bathroom drains, particularly those in showers.  Moth flies also breed in crawl spaces which are damp or have a drain pipe leaking into the crawl.

Regular cleaning of floor drains is crucial in preventing infestations of moth flies and several other flies.  Bleach and hot water WILL NOT eliminate fly larvae from breeding in a drain.


Phorid/Humpback Fly


Phorid Flies are small flies up to 1/8 inch in length including the wings.  They are usually tan to dark brown in color.  A key character is the severe arch or humpbacked shape of its thorax compared to its small head, thus it is also known as the "Humpbacked Fly".  Also, the wings of a phorid fly have two heavily sceloritized (dark) veins at the top of the wing that appear to have short little hairs on the edges.

Adult flies have a peculiar habit of running rapidly along surfaces instead of immediately flying when disturbed.  This fly breeds primarily in and feed on moist decaying organic matter.  Because it frequents such unsanitary areas, it could potentially carry disease-causing bacteria onto food products.  These flies are also referred to as "coffin flies" when found in mortuaries and mausoleums. Phorid flies are of particular concern in hospitals and other health facilities.

Finding the breeding sources and eliminating them is the key to controlling a phorid fly infestation in a building.  This is many times easier said than done.  When searching for the breeding sources of phorid flies, keep in mind that the larvae can survive only in moist, decaying organic matter.  The first spot that should be checked are the floor drains.


Fungus Gnat


Fungus gnats are generally small flies with long legs and long thin wings.  Most species are 1/16 of an inch long,  although a few species may be 1/4 inch or larger.  Most species are black.  The larvae feed on fungus growing in the soil and moist organic matter.  When soil stays moist, it allows fungi to grow.  The adult flies lay eggs in such soil and the larvae hatch soon after.  The larvae feed on the fungus for a time before pupating.  Adult flies emerge a few days later and repeat the cycle. 

Indoor infestations of fungus gnats are almost always connected to the soil of potted plants or atriums.  When the plants in these areas are over-watered, the conditions in which fungus gnats can breed and survive are created.  When the fungi on which the larvae feed is present, then an infestation could occur.

  Finding and eliminating the breeding sources are the keys to solving fungus gnat infestations. 

The fiirst place to check is the soil in potted plants and atriums.  If the soil is very moist it could be a breeding source for fungus gnats.  The presence of adult fungus gnats around these plants is an indication the soil inder the plants may be a breeding source.  It is very difficult to find or see larvae of these flies in the soil.  If no planter or atrium areas are found to be breeding sources inside, the gnats may be entering the building from the outside.  Inspect the soil and mulch outside near doors and windows.  Check to see if adult gnats,  like the ones found inside are present on the plants or around the windows.  Because fungus gnats are attracted to lights, occasionally the exterior lighting on the building may be attracting fungus gnats from surrounding areas.    Indoors, fungus gnat are often found flying to the light around windows and lamps.

If a water leak or moisture problem is present inside the building, fungus gnats could breed in the area if fungi is growing.  Look for signs of excess moisture such as water stains, swelled wall coverings, drywall, or peeling paint.  Buildings with flat roofs are prone to roof leaks.  Fungus gnats have also been found breeding in bird feces when it is not cleaned up regularly.

Don't stop looking when one breeding source has been found.  In many cases, several reeding sources may be present.  The control of fungus gnats in a building involves locating the breeding sources and removing them or changing the conditions of the breeding site so that the gnats cannot survive.  In most cases involving potted plants and atriums, allowing the soil to dry out kills the larvae in the soil.  It may be necessary to rake the top 2-3 inches of soil to speed up the drying process. 

In many commercial buildings, a plant management company is hired to care for the plants.  Usually the plant management company owns the plants and are leasing them to the building. You should consult the plant management company regarding the infestation.

The application of residual insecticides inside for fungus gnat control is rarely, if ever, necessary.

When the breeding source for the adult flies is outdoors, a perimeter treatment with residual insecticide to the soil of the infested area may be necessary.  Cracks around the windows and doors should be sealed and doors kept closed.  If exterior lights are attracting fungus gnats to the building, changing the lights to sodium vapor lighting may be helpful.

Insect light traps are useful in attracting and trapping fungus gnats.  Light traps, by themselves, will not eliminate a fungus gnat infestation, but they can provide some relief from adult gnats until the breeding sources can be located.


Black Fly


Most species of adult black flies are about 1/8 inch long with broad clear wings without hairs or scales and with heavy veins.  The middle body section is strongly convex, giving a humpbacked, gnat-like appearance.
Certain species of adult black flies are fierce biters, whereas others are strictly a nuisance by their presence around one's nostril, ears, arms, hands, and other exposed skin areas.  These flies can discourage people from remaining in or visiting certain recreational areas for fishing, swimming, camping, hiking, golf, etc., when the black fly season occurs.  Children are especially susceptible and may be severely bitten while adults in the same area may be scarcely aware of the flies.
Black flies often occur in enormous numbers in the early summer months.  Bites can be extremely painful, and their mouth-parts are somewhat similar to those of a horse fly in the female.  On people, they crawl into sleeves, under neck-bands, around boot tops and other vulnerable places.  Bites can cause swelling and numb soreness for many days.  The black fly usually bites during the day, outdoors.  They do not bite indoors or late at night.  They are attracted to mammals by carbon dioxide and moisture in exhaled breath, dark colors, convection currents, perspiration, perfumes, toiletries, etc.
There is little that the homeowner can do to control black flies.
Some avoid outdoor activities during the black fly season.  The best methods of control are directed toward reducing the number of black fly breeding areas.




Occasionally during April, May, and June, homeowners become alarmed by large swarms of gnat-like insects sometimes confused with mosquitoes.  These non-biting MIDGES are found near lakes, ponds or streams and may "dance" in swarms over the water.  Most occur in huge swarms or small compact mating swarms.  After sunset, adults become active and fly to night-lights, entering structures through the slightest of openings.  Piles of eight to twelve inches of dead midges may accumulate in unwanted places.  A stench similar to dead fish may be observed. 

There are also biting midges, which are very tiny insects (sometimes called "no-see-ums"), that suck blood from humans, mammals, reptiles, and other insects.  Bites can cause itching and, in sensitive individuals, welts and lesions that can persit for several days.

Non-biting midges are small (1/8-inch to 1/2 inch long), delicate, mosquito-like, but lack scales on their wings.  Adults are humpbacked, brown, black, orange, or gray, lack a long beak, and males have  feathery antennae.  Most of their larvae live in fresh water while others are found in very moist soil, in wet moss, and under damp bark.  Most larvae feed on algae or small aquatic plants.

Biting midges, punkies or no-see-ums are very tiny (less than 1/4 inch long), slender gnat-like flies.  Some have narrow spotted or clear wings.  The larvae are tiny, whitish, elongated, or worm-like, and are found in sand, mud, decaying vegetation, and water in tree holes.

During peak emergence, extremely large populations of non-biting midges create much annoyance simply by accumulating in freshly applied paint, hanging on to outdoor laundry, clustering on screens, etc.

Biting midges, punkies or no-see-ums are found especially along the seashore and the shores of rivers or lakes.  Their small size is responsible for the name "no-see-ums" and their bite is far out of proportion to their size.

No control measures for midges are entirely satisfactory when large bodies of water are nearby.

Locating the source of breeding is the best method of control.

If possible and practical, locate standing water on your premises and eliminate it.  Check stagnant, polluted water accumulating in bird baths, clogged rain gutters, water-holding tree stumps, flower pots, old tires, etc.  Houses and buildings with outside lighting will attract large numbers of non-biting midges.  Move light away from sensitive areas such as doorways, windows, patios, etc.

Biting midges apparently do not travel far from the place where the larvae develop, and one may often avoid punkie attacks by simply moving a few yards away.


Crane Fly
Bird feeding Crane Fly to young

         CRANE FLY

Crane Flies are mostly large flies which resemble overgrown mosquitoes, although some species are fairly small.  The body is thin and elongated and they do not have biting mouth-parts.  The extremely long legs, which are easily broken off. 

These flies breed in damp habitats with abundent vegitation.  They can be very common outside of buildings during the spring and summer, sometimes in very large numbers.  Occassionally, a few crane flies will enter a building.  However, they can not survive long inside and pose no threat of breeding inside.

When crane flies are found inside a building, it is usually because a doorway remains open for a period of time or some other opening allows them to enter.  A quick walk in the grass along the exterior of the building will determine whether large number of crane flies are present outside.  These flies may also be attracted to outdoor lights on buildings.

Control of crane flies is not necessary except in extreme cases involving large number of flies.  If these flies enter a building and are causing problems,

"The best method is exclusion"

Doors and windows need to be kept closed unless proper screening is installed.  Overhead doors should be fitted with a screening device if it is to be kept open for ventilation.



A dragonfly is an insect characterized by large multifaceted eyes, two pair of strong,  transparent wings, and an elongated body.  Dragonflies are similar to Damselflies. 
Dragonflies typically eat mosquitoes and other small insects.  They are valuable predators, since they help control populations of harmful insects. 
Dragonflies are usually found around lakes, ponds, streams and wetlands because their larvae known as "nymphs", are aquatic.  Adult dragonflies do not bite or sting humans, though nymphs are capable of delivering a painful but harmless bite.
Dragonflies were know as the "devil's darning needles" because it was believed that they would sew the lips of wicked children together while they were sleeping.  And it was thought that dragonflies could bring snakes back to life.  As a result, they were also know as "snake doctors."
Despite their appearance, rapid speed, and "ratting" approach, dragonflies are harmless to humans.  The clasper at the end of the abdomen of the insect is often mistaken for a stinger.  The male actually uses it to hold onto the female dragonfly when mating!

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