Blow flies are 1/8” to 5/8” and shiny metallic blue, green or sometimes black. In good conditions (hot and humid) the life cycle from egg to adult is about 7 days. Adults can live 7-20 days and females can lay over 2,300 eggs in that lifetime. Most of these species will develop in meat, animal carcasses, animal feces, or decaying vegetation if a carcass is not available. They are important decomposers of dead animals and other rotting organic material and are usually the first insect to arrive at a carcass. They are most active on warm, sunny days and rest on cool and/or cloudy days. They are highly attracted to lights and indoors they can be found around windows because of the light coming in from them. Sanitation is a big key factor in preventing blow fly infestations. Clean and/or remove dead animals such as birds or rodents, remove animal feces and clean yard debris. Their larvae are frequently used in forensic science to determine facts about a crime scene. Blow fly maggots are also used in “Maggot Therapy” to eat the dead tissue off of the skin of victims of burns or other wounds.
Cluster flies are about 3/8" in length. They are dull, dark gray with short, curled golden hairs on the thorax. They do not have stripes and are non-metallic. They have an unusually sweet smell and will leave a greasy spot when crushed. They will seek out a structure when weather cools to overwinter. They will be found in attics and/or in wall voids where they will receive the most warmth and sunlight. They can be seen throughout winter at times inside homes when furnaces are running. They do not multiply indoors. This is done outdoors. Eggs are laid in soil cracks and hatch in about 3 days. It takes about 30-40 days to become an adult. Adults will typically live for about 15 days.
Drain Fly/ Moth Fly
The Drain Fly or Moth Fly has similar features to that of a moth. It is small and gray in color with short hairs covering the entire body giving it a “fuzzy” appearance and oval wings at a “delta” angle. Within structures, this fly can be found around floor drains, drains of sinks and bathtubs, etc. They feed on organic material in damp areas such as the buildup of sludge around the drains. They can be large in numbers around septic systems and dirty garbage containers. The lifecycle from egg to adult is generally 10-25 days. They are attracted to lights. Pest control is generally not necessary for control. The sludge or filth around drains and garbage containers should be cleaned and spills should be cleaned immediately to avoid buildup.
Fruit Fly/ Vinegar Fly
The fruit fly (vinegar fly) is one of the most common in structures. It is about 3mm in length with bright red eyes. It has a tan to orange body with stripes or rings around the abdomen. They breed in fermenting organic material such as fruit or vegetable juice or overripe/damaged fruit and vegetables. Adults can lay about 500 eggs with the egg to adult life cycle in about 8 days. They are attracted to lights and they are drawn to spilled alcohol, pop syrup, and fruit and vegetable displays. Eliminating the source is critical for control of these flies. Look for buildup in floor drains, dirty garbage containers, cracks around kitchen sinks, spilled juices, overripe fruit or vegetables, etc. Pest control can help with control of the adults, but is generally not necessary. Products that biodegrade the sludge or buildup of organic material in drains can be effective. Using products like bleach or ammonia in drains has no benefit. The best method of control is eliminating the source.
The house fly is a dull gray with 4 dark vertical stripes. They are about 1/8" to 1/4" in length. Under good conditions, the life cycle from egg to adult is about 7 days. Adults can live 15-25 days, with some living up to 60 days. During the day in homes they will rest less than 5 feet from the ground on walls. At night in homes they will rest above 5 feet on walls, ceilings, edges or corners, etc. Their night resting place is usually near their daytime feeding source. They feed on a wide variety of sources from feces to human food. They are attracted to light. Sanitation is a key factor in preventing flies. Remove and clean breading sites such as cleaning away lawn clippings, remove pet feces, and clean outside garbage containers. House flies taste with their feet which are 10 million times more sensitive to sugar than the human tongue.