When we think of flies, many of us think of the common house fly. These flies are large, easy to see, and generally harmless despite their filthy lifestyle. But not many of us are familiar with the small flies that can be common home invaders.
So, if you’re dealing with small flies in house problems and are wondering what exactly these tiny pests are, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn about the most common home-invading small flies and how to get rid of them for good.
Small Flies In House – What In The Heck Are They?
Dealing with small flies in your home can be frustrating, especially if you don’t know what they are.
There are over 120,000 fly species throughout the world, with 18,000 species of flies in the United States alone. With that in mind, it can be tough to identify the tiny flies buzzing about inside your home.
Luckily, some flies are more common than others, and there are six small flies in particular that are more likely than not to be the cause of your small flies in house issues.
The Most Common Indoor Small House Flies Include:
- Fruit FLies
- Drain Flies
- Fungus Gnats
- Phorid Flies
- Sphaerocerid Flies
- And Cheese Skippers
Like their larger fly counterparts, the small flies above are both beneficial insects and annoying pests, especially when they invade our homes in large numbers. Unfortunately, getting rid of small flies can sometimes be more difficult than getting rid of larger flies, especially if you’re unsure of the root cause of the infestation.
There are a few different reasons you might be dealing with small flies in house issues, and before you’re able to get rid of the small flies in question, you must first be able to identify the species of fly you’re dealing with.
Let’s learn more.
Why Do I Have Small Flies In House Issues?
Different species of flies are attracted to different things.
Like all pests, flies are attracted to a good source of food, shelter, and a quality breeding ground. However, different species of flies have different needs and are therefore attracted to different things inside your home.
As with most pest problems, the first step in getting rid of small flies in house issues is to identify the culprit of your problem. From there, you will be able to have a better idea of what the flies are attracted to and why they have chosen your home to invade.
Since the most common small flies in house invaders are the six listed above, we are going to briefly cover these species below.
Fruit flies are attracted to fruit and fermented foods and beverages.
Fruit Fly Size: 3 Millimeters
Fruit Fly Appearance: Brown or beige with red eyes, a rounded thorax, and six legs
Fruit Fly Diet: Fruit, honeydew, vegetables, fermented beverages and foods, and organic decaying materials
Adult Fruit Fly Lifespan: 40 – 50 Days
Fruit Fly Overview
Fruit flies are some of the most common small flies in house pests. These tiny critters are highly attracted to sugary foods like fruits, especially if those fruits become overly ripe on our counters. They can also be found outdoors as well hanging around fruit trees and vegetable gardens, or around your open wine bottle or wine glass.
Though generally harmless to people and pets, fruit flies do live unsanitary lifestyles as they have been known to land on rotting organic matter. For his reason, they can transmit bacteria like E. coli, salmonella, and listeria.
Getting rid of fruit flies typically means removing their source of food. This includes overly ripe fruits and veggies inside the home, sealing garbage bins, and keeping alcohol bottles closed and sealed when not in use. Pick up fallen fruit outside your home, and use a year-round pest control regime to keep these flies from returning.
Drain flies live in clogged drains and feed on the buildup in pipes.
Drain Fly Size: 1.5 – 5 Millimeters
Drain Fly Appearance: Brown or grey with long, furry antenna, six legs, and moth-like wings.
Drain Fly Diet: Larvae feed on the decaying organic matter that builds up in drain pipes while adults feed on nectar and sewage.
Adult Drain Fly Lifespan: Around 14 days
Drain Fly Overview
Also known as drain moths, drain flies dwell and reproduce in drains and sewers. They are commonly found in sink and tub drains, and are most attracted to drains that are clogged. They are prolific reproducers, which can lead to infestations in small spaces like bathrooms or kitchens.
Luckily, drain flies are not dangerous and are considered more of a nuisance pest in the home. Getting rid of drain flies is often remedied by cleaning and unclogging drains on a routine basis.
Fungus gnats feed on fungi and mold.
Fungus Gnat Size: 2.5 Millimeters
Fungus Gnat Appearance: Black or grey with elongated bodies, six legs, smooth antenna, and clear wings.
Fungus Gnat Diet: Decaying organic matter including fungi, leaf mold, mulch, grass clippings, root hairs, compost, and algae.
Adult Fungus Gnat Lifespan: One to two weeks
Fungus Gnat Overview
As their name suggests, fungus gnats are attracted to anything that grows fungus or mold. This means that areas rich in moisture can attract them, and they are often found invading homes with leaky pipes. However, an invasion of fungus gnats is most commonly caused by an overwatering of indoor house plants.
You can get rid of and avoid future fungus gnats by removing excess water sources inside the home, repairing leaky pipes and water damage as soon as possible, and by refraining from overwatering your house plants.
Phorid flies can be identified by the distinct hump on their back.
Phorid Fly Size: Between 0.5 and 6 Millimeters in length
Phorid Fly Appearance: Black with a pronounced head, a large hump on their thorax, six legs and clear wings.
Phorid Fly Diet: Decaying organic matter including feces, rotting vegetables, rotting fruits, rotting meat, dead carcasses, fungi, and sewage
Adult Phorid Fly Lifespan: 7 Days
Phorid Fly Overview
Despite their filthy lifestyle, phorid flies are incredibly beneficial decomposers who play an important role in a healthy ecosystem. Unfortunately, their presence inside your home could mean there is a more serious underlying problem.
Because they feed on rotting organic matter including feces and dead animals, if you have small flies in house issues with phorid flies, it’s time to do some investigating to find the source. An animal could have gotten trapped in your walls or crawlspace and passed away, or you may have an accumulation of animal feces somewhere.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to find out why you have phorid flies and work to remedy the issue. Once you remove the source, you should be able to remove the flies as well. Phorid flies may be small, but they can be very dangerous and transmit a number of serious illnesses to people and pets.
Sphaerocerid Fly Size: About 3 Millimeters
Sphaerocerid Fly Appearance: Black or dark grey with dark red eyes, brown wings, stubby antenna, and six legs.
Sphaerocerid Fly Diet: Decaying organic matter including drain buildup, animal waste, compost, rotting fruits, vegetables and meats, and sewage.
Adult Sphaerocerid Fly Lifespan: 2 to 5 Days
Sphaerocerid Fly Overview
The sphaerocerid fly is also known as the small dung fly or lesser corpse fly. It is another beneficial decomposer on this list of most common small flies in house pests, but they can be dangerous in large numbers. Due to their unsanitary lifestyle and diet, like phorid flies and many other flies, sphaerocerid flies can transmit a number of illnesses to people and pets.
To get rid of them, experts recommend keeping your home as clean and tidy as possible. Pick up dog waste routinely and keep floors swept and vacuumed. Keep perishable foods inside the fridge and don’t allow fruits or veggies to become overly ripe on the counter.
Sphaerocerid flies are also attracted to garbage bins and clogged drains, so keep drains clog-free and garbage bins sealed.
Cheese Skipper Fly
Cheese skippers are attracted to moldy cheeses and meats.
Cheese Skipper Fly Size: 4 – 5 Millimeters
Cheese Skipper Fly Appearance: Black and almost ant-like with a segmented head and thorax, THey have short antinea, six legs and two clear wings.
Cheese Skipper Fly Diet: Rotting or moldy cheeses and meats as well as decaying dead carcass.
Adult Cheese Skipper Fly Lifespan: 3 to 7 Days
Cheese Skipper Fly Overview
The cheese skipper is a unique little fly with a unique name. It plays an important role in the ecosystem as a natural decomposer and is also useful in forensic investigations to determine the length of time a person has been dead.
However, when they get into your home and become one of the small flies in house culprits, cheese skipper flies can become dangerous. Due to their unsanitary lifestyle and their propensity for infesting human foods, cheese skipper flies can easily transmit serious illnesses and bacteria.
To get rid of cheese skipper flies, it’s best to toss out old foods and keep fruits and vegetables from becoming overripe. Purchase sealed garbage bins and put away meats when not using them. If you have an abundance of cheese skipper flies in your home and are not sure why, you may need to contact a professional as there could be an underlying cause, (i.e. a dead animal in the walls or chimney, etc).
Tips For How To Get Rid of Small Flies In House
The best way to treat a small fly infestation is to first know which type of fly you are dealing with.
Now that we’ve gone over the most common small flies in house culprits, let’s do a quick rundown of some steps you can take to get rid of these pests.
Identify The Species Of Fly You Are Dealing With
First and foremost, do some research and make sure you identify which pest you are dealing with. While the above six species of small flies are the most common small flies in house pests, there are others and it is possible you could be dealing with an entirely different type of fly.
Once you know which type of fly you are dealing with inside your home, you’ll be able to devise a plan of action to remove it.
Place Small Fly Traps
Using sticky glue traps specifically for small flies in house issues can help you not only reduce the number of flies driving you nuts, but it can also help you identify the types of flies you are dealing with.
There are several traps available, but we suggest going for non-toxic glue traps, as there is generally no need for poisons since the glue kills the fly anyway. This is also safer to use in kitchens and bathrooms, and in other areas where people and pets frequent.
Purchase A Fly Repellent
Fly repellents come in a number of forms, but the best for indoor use are generally sprays. That said, you can also use ultrasonic sound repellers and even scent-repellent packets to keep flies at bay.
Use Home Remedies
Many types of small flies in house issues can be remedied with household ingredients and plain-old good habits. In fact, making your own fly repellent spray is simple and inexpensive, and we’ll cover some of our favorite recipes below.
Use An Indoor Insecticide
If all else fails, you may need to use an insecticide. There are plenty of insecticides available that are designed to be used indoors. However, keep in mind that chemical insecticides do use toxic ingredients that can be dangerous for people and pets.
Make sure you read the directions carefully and use insecticides for how to get rid of small flies in house issues only as directed.
Best Products For How To Get Rid Of Small Flies In House
Not every product below will work for every species of fly, but many can work for the small flies in your home.
While it is important to know which type of fly you are dealing with before you purchase products for small flies in house issues, there are a few common products that work for most small flies in general.
The below products can help kill repel, and even prevent small flies in house infestations. Take a look.
Wondercide Indoor Pest Control Spray
Wondercide is an all natural spray that can kill and repel a number of pests from flies to roaches to spiders and more. It works especially well against pests in the kitchen like fruit flies and fungus flies, but can be useful against most house flies you might come across.
This spray works using essential oils like peppermint oil, lemongrass oil, rosemary oil or cedar oil, and is safe to use in areas where food is stored and prepared, and in rooms where pets and people frequent.
Ultrasonic Pest Repeller
An ultrasonic pest repeller like the one listed above is ideal for keeping flies from coming around. The product works by plugging into your walls and emitting ultrasonic sound waves and vibrations that are highly annoying to pests but completely harmless to people and pets.
Stingmon Sticky Small Fly Traps
Using sticky glue traps to identify which type of small fly you are dealing with is an important step in devising a pest control plan. We like the above sticky traps because they are specifically designed to capture small flies in house culprits like fruit flies and fungus flies.
The traps come in a pack of twelve and contain no toxic chemicals or odors. That said, the traps will not reduce your fly problem on their own. You will still need to use a method or remedy to fully get rid of them. Once you trap the flies in the glue, you can then identify which type of pest you are dealing with and go from there.
How To Get Rid Of Small Flies In House Using Home Remedies
Pouring boiling water down your drain can kill drain flies and their larvae and eggs.
The below home remedies won’t work for all of your small flies in house issues, so make sure you know which type of fly you are dealing with in order to ensure you aren’t wasting your time. We’ll go ahead and let you know below as well which home remedy works best for which species of fly.
Use Essential Oils
The above essential oils can help repel fruit flies, fungus gnats, phorid flies, sphaerocerid flies and cheese skippers when used correctly:
To make your own essential oil spray for these types of small flies in house, combine 10 to 20 drops of essential oil into 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. You may also add four drops of liquid dish soap.
Shake the mixture until sudsy to ensure it is combined, then spray it directly on the flies in question. The soap will kill the small flies in the house instantly while the essential oil will repel any future flies.
The below video shows how to make a homemade essential oil pest control spray for flies at home.
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White Vinegar Cleaning Spray
White vinegar will work best for phorid flies, sphaerocerid flies and cheese skipper flies. You can use white vinegar as a natural and safe cleaning agent as well as a fly repellent for the above flies by combining 1 1/4th cups of water and 5 drops of your favorite essential oil. Then add 1/4ths cup of white vinegar.
For a disinfectant, you have the option of adding 1/4th of a cup of vodka or rubbing alcohol.
Home Remedies For Getting Rid Of Drain Flies
When it comes to small flies in house culprits, drain flies can be unique. Often just cleaning the drain can help, but you can also use other home remedies to pour into your drains to get rid of these pests, including:
- Boiling Water
- ½ Cup Baking Soda and Warm Water
- White Vinegar or Fresh Lemon
How To Get Rid Of Small Flies In House – When To Call A Professional
Severe fly infestations can be hazardous to your health and may require professional help to remedy.
Most small flies in house issues can be taken care of using quality products, home remedies and by simply practicing good habits. However, if you find you cannot get rid of these tiny pests on your own, it may be time to contact a professional.
Remember, some species of small flies can be very dangerous and others can be a sign of a more serious underlying problem.
On average, professional pest control experts charge between $100 to $500 for small flies in house removal, though this can vary depending on your region and the severity of your infestation. Once these flies are gone, we suggest you use the below measures to prevent them from returning.
How To Prevent Small Flies From Returning To Your House
Practicing good habits like cleaning and sweeping can help prevent future flies.
Getting rid of your small flies in house issues is only a small part of pest control. Prevention, as we always say, is key to keeping your home pest free and your family safe. When it comes to small flies and other home invading pests, there are a few methods you can use to keep them at bay.
Take a look.
Keep Up With Routine Home Maintenance
Most pests get into our homes through cracks and crevices, and many get in through gaps in doorways or tears in window screens. To prevent pests from finding their way into your home, make sure you practice routine home maintenance.
Seal and caulk any cracks and crevices you come across and make sure doors and windows shut and seal securely. You should also inspect screens to ensure there are no rips or tears.
Don’t Leave Dirty Dishes In The Sink Overnight
Many of the flies on our above list and other flies in general are attracted to human foods. To refrain from accidentally attracting flies and dealing with small flies in house pests, we suggest soaking dirty dishes in soapy water overnight or rinsing them and putting them in the dishwasher.
Simply leaving them in the sink can attract a number of pests into your home, including flies, ants, roaches and mice.
Keep Drains Clean and Clog-Free
Drain flies are not the only small flies in house culprits to feed on drain scum. You can help keep these flies and other pests out of your home and drains by investing in a catcher for your drains. Clean these catchers often and make sure you clog drains as soon as you realize they are backed up.
Repair Leaks and Clean Up Excess Moisture
Many pests are attracted to areas rich in moisture, and these annoying small flies are no exception. Use a dehumidifier if you live in humid regions to help reduce pest activity and repair any leaks you come across immediately. It’s also best to clean up excess water around the home and dry it thoroughly to reduce the chances of fungus and mold growth.
Keep Your Home Nice and Tidy Both Inside and Out
Before flies become a problem inside your home, they are often a problem outside, You can help keep flies out by ensuring both inside and outside of your home are nice and tidy.
Remove excess debris like leaf litter, dead trees, compost, and soggy mulch. We also suggest cleaning up pet waste as often as possible outdoors and ensuring outdoor garbage bins are properly stored and sealed.
Inside, make sure you vacuum and sweep often and use a quality cleaning product when wiping down counters and surfaces.
Don’t Let Fruits, Veggies, or Meats Go Bad
Throw out old or moldy foods as soon as you notice they are no longer good. Remember, rotting foods are very pungent, and often pests smell the scent before we do.
Use Routine Pest Control Year-Round
Last, it’s always a good idea to use a year-round pest control product to protect your home from pests. Flies especially can be a secondary problem to other pest issues like rodents, raccoons, bats and more.
A quality pest control that repels a wide variety of pests will help ensure your home is protected and fly-free.
We hope this has been a helpful guide on the types of small flies in house culprits you may come across. So, now we’re curious. Which type of small fly are you dealing with in your home? Leave us your comment in the comment section below.
Thanks for reading!
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.