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phorid fly


Phorid flies are small flies, tan to dark brown in color, up to 1/8 of an inch in length with a distinguished humpbacked appearance. Any organic material that remains wet can potentially be utilized for food and breeding by this fly. The female deposits 20 eggs at a time and can produce 40 eggs in a 12 hour period. Larvae emerge within 24 hours and feed for 8 to 16 days before crawling to a dry area to pupate. Under ideal conditions, the lifecycle can be completed in as little as 14 days or take as long as 37 days.

Biology and Behavior

phorid fly up close

  • Because they frequent unsanitary areas, phorid flies are a concern as they can transmit pathenogenic bacteria onto food or human tissues.

  • Phorid flies can be found in mausoleums and mortuaries and will infest human cadavers.

  • Commercial kitchens that 'wet wash' with pressurized water often push moist organic debris into cracks under equipment and gaps under walls where the material ferments and breeds phorid flies.

  • The most difficult infestations are caused by sub-slab breaks in drain lines where organic material accumulates and adult flies or larvae enter the living space through cracks in the slab, gaps around utility penetrations or unsealed expansion joints.

  • Such sub-slab infestations can only be found by boroscopes used to locate broken lines or by cutting a core hole in the slab to look for conducive conditions or signs of activity. All infested soil must be replaced and the leak repaired to solve these problems.

  • Phorid fly problems are also common in overwatered house plants and floral displays as well as pet terrariums.

  • Wet mops and brooms that collect moist organic material and are not cleaned and improperly stored are also good breeding sites.

Phorid Fly Control Tips

  • Insect light traps are effective against adult phorid flies but will not solve a problem on their own, as developing flies will remain.

  • Eliminating the breeding sites through sanitation and moisture control are the only methods for long-standing control.

  • Applications of bioenzyme-based cleaning agents and growth regulators are beneficial in eliminating organic material in unseen microenvironments.

  • Use lids and liners on trash receptacles to keep out foraging flies and aid in cleaning and empty them daily.

  • Cover gaps leading to suspected, hidden breeding sites with tape to trap emerging flies and show activity.

  • Do not stop searching when one source of infestation is found as there are often more.

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