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Cluster flies and blow flies belong to the same family Calliphoridae. However, they do not present the same types of health hazards as blowflies because cluster flies don’t lay their eggs on human food. Cluster flies instead parasitize earthworms. The female cluster fly will lay her eggs near earthworm burrows in fields, lawn areas, or pastures. Then, when the eggs hatch, the larvae infest the worms.
Despite the fact that these insects do not cause health issues in humans, they are still considered a pest because they try to enter houses to hibernate, often in large numbers, in the autumn before it gets cold. The cluster flies will congregate as a result of a pheromone that’s released that attracts other flies. The pheromone can linger in an area even after the cluster flies have been eradicated. They’ll tend to try to find places in the roof or within walls where they can live out the winter without being disturbed.
They may be seen in great numbers on windows in areas of a house that are not used very often, which is where they get their name. As such, they are also sometimes known as attic flies. Controlling cluster flies is dependent on getting rid of the pheromone that they release as well as the flies themselves.
Cluster flies are usually about 7-15 millimeters long and can be identified by characteristic stripes behind the head and some gold-colored hairs on the insect’s thorax. They usually move very slowly. Species of cluster flies can be found throughout the world in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. They tend to create the most problems for humans in the spring and in the fall. In the fall they congregate inside houses in an attempt to hibernate and in the spring, they emerge again to lay their eggs.
To get rid of cluster flies, it’s important to kill of the adults before they’re able to lay eggs in surrounding grassy areas. Killing the larvae in the grass can also help to prevent more adults from surviving and lessen the population numbers as well. Surface sprays are available to help control a cluster fly problem in outdoor areas, however, if you have an abundance of cluster flies inside the house, you may need to carry out a full-blown treatment program to get rid of them.
Begin by finding places in your home where the cluster flies are residing. They may be in the eaves or areas of the roof. Spray the clusters with an insecticide that’s safe. A bug bomb may also work to help get population numbers under control. Next, you’ll need to get rid of the dead cluster flies. If you use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the bugs, dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag as soon as you finish the project. Then, use a special spray to cover the surface where the cluster flies landed. This will help to get rid of the pheromones that attract new cluster flies.
If there are other areas of your home where you’ve seen cluster flies, also spray these areas. You may have to be diligent about treating the areas where the cluster flies linger in order to fully rid yourself of the problem. Sometimes it takes a few years to get them completely under control. Each year, it is wise to continue spraying the areas where cluster flies like to congregate to keep them under control.