Are you dealing with phorid flies? These home-invading pests can be particularly nasty due to their unsanitary habits and the fact that they can reproduce so rapidly in and outside of homes.
These flies are particularly problematic for hospitals and restaurants as they are attracted to open wounds, human food sources, and piping. Worse, they are vectors of disease and have been proven dangerous to humans for this very reason.
Unfortunately, phorid flies can be especially difficult to get rid of and are often mistaken for other, less problematic pests like fruit flies or drain flies.
But don’t panic just yet. There are several methods and products you can use to get rid of phorid flies and tips and tricks we can teach you to help you identify a phorid fly infestation for certain.
Join us today as we learn more about phorid flies, why they are so problematic when they infest our homes, and talk about how to get rid of them once and for all.
What Are Phorid Flies?
Though small, phorid flies can be vectors of serious illness and disease.
Also known as scuttle flies or humpback flies, phorid flies are a small fly species in the family of Phoridae. They closely resemble fruit flies due not only to their size and appearance, but also due to their habitats.
However, phorid flies are very different from fruit flies and drain flies as they are known to be more dangerous to human health, making it all the more important to know how to get rid of them properly.
Mostly attracted to organic, rotting materials, phorid flies are common in many different regions throughout the United States and can be found both inside and outside of homes and structures.
They prefer moist areas to live and breed, and goodness do they breed. Female phorid flies can lay up to 40 eggs in as little as 12 hours, and with her lifespan stretching around 25 days, one female phorid fly can be responsible for an entire infestation in the home.
Many people find phorid flies near water sources like in drains, but they have also been discovered beneath concrete and tile flooring, where they infest the moist soil below with larvae.
Getting rid of phorid flies can be particularly difficult if this happens, mostly because in order to properly get rid of phorid flies you must get rid of the breeding source. But we will discuss this further down.
For now, it’s important to make sure you can properly identify a phorid fly infestation so that you can treat it correctly, especially considering these pests look so similar to a number of other small, home invading flies.
Keep reading to learn more.
How To Identify Phorid Flies
Phorid flies are often identified by the hump on their back.
As we mentioned above, phorid flies and fruit flies look and behave similarly. However, they are two very different species of fly and both require different methods of removal.
So, how do you tell them apart from one another?
Both fruit flies and phorid flies are around 1/8th of an inch long once mature. However, while fruit flies are lighter in color, phorid flies are black with pronounced “humps” on their thorax, which is one of the reasons they are commonly known as humpback flies. You can further tell a fruit fly from a phorid fly by inspecting the eyes. Fruit flies have large, red eyes while phorid flies do not.
It is also important to note that, while phorid flies do fly, they prefer to run away rapidly on surfaces when they sense danger. This is also why they are sometimes referred to as scuttle flies.
The below video further discusses how to determine if you are dealing with phorid flies in your home or fruit flies.
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You may also notice that phorid flies swarm around foul odors of decay. This could include dead animal corpses, rotting meats, and even human bodies. If you have an open wound or an infection on your skin and flies are attracted to it, these are phorid flies.
Because identifying a phorid fly infestation goes hand-in-hand with what is actually attracting the phorid flies to your home, let’s go ahead and discuss how you might have ended up with these pests in the first place.
What Attracts Phorid Flies To Your Home?
Phorid flies are attracted to organic decaying matter and moisture.
You can often identify a phorid fly problem in your home by considering the source they seem to be swarming around. Phorid flies are highly attracted to decaying matter, including dead animals like rodents and even human bodies.
These pests are also attracted to rotting garbage and other types of decay. Strong, foul odors of decay are highly enticing to them, which could be the initial cause of an infestation.
So, when thinking about phorid flies and how to get rid of them, remember this: phorid flies are most attracted to moisture and decay.
Of course, this is a broad statement. An example of a few things in particular phorid flies might be attracted to include:
- Rotting meat
- Rotting fruits and vegetables
- Organic decay inside of drains
- Dead corpses
- And light
Remember, this is just a small list of examples of what phorid flies might be attracted to. Unlike fruit flies, phorid flies are not attracted to vinegar, though they do like rotting foods like fruits and veggies. And, just like fruit and drain flies, phorid flies may be more prevalent in homes with water damage, leaky drains, and stinky garbage disposals.
So, how do you get rid of phorid flies now that you know for certain you have them? That’s what we’re about to find out.
How To Get Rid Of Phorid Flies – Most Popular Methods
Getting rid of phorid flies means getting rid of their breeding source.
The level of difficulty you may face when trying to get rid of phorid flies can vary depending on the severity of your infestation. That said, every infestation of phorid flies can only be eliminated by finding and eradicating the breeding source.
This could be a simple process if you find a piece of rotting meat beneath your stove, for example, and this is where the breeding source is. In this case, all you must do is get rid of the meat and thoroughly clean and dry the area around it. Phorid flies cannot survive without moisture and phorid fly larvae require moisture to grow and become adults. This is why sometimes eradication of excess moisture is enough to eliminate these pests.
However, sometimes phorid flies can get into ground pipes or infest the moist soil beneath slabs on porches or in basement floors.
This is why people will often find phorid fly infestations in their bathrooms, cellars or basements. These areas in our homes are rich in moisture. Wear and tear in our homes often lead to small cracks and crevices in the cement or foundation where phorid flies can get in and lay their eggs. If this happens, you may find that you need to hire a professional to remove the slabs and eradicate the infested material beneath them.
Other products and methods for phorid fly control generally revolve around prevention. Take a look.
Natural Methods To Get Rid of Phorid Flies
There are several products available that are made with natural ingredients like essential oils to help prevent and repel phorid flies. However, getting rid of phorid flies, as we mentioned above, requires first finding the breeding source and removing it. Once this is done, you can use natural methods and products (which we will list below) to prevent a future phorid fly problem.
Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Phorid Flies
There are also some home remedies and home-made cleaners you can use to help repel and keep phorid flies away. We like using home remedies for phorid fly control because they are often safe for people and pets, inexpensive, and easy to use.
Insecticides or Chemicals To Get Rid Of Phorid Flies
When it comes to getting rid of phorid flies, insecticides are not always your best bet. This is because phorid flies prefer areas rich in moisture and decay, which can compromise insecticides and make them ineffective. That said, insecticides containing pyrethrins have been found to be effective against phorid flies on contact.
Some chemical pours and certain drain cleaners can help get rid of phorid flies at the source and are often considered necessary to remove the organic film and decay inside of pipes and drains to help get rid of phorid flies and their eggs and larvae. We will list a few products we like for how to get rid of phorid flies using drain pours below.
Professionals To Get Rid Of Phorid Flies
Very serious phorid fly infestations may require the help of a professional. This often occurs when phorid flies have infested homes beneath the foundation or inside of walls, where they can be difficult to reach. We will learn more about when it is best to contact professionals for phorid fly removal below, but first lets go over some products and methods you can use at home to help quell and control phorid flies yourself.
How To Get Rid Phorid Flies Using Natural Methods
Because phorid flies are attracted to light, bug zappers are a great way to keep them under control.
One of the first methods you should use to naturally get rid of phorid flies is to locate and remove the breeding source. Keep in mind that there may be more than one breeding source and wherever you may find adult phorid flies does not necessarily mean that is where the breeding source is.
Check drains, garbage disposals, basements, cellars, bathrooms, and beneath appliances. Sometimes, a phorid fly breeding source can be as small as a rotten piece of fruit that fell beneath your refrigerator.
Once you toss the fruit (or whatever source the flies are breeding in) you should next clean thoroughly. Make sure all surfaces are dry when you are done.
You can then use natural products below to clean, monitor, and repel phorid flies.
InVade Bio Drain
Bio Drain is one of our favorite natural drain pours you can use to get rid of phorid flies because it is not only effective, but it is made with all natural ingredients and microbes that eat away at the film inside your drains.
This product eliminates the breeding ground of phorid flies in drains by killing eggs and larvae and removing the film along the edges of pipes where these pests live. The product can also get rid of fruit flies and drain flies, and it will help eliminate odor and prevent future buildup of scum.
InVade Hot Spot Bio Foam
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Hot Spot Bio Foam by InVade is another product that uses natural ingredients and contains natural microbes to help eliminate the breeding source of pests like phorid flies. This foam is ideal for spot treating areas where you suspect phorid flies are breeding like inside cracks and crevices or beneath bathroom tiles.
The product comes out as a spray but quickly foams to fill any cracks or crevices and expands to kill larvae, eggs and adult phorid flies. You can also use this product as a drain cleaner, on carpets, and in garbage disposals.
Catchmaster Fly Trap
You can help control and keep an eye on an infestation by using a sticky fly trap like the above trap by Catchmaster. This fly trap is non-toxic and safe to use around people and pets, and is effective against catching a number of flying pests like phorid flies, fruit flies, drain flies, and even larger flies like house flies.
Because this fly trap is lightly scented, we recommend using it in your garage near your trash bins or in your basement and cellar to moninter phorid flies so that it does not disturb people in kitchens or bathrooms.
Trappify Fly Trap
If you need a phorid fly trap that is great to use in kitchens, we recommend the above fly trap by Trappify. This product comes in a cute design and is safe to use both indoors and out. You can either place it directly in potted plants around your kitchen or hang them in the window or above the sink to catch any phorid flies on the loose.
Again, this product is non-toxic and safe to use around people and pets. Each box contains 12 disposable fly traps that also help catch fruit flies, drain flies, and gnats.
GLOUE Bug Zapper Light
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Because phorid flies are so attracted to light, you can help control and monitor an infestation by installing a light trap. The above trap is designed to be placed into any light socket and can attract flies, mosquitoes, and moths.
You are also able to turn off the bug zapper and use it as a simple light. However, once on, this light trap will attract phorid flies and kill them immediately using a UV LED lamp that is safe for people and pets and can be used both inside your home and out.
Wondercide Indoor Pest Spray
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Wondercide uses natural ingredients like essential oils to repel not only phorid flies but other pests like gnats, fleas, mosquitoes, wasps, roaches and even bed bugs. This is an indoor spray that can be used all over your home, including inside your kitchen where food is stored and prepared.
This spray is also safe for people, pets and the environment and can kill phorid flies on contact. That said, this spray will not eliminate an infestation and will need to be used alongside other methods of removal, including locating and removing the breeding source.
Katchy Indoor Insect Trap
Last on our list of natural products you can use to monitor and control phorid flies in your home is this indoor fly trap by Katchy. The product is uniquely designed to quickly catch and kill small flying insects like phorid flies, gnats, mosquitoes, fruit flies, and more.
Because it is ideal for smaller pests like phorid flies, it is a wonderful option to place in bathrooms, in kitchens, or in other areas you notice an abundance of these pests. We also like that the design is sleek and it uses a light to attract the flies but a glue board to trap them, making it a silent, zap-free insect trap.
How To Get Rid Of Phorid Flies Using Home Remedies
One of the most effective ways of removing phorid flies is to remove the breeding source, which can sometimes be beneath tile or cement slabs in our homes, if the conditions are right.
Phorid flies are highly unsanitary and can be dangerous to humans and pets. For this reason, it’s important not to waste any time getting rid of them. With that in mind, remember that most home remedies for how to get rid of phorid flies are best used as preventatives and may not necessarily work for getting rid of a large phorid fly infestation.
That said, perhaps the easiest way to get rid of phorid flies and prevent a future infestation is actually one specific home-remedy in itself. Simply find the breeding source and get rid of it, and then clean, clean, clean.
Phorid flies are attracted to decaying, moist areas and cannot survive in dry spaces. If you remove their food source and breeding ground, they will not find your home hospitable.
You can also help prevent or repel phorid flies using a combination of fly repellent essential oils and home-made vinegar cleaners.
Essential Oils That Repel Phorid Flies
While the above essential oils will not help eradicate an infestation of phorid flies on their own, they can help repel them and keep them from coming back around. Plus, these essential oils smell great when used correctly! Here is how to make your own essential oil repellent spray for phorid flies:
- 5 to 10 drops of the essential oil of your choice
- 1 spray bottle
- 2 cups of water
- 4 drops of liquid dish soap
Mix the dish soap, essential oil, and water into the spray bottle and shake the solution until it is sudsy. The essential oil will repel any future flies from coming round and the soap will help kill phorid flies on contact by coating their bodies and suffocating them.
White Vinegar Cleaning Spray
Many fly species are attracted to vinegar, but this is not true for phorid flies. For this reason, we love the idea of using white vinegar as a natural cleaning agent to use around your home. Cleaning surfaces regularly can help reduce the chances of running into phorid flies and can also help prevent future phorid flies from coming around. Let’s take a look at how to make your own vinegar cleaning spray.
- 1 4-Ounce spray bottle
- Distilled water
- ½ teaspoon of white vinegar
- 3 drops of the essential oil of your choice
Mix the vinegar into the spray bottle and then fill it with water. You can then add a few drops of peppermint oil, or any essential oil you choose. Mix the solution and then spray it around countertops, tables, and other surfaces to keep them clean.
How To Get Rid Of Phorid Flies Using Insecticides Or Chemicals
Chemical drain pours with an insect regulator may be needed to kill phorid flies and their larvae in drains.
Remember, when working on how to get rid of phorid flies, insecticides do not always work. Furthermore, using pesticides is advised against, especially when dealing with phorid flies in your drains.
That said, there are some insecticide sprays and drain pours you can use that are highly recommended for how to get rid of phorid flies and which work well. We have listed some of our favorite products for you to consider below.
Gentrol Aerosol Foam
The above foaming aerosol by Gentorl contains an insect growth regulator or IGR, which helps kill larvae and eggs from phorid flies and other pests. This product is ideal to use in bathrooms or basements and cellars where you have noticed cracks and crevices and suspect a phorid fly breeding ground.
You may also use this product on flooring in the kitchen and throughout the home, though remember that this product should be used only as directed and kept out of reach of children as it contains harsh chemicals that can be harmful to people and pets.
CB-80 Contact Aerosol
Any insecticide spray that contains pyrethrin is going to work effectively against phorid flies when sprayed on contact. We like the above spray because it includes a wand that helps spot treat potential breeding grounds, assisting you in eliminating these pests where they breed.
However, while this spray is effective it can be harmful to people, pets and the environment. It should be used with caution and only as directed.
Control Solutions Aerosol Insecticide
Another pyrethrin insecticide we like is Control Solutions. This is an aerosol spray that can help eliminate and kill pests like phorid flies, house flies, drain flies, and ants, bed bugs, moths, spiders, roaches, mosquitoes and more. It is a professional grade insecticide that is highly effective, however it can be harmful to people and pets.
Use this product as a spot treatment to help kill adult phorid flies and monitor infestations while looking for the breeding source to remove and eradicate the infestation for good.
How To Get Rid Of Phorid Flies – When To Call A Professional
Getting rid of a phorid fly infestation beneath your flooring may require the help of a professional.
Professionals are not always needed to remove phorid flies, but they may be required if you are unable to find the phorid fly’s breeding source. Sometimes phorid flies will breed below tiles in the bathroom, or beneath cement slabs in basements or cellars.
If this happens, you may need to contact a professional to help remove the slabs or tiles and eradicate the infestation. This is because simply cutting small holes in the floor where phorid flies are infesting and treating the below soil with insecticides or sprays will not work as the rotting matter beneath will need to be completely removed in order to eradicate the infestation in your home.
Professionals can help you pinpoint the source of your infestation and help you remove tiles or slabs, though the price of this can be costley. For this reason, once you have figured out how to get rid of the phorid flies in your home, we suggest going about working on preventative steps to keep them from returning in the future.
How To Prevent A Future Problem With Phorid Flies
Cleaning often can help prevent future phorid flies.
While phorid flies can be a terrible pest to contend with, they are simple to prevent. Most people find that simply cleaning often can help reduce their chances of facing an infestation of phorid flies in or around their home.
Here are a few simple ways you can go about keeping phorid flies at bay in the future.
Repair Water Damage In Your Home
Since phorid flies are mostly attracted to moisture, it makes sense that repairing any water damage in or around your home would be an important step in getting rid of them and keeping them from returning.
If you have water damage inside your home, repair it as soon as possible. It is often best to get rid of any decaying materials like wood, flooring, and carpeting and replace it with new materials that are clean and dry. Doing this will also help prevent other pests from being attracted to your home like waterbugs and carpenter ants.
Consistently Clean and Sanitize Surfaces
Clean surfaces and floors often using a quality cleaner with soap. Keeping your home nice and clean will help reduce the chances of food residue on your countertops or table, which can in turn keep phorid flies from finding your home attractive.
Do Not Leave Dirty Dishes or Rotting Food Out
Because phorid flies are attracted to decay, they can be enticed into your home by the smell of old food on dirty dishes or rotting fruit in fruit bowls. Other pests can also be attracted by these smells including house flies, mice and roaches.
To help reduce your chances of facing pests like phorid flies, we recommend soaking dirty dishes overnight in soapy water or putting them in the dishwasher directly after meals. We also recommend keeping fruits and veggies in the fridge or removing them from the counter or fruit bowl as soon as they become overripe.
Take Out Garbage Often and Invest In Sealed Garbage Bins
Take out your garbage often, especially if it is filled with rotting foods like meats or fruits. We also recommend investing in a garbage bin with a closed lid. Keep outside garbage bins stored in the garage until trash day and, to help repel pests and hide the smell of rotting garbage, you can even spray the tops of the garbage with equal parts water and rubbing alcohol mixed into a spray bottle.
Do Not Overwater Plants and Gardens
Overwatering your garden is not only bad for your plants, but it can also attract a number of pests including phorid flies. In order to keep phorid flies at bay, only water your garden plants, flower beds, and potted plants as necessary.
Remove Excess Moisture
Remove excess moisture outdoors that could serve as a potential breeding ground for pests like mosquitoes and phorid flies. Remove stagnant water in bird baths, pet bowls, overturned buckets, old tires, and other debris that could collect water and lead to decay. Doing this can also help prevent pests like earwigs.
Clean and Dry Bathroom Floors Often
Use a mop or another form of cleaner that sanitizes bathroom floors, as these floors are often a source of moisture, mold and decay and can entice pests like phorid flies. It is also wise to keep an eye on the surfaces around your bathtub and sink, and caulk any cracks or crevices that could serve as potential breeding grounds for decay, which could attract these pests.
Keep Drains Clean and Clog Free
Phorid flies are highly attracted to drains and often choose drains to lay their eggs. You can help prevent your drains from becoming a phorid fly breeding ground by keeping them clean. Invest in drain brushes and pours that remove the film from around the drains and keep organic, decaying matter from building up.
Vacuum, Sweep, or Mop Often
Last but not least, make sure you are routinely vacuuming, sweeping and mopping. Pay special attention to appliances and make sure you are getting beneath them to remove any potential breeding source like fruit or meat that may have fallen behind something without you noticing.
And remember, phorid flies may be small, but these pests can live as long as 25 days, breed rapidly, and carry some nasty bacteria. So, keep your eyes open and your surfaces and floors clean to help keep them from coming around.
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.