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How To Control Phorid Flies

If you have a plumbing issue, spoiled food or a type of leak that is unknown to you, flies are usually a big indicator that will open your eyes to the issue. One such fly that sends these type of messages is the Phorid fly. Phorid flies love to breed and feed on decaying organic matter and as such they can probably be the first fly to come around when you have a plumbing leak. However, they are also prevalent around commercial kitchens and restaurants where food can be stored and go bad and where mold can easily develop if the proper sanitation measures aren’t in order.

Phorid flies are also known as humpbacked flies. They are small (about an 1/8th of an inch) and while some are dull and brown, other species are brightly colored which often makes them mistaken to be fruit flies or gnats. Phorid flies are prolific breeders and female phorid flies are able to lay 40 eggs within a 12 hour span. This fact alone can lead to phorid flies reaching astronomical amounts in very little time.

Phorid flies need organic matter to survive so something as simple as some spoiled meat or uncleared garbage will be enough for them to thrive. If you have a phorid fly problem, they can be easy to control if you have the right products to eliminate them. Solutions Pest and Lawn can provide you with what you need to get the job done.

Browse our phorid fly control products below. If you have any questions or concerns regarding making an order or would like live DIY advice from trained pest control experts, give us a call, shoot us an email or live chat with us online. We’ll be happy to assist you.

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How To Get Rid of Phorid Flies: 3 Step Solution

Controlling phorid flies can be rather easy with the correct approach. If you approach it in a way where you just buy some spray and try to spray flies to death, you’ll achieve little success and they will constantly return until you address the reason they are present which is the decaying organic matter. We have three simple steps you can follow to clear out your phorid fly problem which we will share with you below:

Step 1: Find the source that is attracting the phorid flies. Whether it’s spoiled food, rotting meat, a plumbing issue or whatever it may be, dispose of it immediately or repair the issue. If the source of the organic matter is in your drains, phorid flies will flock around there. In such a case, recommend using a concentrated drain gel such as Drain Gel which is specifically designed to breakdown organic matter built-up in sinks, drains and garbage disposals and other areas where phorid flies harbor and reproduce.

Step 2: Contact kill adult phorid flies with insecticide spray. By using a space spray, you can treat the remaining flies. We recommend an aerosol like 
CB PCO Insect Fogger to apply to surfaces for a quick kill or another one of our patented products, Pyrid Aerosol. You can also trap them using Musca-Stik. We recommend that after spraying, you leave the room temporarily to let the area ventilate before re-entering.

Step 3: With your phorid fly problem now under control, it is time to implement preventative measure to ensure phorid flies don’t return. The way to do this is by regularly cleaning your drains with drain cleaner, addressing moisture issues, tossing spoiled or rotting food away and keeping a solid cleaning and maintenance schedule. A sanitary home or place of business will ensure that phorid flies won’t disturb you.

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Learn More About The Phorid Flyphorid fly appearance

Phorid fly isn’t just a type of fly, it is an entire family of flies which has more than 3500 different species. Some of the more common varieties of phorid flies are the humpbacked fly, the coffin fly, and scuttle flies.

Phorid flies come in a wide range of shapes and form, and the larvae of a phorid fly can be sustained from many different unique sources of food. One of the most distinguishing characteristics of the phorid fly is their tendency to lay eggs on the heads of other insides, making them a troublesome parasite to insects like the imported red fire ant, various wasp species, bumble bees and honey bees.

Phorid Fly Appearance

Most adult phorid flies are about an 1/8th of an inch long and can range in color from light brown to yellowish. Often phorid flies are mistaken for fruit flies, but they can be easily differentiated by looking at their eyes. The eyes of a phorid fly are dull and dark colored while the eyes of a fruit fly are usually a bright red color.

Phorid flies can also be distinguish from fruit flies because of the unique hump in their thorax which starts behind their head, which is the reason why they are also commonly called the humpback fly.

Aside from this, phorid flies also have a unique way of moving. Phorid flies often move erratically and quickly in a jerking fashion. While they are able to travel through flight, phorid flies often like to walk or run along counters, walls and other surfaces more than flying. This is why they’ve been also known as the scuttle fly, for this very behavior.


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Phorid Fly Life Cycle

Like most flies, the phorid fly life cycle goes through a complete metamorphosis going from egg to larvae to pupae and finally an adult. Depending on the species of phorid fly and the climate as well as environmental conditions, it takes a phorid fly between 11 to 25 days to go from egg to adult.

Phorid Fly Nesting Habits

Phorid flies are a filth fly meaning they like to hang and nest around decaying matter. They are also commonly found around areas with moisture. They are usually encountered around plumbing, especially in bathroom sinks and showers, rotting food in trash cans, garbage disposals that have not been cleared out, dirty mops and old dish rags, and various other places around a building that is in need of sanitation. Phorid flies will also breed within dead animals and carcasses.  

It is not uncommon for phorid flies to appear in apartments,

Phorid Flies - Enemies of Imported Fire Antsphorid fly targets a fire ant

What is interesting to note about the phorid fly is that it is actually used as a natural means of fire ant control by farmers and ranchers who suffer fire ant infestation and do not wish to use chemicals. Why? Because phorid flies actually can kill fire ants via decapitation. However, it’s not with a blade or tearing at them, it’s via the odd behavior of depositing an egg on the head of an ant.

Female Phorid flies hover over fire ant colonies who are out foraging and implant eggs on the heads of the fire ant and soon the egg hatches,the the larvae begins to devour the ant head before hatching out of the decapitated head of the ant a full adult phorid fly. It can be quite fascinating to see, while also quite gruesome.

When ants see phorid flies, they panic. The ants having never seen their mortal enemy, are hardwired to react when they do, with terror! The ants try to scurry and get away as male and female phorid flies mate while hovering over the ants before a fertilized female phorid fly locks onto an ant and attacks. The phorid fly slams an egg into the ants thorax, which is the beginning of the end for the fire ant. This is how just a few phorid flies can reduce the spread of red fire ants.

Why Phorid Flies Infestations Must Be Stopped

Phorid flies are as annoying as any other type of fly but they can be especially troublesome because if there is a large enough sanitation issue or an unknown issue in your food pantry such as potatoes that have gone bad, phorid flies can emerge in large numbers. Phorid flies can also potentially become a health hazard since then can be a vector for disease and can spread pathogens when frequenting rotting foods and generally unsanitary places.


Better Safe Than Sorry: Equip Yourself With Protective Safety Equipment Before Using Chemicals

Controlling the Phorid Fly

As with any good pest control program, you need to be sure that the fly pest you are encountering is in fact a phorid fly. Proper identification is the first and arguably the most important step of the process. As we mentioned earlier, phorid flies are commonly mistaken to be fruit flies. If you are having trouble identifying the fly yourself, you can send a photo of the fly, if you can get a close enough shot of one to identification@solutionsstores.com and one of our licensed entomologists will respond with the correct ID of the fly as well as present to you specific control approaches and products to use.

Once the phorid fly has been identified, the next step to successfully control the phorid flies is to find and remove the organic matter or moisture that the phorid flies are gravitating towards and where they are breeding and developing their phorid fly larvae.

Locating the food source of the phorid fly can be easy, especially if you’ve noticed a foul odor of something rotting or decaying. Other times it can be tougher and will require a thorough inspection of the infested area to track down the specific location of the source. The key is to look for places where there is moisture issues.

Once the source is found and removed and a detailed sanitation is done of the general area, the phorid flies may leave on their own, if not, you can eliminate them with the help of a phorid fly trap or insecticide spray which you can find here at Solutions Pest & Lawn as we have plenty of viable phorid fly control options.

For more info on how to conduct successful DIY fly control, click here.

Get more information about Phorid Flies by checking out our Phorid Fly FAQ!

Additional Phorid Fly Resources


Phorid Flies - the Scuttle Fly - Department of Entomology - Penn State





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