In warm, humid climates like we have in Houston, flies can be a real nuisance. When they invade your home, you want them gone as fast as possible. In this article, we discuss four types of flies common to our area, where they come from, and how to deal with them.
Types of houseflies
House flies are perhaps the most common flying pest in our homes. These are a half to a third of an inch in length, black or gray in color, and have translucent wings. They are attracted to garbage cans, animal feces, and fresh food.
Blowflies, also known as bottle flies, are much less common indoors, but far more annoying when they appear. Similar in appearance to house flies, these are a bit larger and slower moving. Blow flies are usually associated with dead animals.
Drain flies are small brownish-black flies with dark wings and a furry, almost moth-like appearance. They tend to swarm in damp locations like kitchen sinks, showers, laundry facilities and fish tanks.
Fruit flies are tiny gnat-like flies that you typically find hovering around your kitchen like a cloud around fruit on countertops and compost bins.
Where do flies come from? Where do they lay their eggs?
Houseflies typically begin their lifecycles by laying eggs outdoors and then they sneak inside through open windows or doorways in search of new food sources. If they can find food and suitable locations to lay eggs indoors, they may breed inside the house, becoming an even bigger nuisance.
When blowflies show up inside a home, there’s likely a dead rodent or another small animal in a crawl space, inside the walls, in a vent, or in the attic. The homeowner may not even know of the presence of the dead animal until the flies appear.
Drain flies love the organic sludge that builds up in pipes, where they breed. However, they can also be a problem for people with aquariums, as the openings in the tank filtration systems provide a perfect mix of moisture, food, and media in which to lay their eggs.
Finally, fruit flies can enter the home from outdoors, but more commonly their larvae enter your home as hitchhikers on your fresh produce. Because they like rotting fruits and vegetables, they may also breed in compost and garbage cans.
Getting rid of flies
For most types of flies, sanitation, and regular housekeeping helps prevent infestations. Beyond that, here are some easy tips:
- Prevent flies from entering your home. Make sure screens are in good repair, and store garbage, compost and other food sources away from doorways.
- If you want to leave produce out to ripen, rinse it first, or consider keeping it in mesh bags.
- Regularly empty and disinfect all trash cans. Sometimes a bit of food garbage remains undetected and becomes a housefly Hilton.
- Wipe food preparation surfaces with soapy water or antiseptic cleaners.
- Clean up outdoor pet areas.
- For some drain fly infestations, pouring bleach down your drains can help. Also regularly replace your fish tank filter media (but don’t ever wash them with soap or bleach!)
- Be sure to remove compostable materials immediately or keep it in a covered container.
- Use a kitchen trash can with a lid.
A few more fly-specific tips
For fruit flies, you can create a fruit fly trap with apple cider vinegar. Fill a jar halfway with vinegar and either punch small holes in the jar lid, or cover jar with plastic wrap sealed with a rubber band and with holes punched into the surface. You will need to replace the vinegar every couple of weeks.
For blowflies, try to locate their breeding location (usually a dead animal). Sometimes, this is impossible due to the location of the animal in question, so you may need to call out professionals for help.
For all kinds of flies, you can use pyrethrum-based flying insect sprays, but even better are natural solutions, prevention, or special fly baits and traps.
Are flies driving you crazy?
Many times do-it-yourself prevention and pest control options will eliminate flies from your home. If these methods aren’t working for you, or you can’t locate the source of the flies, ABC Home and Commercial Services would be happy to lend a hand. Our pest control experts can come out to your home to identify areas where flies may be breeding, and devise a plan to wipe out these flies once and for all.