Flies 101

There are many types of flies out there, but let’s focus on the two we most commonly find in our homes: houseflies and small flies. Houseflies are one of the most common pests in the world. They are about the size of an apple seed, are skilled flyers, and can land and walk on just about any surface. Small flies are (You guessed it!) smaller than houseflies, and they vary in appearance. There are a few species of small flies that can become an issue in homes, including phorid flies, fruit flies, drain flies, and fungus gnats. Houseflies feed on animal waste and organic material, and they live and develop in the food they eat. As for the small flies, phorid flies feed on decaying organic materials, like rotten food scraps and garbage. Gross! Fruit flies prefer over-ripe fruits and vegetables. Drain flies feed on the sludge that builds up in drain lines. Yuck! And fungus gnats eat fungus that grows in wet soil. They can all be found living near their preferred food sources.

Pain & Prevention

Here are some things you can do to prevent flies of all kinds from thriving in your home.

  • Keep screens on windows and doors if they are opened.
  • Keep garbage cans, compost piles, and pet waste far away from exterior doors.
  • Make sure garbage cans and trash compactors are emptied and cleaned on a regular basis, and clean up all rotting foods.
  • Throw out rotting fruits and vegetables.
  • Rinse out beer bottles, wine bottles, and soda cans before recycling them.
  • In drains, use a foaming enzymatic or biological drain cleaner, or have drains and pipes professionally cleaned. Typical drain cleaners, like Drano or bleach, will not successfully remove fly food sources.
  • Check the soil in plant pots for fungus and slime trails, and cut down on watering cycles. Fungus gnats usually come from over-watered potted plants.

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Humans share about 75% of our genes with fruit flies.

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Dangerous Nuisance

Not only are houseflies annoying and gross, but they are a health issue and can spread bacteria when they land on food and surfaces. Small flies are mainly a nuisance just because of their presence. They are annoying to see buzzing around your home, and they can contaminate your food.

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