Appearance: Generally gray, with the thorax marked with broad dark stripes. Most often there is some yellow coloring along the sides and they are typically about ¼ inch long.
Habits: Although they are domestic flies, usually confined to human habitations, they can fly for several miles from the breeding place. They are active only in daytime, and rest at night (i.e. Corners of rooms, ceilings, cellars, and barns) they can survive the coldest winters by hibernation, and when spring arrives, adult flies are seen only a few days after the first thaw.
Diet: Adult flies feed on a wide range of liquids, and can eat solid foods such as sugar. However, in order to digest solid foods, they must liquefy the food by regurgitating it.
Reproduction:Each female fly can lay approximately 9,000 eggs in a life time, in several batches of about 75 to 150. The eggs are white and are about 1.2 mm in length. Within a day, larvae (maggots) hatch from the eggs; they live and feed on (usually dead and decaying) organic material, such as garbage or feces. Their life cycle ranges from 14 hours to 36 hours.
Other Information:Because of their large intake of food, they deposit feces constantly, one of the factors that make the insect a dangerous carrier of pathogens. They are capable of carrying over 100 pathogens, such as those causing typhoid, cholera, salmonellosis, bacillary dysentery, tuberculosis, anthrax, ophthalmia, and parasitic worms.
Appearance:Cluster flies are of a moderate size; about 7 mm long, and can be recognized by distinct lines or stripes behind the head, short golden-colored hairs on the thorax and are generally dark gray in color.
Habits: These flies are often a nuisance; when the adults emerge in the late summer or autumn, they enter houses to hibernate, often in large numbers. They can be difficult to eradicate because they favor inaccessible spaces such as roof and wall cavities.
Diet: The earthworm is the food source for the larvae, and the adults tend to feed on nectar from flowers.
Reproduction: They do not present a health hazard because they do not lay eggs in human food, the females lay their eggs near earthworm burrows, and the larvae then infest the worms.
Other Information: Cluster flies are, by far, the most common fly found inside homes during the winter/cooler months, however, they do not feed or reproduce inside homes or buildings.
Appearance: They are light yellowish brown to dark brown in color, and may have darker markings on the dorsum of the thorax in the form of spots, blotches, or lines. Most dominant feature is the large red eyes.
Habits: These insects are most abundant in the late summer months in when tomatoes, apples, and other fruit ripen and begin to ferment. Fruit flies are common nuisance pests in restaurants, grocery stores, fruit markets, canneries, homes, and other locations that may attract these insects with fermenting or rotting vegetative matter.
Diet: In houses the flies are found around overripe fruits and vegetables, especially when they begin to ferment.
They may also be attracted to bread or other baked goods containing yeast, and to beverages including fruit juices, soda pop, beer, and to vinegar. On occasion you may see one on a moist wash cloth or sponge near the sink getting a drink of water.
Reproduction: Fruit flies can reproduce anywhere there is fermenting organic matter that stays consistently wet or moist. Like other flies, the fruit flies develop from larvae, and fruit fly larvae must have moist, fermenting organic matter in order to survive.
Other Information: The discovery and removal of the breeding site is usually necessary to eliminate these insects. A few overlooked sources in houses may include: small quantities of milk, soft drinks, catsup and the like left in the bottoms of bottles, sour dish cloths or floor mops stored away in a closet, home canned foods that may be fermenting, fermenting cider and fruit juices. Check vegetable and fruit storage bins as well to be sure there was nothing overlooked.
Appearance: Adult fungus gnats small and slender, approximately 1/8th of an inch (2.5 mm) in length, and have long legs and antennae. They are typically dark gray in color.
Habits: They are typically found indoors infesting potting mixes used for household plants. High organic plant mixtures and organic fertilizers create ideal fungus gnat development. They are weak fliers, but can run rapidly across the soil surface.
Diet: Some adults feed on flower nectar, but these insects do most of their eating as larvae. The larvae primarily feed on fungi, decaying wood and wet plant material.
Reproduction: During the female’s lifetime of about one week, she lays a hundred or more eggs. The shiny white oval eggs are semi-transparent and barely visible to the naked eye. They are laid either singly or in stringed groups of 10 or more on the soil surface, usually near host plants. They hatch in four to six days.
Other Information: Fungus gnats in the home can usually be traced to houseplant growing media. Correcting the profile of this microhabitat often is all that is needed. To do so, use a water meter to determine the watering needs of houseplants and avoid overwatering.
Appearance: Also known as moth flies, they have short, hairy bodies and wings giving them a “furry” moth-like appearance. The adults have long antennae and the wings are leaf-shaped, either slender or broad.
Habits: They develop in standing water so most commonly they are seen after returning home from a vacation or period of extended travel. They can live most anywhere that water accumulates for a week or more. Common indoor sites include the fine slime layer that develops along the water surface in infrequently used toilet bowls and tanks, in sink or floor drains in basements or garages, or drain pans under refrigerators.
Diet: Larvae feed on the decaying organic matter, microorganisms, algae and sediment in the media. They feed on flower nectar and polluted water.
Reproduction: The drain fly life cycle takes from about 10 to 15 days at about 70° F. Groups of eggs are laid on gelatinous films of organic matter. The larvae can develop in water or thin surface films. Actual time varies with temperature; development is slower at lower temperatures but can continue through the year indoors.
Other Information: Drain flies do not bite humans but may become a nuisance by their presence in large populations. Sometimes it takes persistent effort to eradicate an infestation in the home. Concentrate on eliminating larval breeding sites from drains in floors, sinks, wash basins, bathtubs, etc. Sometimes the source of the problem is a nearby filter plant.
Indian Meal Moth
Appearance: The Indian meal moth has a wing expanse of nearly three-quarters of an inch. It is easy to distinguish from other grain pests because of the peculiar markings of the forewings; they are reddish brown with a copper luster on the outer two-thirds, but whitish gray on the inner or body ends. The hind wings lack distinctive markings and are more or less uniformly gray.
Habits: Adults can be seen resting on the grain surface or grain bin walls. The adults fly at night and are attracted to lights.
Diet: Larvae of the Indian meal moth feed upon grains, grain products, dried fruits, nuts, cereals, and a variety of processed food products.
Reproduction: A mature female lays 100 to 300 eggs on food material, either singularly or in groups of twelve to thirty. Larvae begin to hatch in two to fourteen days, depending on environmental conditions. Newly hatched larvae feed on fine materials within the grain and are small enough to pass through a sixty mesh screen. For this reason, it is difficult to exclude larvae from most packaged foods and grain.
Other Information: Most household infestations originate from the purchase of infested foods, but some movement of the moths from outdoors is possible during the warmer months.
Webbing Clothes Moth
Appearance: The webbing clothes moth adults are about 7–8 mm in length when the wings are folded back over the body. The wings are a golden buff color with a fringe of long hairs on the margins. The head has a tuft of reddish hairs.
Habits: Adult webbing clothes moths are seldom seen because they void light. They can be found all year long, but they are more numerous during the summer months or heated buildings during the winter months. They survive well in humid areas, and seldom occur in very dry areas of the USA.
Diet: The webbing clothes moth larvae will feed on hair, wool, fur, feathers, and similar animal products. Synthetics, cottons, and other plant materials are not attacked by the webbing clothes moth larvae unless these items are stained with food or body oils. Adults have nonfunctional mouthparts and do not feed.
Reproduction: Clothes moths mate and deposit their eggs usually within 1–2 days of emergence from the pupae. The females do not live long (3–16 days) after egg deposition although the males of the webbing clothes moth can survive for about one month. The eggs hatch in 4–10 days in the summer, but may take up to three or more weeks in the winter.
Other Information: The caterpillars of this moth are considered a serious pest, as they can derive nourishment from clothing – in particular wool, but many other natural fibers – and also, like most related species, from stored produce.
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