Flesh Flies

What do flesh flies look like?

  • Flesh flies are variable in size, but some adults over 1/2 inch.
  • Color: Gray and black with three dark stripes along the top of the thorax (mid-section).
  • Larvae are light-colored, legless maggots.

What are the habits of flesh flies?

  • Adults identify breeding sites and lay live maggots directly onto this breeding material.
  • Breeding material includes items such as carrion, meat, compost, manure, and residue such as decomposing organic matter in/on dumpsters.
  • Adults feed on sweet materials such as nectar and fruit juices.
  • Like all flies, each species has specific organic matter requirements. 

What kind of damage occurs from flesh flies?  

  • Flesh flies can create possible contamination of food and food preparation surfaces (as they mechanically transfer bacteria from item to item). 
  • They are a nuisance as they land on or hover near people. 
  • Flesh flies do not bite humans.

What should I look for when identifying flesh fly infestations?

  • Look for large numbers of adult flies indoors—possibly around garbage or compost bins where organic matter and food-stuffs are breaking down.
  • Look for readily available exposed or built-up breeding materials that attractants.  
  • Outdoor sources of fly breeding sites such as animal waste, compost, or carrion.

How do I control and kill flesh flies? 

  • Reduce the presence of readily available breeding site materials by maintaining excellent sanitation practices (removing/discarding/managing waste/compost).
  • Keep trash bins and dumpsters free of built-up residue and standing water (and pay particular attention to areas behind//underneath waste bin bags where items leak).
  • Remove and curb animal waste from home and building exteriors and dispose of.  
  • Prevent flies from accessing breeding sites with self-closing doors, secure window screening, and tight-fitting lids on garbage bins.
  • Adult flies can be removed with a vacuum, sticky traps, or electric light traps
  • Aerosolized insecticides such as PI can be used to knock down adult flies initially, but are not a long-term solution.
  • The only long-term solution involves source identification and subsequent source removal. 
  • If the source cannot be located, the flies will pupate until nearly all hatched; then, adult flies will live only days.  Thus, infestations can burn themselves out by running their natural course. 

Identifying the source of a flesh fly problem often requires expertise and experience from a professional pest control operator.  If you need assistance with this process or eliminating pesky flies from your home, contact us at Innotech Pest Management and schedule an appointment.