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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Location: California

7 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!

  4. Joanne Birtch says:

    Linda is right. They DO bite and it is nasty. It is not AS itchy as a mosquito bite but it is larger and redder. It feels like multiple tiny bumps in a small area.

    It might be worthwhile noting, I am one of those people that biting insects find most appealing. Also, I live in the country in Ontario.

  5. Sam says:

    Just like the original post- I had only seen 1 or 2 at a time in my studio apartment in nyc. Then the other day, it was like a plague had descended upon my home and there were over 10 huge flies crawling on the walls and flying around. When I swatted them with a fly swatter I discovered, much to my disgust, that each one had about 20-30 live (and crawling) maggots attached to its body. Has anyone had any experience with this? I am an extremely clean person, never leave food/dishes out, and take my trash out every day. My apt is tiny, so I think I would smell rotting flesh/ if something had died… Please help!!!

  6. Brittany says:

    Does anyone know why the adults hang around on the ground?? Almost like they enjoy walking around like spiders more than flying and seems like they stop to take naps?! Most are just about dead, but then when I try to pick them up they start flailing around and sometimes they flip back on the feet and take off flying for window or out into a hall.. I don’t get it! And I feel like they are playing dead half the time, they will curl their legs in and go belly up for a long period of time and then all of a sudden be perfectly fine!! Answers please!

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