How Do You Know If You Have a Fly Infestation?


It’s hard enough trying to carry out your daily activities with the constant annoying buzz of one fly, but when these annoying little critters breed and increase in numbers, your home can quickly become the site of a fly infestation. Flies can cause a lot of harm as they can easily contaminate food, spread diseases, and some species even bite both humans and animals. Read on to determine if you have a fly infestation that you need to deal with in your home.

How do you know if you have a fly infestation? While a few buzzing flies may not indicate you have an infestation, some of the most common warning signs to look out for include:

  • Physical sighting of the flies: One of the most obvious signs of a fly infestation in your living space is seeing them flying around. It is important to identify the type of fly species that has invaded your home to come up with an effective elimination strategy.
  • Finding maggots: Another sure sign of a fly infestation in your home is coming across maggots. Maggots are flies that are in their larval stage and are often found in or around the deteriorating matter.
  • Dark clusters: You may also come across dark clusters of spots that are typically the size of a pinhead in areas such as the ceiling and wall surfaces.

Once you determine that there is a fly infestation in your home, the next logical step is to figure out the most suitable way to get rid of them. Some common elimination techniques involve using aerosol fly sprays, UV light traps, and adhesive tape, to mention a few.

It is of utmost importance to act as fast as possible if you have a fly infestation in your home, which is why you need to know all the warning signs to keep an eye out for. This article goes into detail on the most common signs of a fly infestation and also covers elimination strategies that you can employ as well as prevention techniques to help you keep them out permanently.

What are the signs of a fly infestation?

Having one or two flies in your home can be enough to drive you crazy, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have an infestation on your hands. That said, a handful of flies can turn into hundreds of annoying buzzing critters within a short time especially during warm summer months when breeding is at its peak. Some of the indicators that will help you determine if you have a fly infestation include:

  1. Regularly seeing flies in your living space

A visual sighting of a large number of flies in your home is usually the most definitive indicator of an infestation. You will likely find flies buzzing near or in your garbage cans and the base of waste containers. Other common areas where you may regularly sight flies include any area that water frequently pools such as rainwater barrels, guttering, waterlogged plant pots, and old machinery to mention a few.

  1. The presence of small dark clusters

The presence of small spots that are usually the size of a pinhead could also be a sign of a fly infestation. These dark clusters are as a result of the fecal matter that flies leave behind when they land. As time goes by, the fecal matter piles up and eventually starts to look like small dark dots. You may find these clusters in areas of your home that are hard to clean such as sink drains and trash cans. Also consider looking for dark clusters in hard-to-reach places such as high shelves, underneath damaged floor tiling, and on top of appliances such as refrigerators.

  1. Coming across maggots

If you spot maggots in an area of your home, it is a sign of a fly infestation. Flies are known to be rapid breeders due to their ability to lay up to 900 eggs during a cycle and hatch within two days given that the temperature and general environmental conditions are optimal. Female flies aim to find moist, dark areas where they can lay their eggs, which in most cases will usually be trash cans and any other areas where they can find rotting food. After the larval stage, flies will emerge from the eggs to feed on the trash or fecal matter, and you will soon have a full-blown fly infestation to deal with.

Types of flies that may invade your home

After determining that you have a fly infestation on your hands, the next reasonable step is to identify which of the many house fly species you are dealing with to find the most effective way to get rid of them. Divided into two categories based on their size, these are the most common flies that invade homes:

Large flies

  1. Common housefly

Adult common house flies are usually ashy grey or black. They are known to seek out food waste or pet fecal matter as sites where they can lay their eggs. They typically infest garbage cans, carrion, and sewers. The common housefly spreads a variety of diseases, including salmonellosis, especially when they contaminate surfaces where food is handled or eaten.

  1. Blowflies

Blowflies, more commonly referred to as bottle flies, are pests that develop inside rotting meat. If you come across a large swarm of shiny green or blue flies indoors, it is most likely an indication that there is a dead animal in your walls or attic. Blowflies commonly found in residential buildings tend to be large, blue, black, or metallic gray. The most common species are the blue bottle fly or black blowfly.

  1. Cluster flies

Cluster flies are slightly bigger than common house flies and have a dark-grey appearance with golden-colored hairs on sections of the thorax. These critters commonly invade homes in fall as they seek shelter where they can avoid harsh winter conditions.

Cluster fly infestations tend to take place at two points of their lifespan – one is when these pests find their way into homes as they search for overwintering sites in wall voids or attics, and the other is after the overwintering phase when they are looking for a way out of your home to get back to the outdoors. As temperatures increase, these flies can be found swarming in large numbers indoors as they try to find an exit.

Small flies

  1. Fruit fly

Fruit flies have a tan or yellowish-white appearance, and they typically feed on sugary substances. They are commonly found close to sources of moisture such as drain lines and garbage containers. They are attracted to homes by vinegar, syrups, soda, and any other sugary items. While fruit fly infestations commonly occur in the summer, it is not unlikely for them to invade homes regardless of the season as long as there is a reliable source of food and shelter.

  1. Lesser house fly

This small pest is sometimes referred to as the little house fly. While they are usually around two-thirds the size of the common house fly, they tend to cause the same mayhem.

  1. Moth fly

The moth fly, also commonly known as the drain fly, has a notable moth-like or furry appearance. They infest garbage disposals and sink drains where they lay their eggs in the sludge that tends to build up within pipes.

How can you get rid of a fly infestation?

Mechanical control

These are fly elimination techniques that do not involve the use of chemicals but are still effective at capturing or killing them. They include:

  1. Adhesive tape

House flies are attracted by the pleasant smell that is emitted by the adhesive tape, and upon landing on it, they get stuck. Adhesive tape is pretty easy to us as all you have to do is unroll it and hang it in a place where there is a likelihood of fly presence.

  1. Ultraviolet light traps

This is an electrical device that traps and kills flies by emitting UV lights. To serve its purpose, a UV light has to be strategically placed:

  • It should not be seen from outside so that it doesn’t attract flies indoors in the first place.
  • It should be placed away from other light sources (including natural light) and food preparation areas.
  1. Pre-baited traps

Commonly used baits for fly traps include sugar, cider vinegar, beer, and molasses. Bait traps can be bought at our local hardware stores, or you can make one yourself by placing these baits at the bottom of a jar with a paper cone covering the top.

Chemical control

Chemical control techniques should be used only when necessary:

  1. Aerosol house fly spray

Contact aerosols can be used to effectively kill adult flies. That said, they can only provide relief temporarily as they don’t target the source of the infestation.

  1. Residual insecticide

Apply a residual insecticide onto screens, around window and door casings, and under eaves.

Final thoughts

Fly infestations manifest themselves in three main ways: visual sightings, presence of maggots, and the appearance of small dark clusters. While there are several techniques you can use to get rid of flies, avoid having to deal with them in the first place by applying prevention tactics such as maintaining high sanitation levels and sealing off potential entry points.

Melanie Asiba

Melanie is an author. She enjoys traveling, reading and trying out new things. In addition to writing for Apartment ABC. Connect with her at [email protected]

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