Cluster Flies (Pollenia rudis)
Cluster Flies are large (1/4″ – 3/8″) dark gray to black flies similar to houseflies in appearance, but have golden hairs on their thoraxes.
To differentiate between houseflies and cluster flies, examine the wings of the fly at rest. Cluster flies’ wings overlap like a pair of scissors, while houseflies’ wings do not.
In the spring, cluster flies lay their eggs in soil near earthworms. After they hatch into larvae, or maggots, the flies find earthworms to crawl into, feed on, and complete the larva part of their lifecycle.
After this, they enter the soil to pupate, after which they have completed the transition to adulthood. During the summer months, adults feed on fruit juices and flower nectar.
As summer wears on and daylight hours shorten, cluster flies seek protection from the impending cold weather. Colder temperatures cause the flies to crawl upwards, and in this way they enter cracks and openings in buildings.
Gaps under eaves and siding are common places for cluster flies to enter. They will remain in buildings until early spring, but they will return to roof spaces previously occupied the following winter so re-infestation can be expected.
Cluster flies become a nuisance when they gain entry homes seeking shelter from cold weather. They do not complete any of their lifecycle indoors, since they are dependent on earthworms and soil to evolve.
Cluster Flies Prevention
The best way to control cluster flies is to deny them access to a building, i.e. seal all cracks in siding and eaves, windows, chimneys, air vents, etc.
If cluster flies have already established themselves in your home, there are methods to eradicate them such as vacuuming or fumigation.
Remember that liquid insecticides or fumes will eventually dissipate and new cluster flies can return after the insecticide is no longer active.
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