Phorid Flies Bite, Traps, Identification, Treatment/Elimination

| November 28, 2017

Learn all about phorid flies bite, trap, identification and treatment. Phorid flies are also known as “sewer flies.” To the naked eye, phorid flies resemble common fruit flies in appearance, with bodies measuring 0.5 to 5.5 mm in length. Phorid flies are often called “humpbacked flies.” They are characterized by their humped thoraxes.

Body coloration ranges from black to brown to yellow. They are found all over the world, but favor warm, tropical regions. The “mushroom phorid,” Megaselia halterata, belongs to the Phoridae, a very large family (group) of flies comprising more than 3,500 species. The species in the Phoridae have highly diverse life history traits and geographical distributions that are considered to be unmatched in the entire insect order encompassing all flies (Diptera).

Phorid flies feed on feces, sewage, fungi, and decomposing fruits and vegetables, rotting meat, and the carcasses of dead animals. Phorid flies pose an even greater risk in hospitals and nursing homes because there are documented cases of Phorid fly larvae feeding on necrotic flesh associated with wounds of patients.

Phorid Flies are small scuttling pests that will cause havoc with your collection especially egg sac. The maggots will attack nymphs in incubators and each fly can produce 30-40 eggs which metamorphosize into the flies.

The fly traps are very effective at removing the problem but Isopods in the substrate and attentative spot cleaning of enclosures will also aid your battle. Since adult phorids are attracted to light, light and glue traps near windows and cracks can help technicians collect an initial sample of the pest to confirm whether it is or is not a phorid fly.

Phorid Flies Bite, Traps, Identification, TreatmentElimination

What are Phorid Flies?

When people see small-sized flies in their home, their first thought is that they must be fruit flies. However, there are a handful of other kinds of small flies that may also be found in homes. One common type is the phorid (FOUR-id) fly also known as humpbacked fly, coffin fly, and scuttle fly. This fly is about 1/8 inches long, tannish to dark brown and has a hump-shaped thorax. Under magnification, you can see the characteristic pattern of veins in their wings comprised of two strong veins at the top of the wings with three or four parallel veins radiating out from there

Phorid Flies Bite

No, Pseudacteon phorid flies cannot sting or bite, because they do not have stingers or biting mouthparts, nor are they attracted to humans or pets. Pseudacteon phorid flies, also known as decapitating flies, were imported from South America as biological control agents of imported fire ants attack the imported red fire ant, various wasps, bumble bees and honey bees. Most of the species, however, deposit their eggs in decaying animal or plant material and it is in these instances that they come into conflict with man.

Phorid Flies Traps

Efficient and non-toxic, the Fly Web Fly Light is designed for indoor use where there are flying pests and proven to trap annoying, disease carrying, house flies, bottle flies, fruit flies, yellow jackets, moths, Asian lady beetles, mosquitoes and many other pests. Contemporary styling complements any decor. The Fly Web Fly Light attracts flying insects using energy efficient UV light and traps them on glue cards. The glue cards use natural ingredients, are non-toxic and easily replaced when full. Simply pierce the top of the Natural Catch plus Fruit Fly trap with a ball point pen and place anywhere fruit flies are a problem. For best results replace every 30 days.

Phorid Flies Identification

Phorid flies are relatively easy to identify by their size and hump-backed appearance. All phorid flies have enlarged hind femurs and distinctive wing veination. A closer look at the sample shows the big, flattened femurs (the first easily visible leg segment coming off the body) and that special phorid fly wing veination. Phorid flies have a unique trio of heavy veins in the front wings. I think they come together looking a little like a pocketknife blade (see bottom picture). Once you see those two characters, you can be sure at least that you’re looking at a fly in the phorid family.

Phorid Flies Treatment/Elimination

Phorid flies treatments are done according to their infestation. Although there are several sprays and traps used to kill flies in a home, restaurant or other structure, the infestation cannot be eliminated without eliminating their source. A space spray (Pyrethrin aerosol) can be used as a quick kill, reducing populations of flying insects. Pyrethrin aerosol is also a crack and crevice tool that is used to spray the tiny areas where Phorid Flies breed. To monitor the area, use a Gold Stick trap. These traps use a fly sex lure to attract flies to their doom.

Every Phorid fly caught is one less breeding, egg laying adult. Due to the nature of the phorid fly, treatment can be one of the most difficult parts of the process because it often requires customer buy-in and costs above and beyond traditional pest management solutions. The customer’s role in solving the problem can involve digging up a floor, repairing or fixing plumbing, removing so it takes a lot of effort and commitment to do that, and those types of fixes are not inexpensive.

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