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All flies, like bees, have a four stage life cycle: Egg, larvae, pupae, and adult. Some live as adults for only one day, but most survive for five days to four weeks with only a little, moist food. Some, like horse flies and mosquitoes, have pierced, sucking mouthparts and feed on blood, but most are scavengers that aggressively seek out exposed food and lay their eggs nearby. The hatchlings are flies in their larval form and are often called maggots; they are very small, wormlike creatures that feed on a variety of foods, from fruit to carrion. When the larvae are fully developed, they pupate and change into adult flies to start the life cycle all over. Commercially available fly sprays are very invasive and are usually only marginally effective. The most responsible methods of fly control normally involve screening them out of houses and cleaning up their food and breeding sources such as dog droppings, uncovered trash cans, and similar fly magnets. A fly control machine will normally utilize light attractants combined with electric, sticky, or other traps. The problem is that they typically attract many more bugs than they control.

House flies have always been associated with our Southern Californian lifestyle. They are very plentiful and much more than just an annoyance. We should be most concerned about their unsanitary habits and their capacity to transmit diseases and illnesses such as typhoid, cholera, dysentery and diarrhea. They are also known to transmit other parasites such as pinworms, roundworms and hookworms. House flies are small (1/4 th inch) grey to black insects with two pairs of wings that are different lengths. They hang around lights, windows and damp areas of the house and search for food that they can absorb with their sponge like mouthparts. A housefly’s method of eating makes it a potential disease vector because it can pick up germs from garbage, sewage and fecal matter and then regurgitate, defecate or simply transfer those organisms by leg or mouth to human and animal food.

More information about houseflies and fly control is available on the following University website: http://www.uri.edu/ce/factsheets/sheets/houseflies.html 

Drain Flies

Also known as Moth Flies, Drain Flies are very small flies that resemble gnats. They cannot be screened out because they seldom enter your house or business from the outside. Much like mosquitoes, you must engage them while they are in the larval form, and that means treating the drains. Commercially available fly sprays and traps are very invasive and are largely ineffective against drain flies.

Pinpoint recommends that you find an environmentally friendly, bacterial drain cleaning gel and follow the label instructions to remove the food source from the larvae. You can purchase some at Grangetto’s Farm & Garden Supply stores locally, or order it online at www.grangettos.com. It takes two to three weeks to control drain flies, but it is very easy to keep them from coming back! Just do the applications to the drains when you retire for the night and while the drains are warm (not hot). This allows the bacterial spores in the drain cleaner to strip the organic residues from the drain pipes and that leaves the hungry hatchlings with no way to develop. For more information on drain flies, you can check out the Cornell University research site at:  ;http://www.entomology.cornell.edu/Extension/DiagnosticLab/IDLFS/DrainFlies/DrainFlies.html

The presence of Carrion Flies usually means that there is some rotting flesh nearby, often a dead rat in the attic or something equally disgusting.  Carrion flies are normally larger than house flies and they have a green or blue metallic appearance.  When they show up in a house, they normally fly to the window with the most light and make annoying buzzing sounds. If you see several large flies at the same time indoors, it usually means that they just emerged from the pupae and are trying to get out and go looking for something dead. They often enter the house through light fixtures in the ceiling, which means that you are likely to find something dead in the attic. Contact us for a rat and mouse inspection so that we can keep that from happening again. Pinpoint recommends that you do NOT use rat or mouse poison if the animal has access to the attic, walls or substructure of your house! See our rat and mouse page for more information.

Termites are sometimes mistaken for flies or for flying ants but they are a very different type of insect with a different life cycle than flies.