What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Attack of the flies!
Location: Pleasanton, CA
June 20, 2011 3:45 pm
Before this morning, I haven’t seen more than 2 flies in my home at one time. Last night the coast was clear and then this morning I woke up to my hallway covered in these suckers. They look like house flies but gray and probably like 5 times bigger. At first none of them were flying, only crawling around like a spider would but then when it started to get warmer during the day they flew all over. I took to the internet and tried to identify the best I could and the closest I saw was a stable fly. Um, how and why?! Orkin man came later on in the day and sprayed and said that I had nothing to worry about that it’s not what I think it is. He told me that it’s just a bigger version of a green house fly. I was comforted until he said that because it looks nothing like that! These things are resilient too. I sprayed one with Windex and Pinsol and then stomped on it and it was still squirming!
These are the best pictures that I could get since all the other ones I killed have all their guts smashed out and markings are not quite visible any longer.
Please tell me I’m wrong in thinking that this is a stable fly. I would love to be wrong. And/or tell me that I’m overreacting to the dangers. I keep thinking that I’ll go to sleep tonight just to wake up to welts from bites and have more of these suckers on the wall and everywhere around me!
Signature: Scared and paranoid

Flesh Fly

Dear Scared and paranoid,
We hope we are able to comfort you by telling you that this is NOT a Stable Fly, though our actual identification might send you over the edge.  This is a Flesh Fly in the family Sarcophagidae.  We also don’t believe the Orkin Man solved your problem, though we are certain he had no problems separating you from your money.  All he could succeed in doing was to kill the living Flesh Flies that had emerged in your home, but he could do nothing to prevent future occurrences.  Flesh Flies do not bite and the adults do not pose any threat to you.  Flesh Flies breed in decaying organic matter, including decomposing animals.  Perhaps there was a dead animal in the walls which resulted in your Flesh Fly invasion.  When the weather is warm, Flesh Flies may breed very quickly in decaying food like meat bones and fat or fish carcasses in the garbage can that has not been properly emptied.  Once, we had some rotten potatoes under the sink and that proved to be a breeding ground for Flesh Flies.  You need to locate the source of the invasion, though Flesh Flies will not continue to breed in a carcass once it has passed a certain stage of decomposition.  Generally, once the original infestation has occurred, you do not need to worry about subsequent invasions.  See BugGuide for additional information on Flesh Flies.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: California
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4 Responses to Invasion of the Flesh Flies

  1. Jessi says:

    I started seeing these around the back of my house a few years ago, and had never seen them before. Once I found out what they were, I asked around, and it turns out that my neighbors had started a compost pile in their backyard. When I went to see it, these flies were swarming around it, so I think the rotting food discards were the source, but I’m not entirely sure.

    • bugman says:

      Thanks for the comment Jessi. Some Flesh Flies will feed on decomposing vegetable matter, and the experience we had with the rotten potatoes under the sink is all the proof we needed to believe that claim.

  2. Erika says:

    We had smelled something in my house MONTHS ago by our stove and we knew something died, so we searched and searched and searched. Could not find a thing we cleaned out the oven and everywhere around it. The smell started to leave so we thought it was just like old grease or something. Now all of a sudden I was doing the dishes and a big group of flies came from up under the oven. Its really disgusting Dx

  3. Linda Price says:

    These flies DO bite, and bite very severely. Feeling the stab, I knocked one off my arm and the site was blistered, but it flared up all summer. The site was 2 inches circular. Be very afraid!

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