Knowing Your Flies

Five Minutes With Sprague Entomologist Dr. Richard Houseman

Flies are one of the most visible pests in and around commercial facilities, especially those that process or serve food. And while they are very visible to clients and guests, their exact identity can be a bit of mystery unless you know what you’re looking at or for.

Dr. Richard Houseman, regional entomologist with Sprague Pest Solutions, said knowing what fly species are posing a threat to your facility is essential to developing and executing an effective fly management program.

“Flies, more so than other pests, have a strong link to their breeding sites,” said Houseman. “They find their mates there, they reproduce there, and it is unique for each species.”

What they feed on and where they feed at – a fly’s number one motivation is food – can help in the identification process. The size of the infestation can also be an indicator of which species – small or large – is present.

If you notice flies indoors, they are likely small flies – moth, phorid, fruit –since that’s where their breeding sites are located. Large flies – house, bottle, cluster – prefer the outdoors and will make the occasional foray indoors through an open door or window in search of food but their breeding sites remain outside.Fruit Flies are a problem inside commercial facilities - Sprague pest

Identification Equals Results

How can commercial property and facility managers help with fly identification? Houseman says you do not have to be a trained entomologist to help your pest management service provider with identification.

“The more information you can share the better,” said Houseman. “Sharing where they are being seen, a basic estimate of their size and if they are dull or shiny is very helpful in starting down the path to a solution.”

Sharing a sample of a dead fly or a focused photo captured on your mobile phone will also help.

What do clients gain from an accurate fly identification?

“Accurately identifying the species at your facility will allow pest management professionals to deliver a more complete, targeted and effective service,” said Houseman. “A proper identification will lead you to the breeding site and source of the infestation and eliminate it.”

Knowing Your Small Flies

Small flies can stay active year around indoors in drains, decaying fruits and vegetables, cracks and crevices or wherever there is moist organic material. Fruit flies will key on decaying food and can also be found in garbage drains. Phorid flies will primarily be found in drains and in contaminated soil underneath slabs.

Knowing Your Large Flies

The most common outdoor breeding location for large house flies are dumpsters, garbage and recycling bins. These offer large fly species everything they need. House flies are primarily attracted to manure or garbage while blow flies frequent dead animal carcasses. If blow flies are seen indoors consistently it could be a sign of a dead rodent or other wildlife in a wall void or drop ceiling.

For more information on how Sprague Pest Solutions can assist you create and deliver an effective stored fly prevention and management program for your commercial facility, call 855.805.0755.


Flies & Moths