4 Effective Tips to Eliminate Picture-Winged Flies

Picture-winged flies are beautiful, but having flies buzzing around your head is never a good thing. Here’s how to get rid of picture-winged fly, and why it may not be necessary to take harsh measures

Dealing with flies swarming around your house can be a big challenge if you don’t know what kind of flies you are dealing with. 

These insects are highly attracted to dirty places with an abundance of decaying matter. 

How To Get Rid Of Picture-Winged Fly
Picture Winged Fly

If you have spotted flies having clear wings with black-brown or yellow patterns, then you have most probably encountered a picture-winged fly. 

These are very common across North America. In this article, we will discuss more how to get rid of them. 

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What are Picture Winged Flies?

The Picture-winged flies are known for the bold patterns in their spotted wings. They have an ant-shaped body and can grow from 0.25-0.5 inches in length. 

These flies are somewhat similar to fruit flies, flutter flies, signal flies, lance flies, and more.

You can recognize the adult flies by the shiny black-brown wings with slight touches of yellow. These wings can grow up to 0.23 inches in length. 

The body is mostly light brown in color with brown to yellowish-brown legs. 

Are They Pests?

A picture-winged fly is harmless to humans and pets as they do not bite and cause any damage to your home and the furniture in it. 

However, these insects are significant pests of sweet corn in Florida

Apart from that, they do not cause much of a problem to humans, but the sight of a bunch of these flies gathering around your house can be a little too much to bear. 

How To Get Rid Of Picture-Winged Fly
Picture Winged Fly

This is why people might want to take active measures to get rid of them. 

However, you must know that these flies play a significant role in keeping the surroundings clean by getting rid of decomposing organic matter effectively.

What Do They Eat?

The larvae of these flies usually consume decaying matter; you can find them swarming around piles of rotting organic material like plant matter, vegetables, and fruits. 

Nectar and flowing sap are the main food sources for adult picture-winged flies. Hence you can spot them near flowering gardens.

The larvae also actively consume sweet corn (as mentioned earlier). 

Due to their feeding habits, you can spot these flies swarming around moist areas like bottomlands where things usually rot. 

What Eats Them? 

There are many active predators of the picture-winged flies, including different kinds of birds like phoebes, wrens, flycatchers, tanagers, and more. 

Apart from birds, these flies are also hunted down by giant spiders and other predatory insects as well.

When Do They Come Into Homes?

The flies usually live around moist places that promise plenty of decaying matter for them to feed on, but they can also creep into your homes. 

Dealing with a bunch of flies buzzing around inside your house is not a pretty sight which is why you need to be a little cautious.  

These flies usually enter the homes during the winter season to survive the cold but ironically, adult flies never survive the winter. 

In the next section, we will take a look at a few practical ways to keep these insects away from your home. 

How To Get Rid Of Picture-Winged Fly
Picture Winged Fly

How To Get Rid of Them?

Since flies love to be around decaying matter, you should always keep your house clean by regularly taking out the trash. 

Make sure that you keep the moist area in check, like sink drains, drain pipes, and more.

If the flies have already entered your home, there is no need to use insecticide, as they will eventually die once the surroundings get a little colder. 

The flies can also enter through tiny cracks and gaps in your windows, door, or walls. 

Therefore a thorough check for these cracks and gaps; if you find some, make sure that you immediately seal them up. 

If you continue to have issues call a local pest control company. Hiring a trained professional will help get rid of those pesky flys.

How To Get Rid Of Picture-Winged Fly

Frequently Asked Questions 

Where do picture-winged flies live?

Pictured-winged flies usually live in moist areas that are ideal for rotting organic material to exist. 
The adult flies also actively consume flower nectar and sap flows, so you can spot them around the flowering garden as well. 
During the winter, they can creep into the house to survive the cold.

How do you get rid of Ceroxys Latiusculus flies?

To get rid of these flies, you must make sure that all the cracks and gaps in your house, as the flies can use them as entry points to your house. 
They usually enter homes to survive the cold during winter. If you find a few of these flies inside your house, there is no need to use insecticides on them, as they will probably die when the temperature gets a little colder.

How do you get rid of buzzy flies?

These flies are attracted to moist places that have decaying organic matter, like fruits, vegetables, and more. Therefore you must routinely take the trash out of your house. 
If a lot of trash gets accumulated at a place, the flies will definitely get attracted to that. You also must clean other moist surfaces in your house, like sink drains, drain pipes, and more, to keep the flies away. 

How does vinegar get rid of flies?

Vinegar is a great source to create a trap for flies. Here you fill a big bowl with vinegar and mix it with a small amount of dish-washing soap. The sweet smell of the vinegar will attract flies to investigate the mixture. 
Once they fall into the liquid, the dish soap will decrease the surface tension of the mixture, due to which the files will immediately drown without being able to escape.

Wrap Up

The picture-winged flies might be good to look at but the sight of them swarming around your house is not a pretty one. 

Moreover, in places like Florida, where their larvae are notorious for eating sweet corn crops, effective measures are necessary to keep them in control.

You can use the tips and tricks mentioned in this article to handle these flies. 

Thank you for reading the article. 

Reader Emails

Picture winged flies are mesmerizingly beautiful, and many of our readers have captured photographs of these bugs as they buzz about in homes.

While some emails are mostly curious, others are of a scared variety, and that is why we had to write this blog on getting rid of picture-winged flies.

Read on and decide for yourself: are these flies pests or just beautiful bugs?

Letter 1 – Picture Winged Fly


Subject:  Strange segmented fly?
Geographic location of the bug:  Cincinnati
Date: 05/21/2018
Time: 10:15 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We’ve had a large number of these critters in the last few weeks. Caught this one sitting on my windshield and was able to get a pretty close image.
How you want your letter signed:  C Hunter

Picture Winged Fly

Dear C Hunter,
This is a Picture Winged Fly,
Delphinia picta,  which is pictured on BugGuide, and according to BugGuide:  “Breeds in decaying organic matter, such as compost” so we suspect you have a compost pile nearby.

Letter 2 – Picture Winged Fly


Subject:  Ant/Wasp like creature found on window
Geographic location of the bug:  Montreal, City Area
Date: 06/30/2018
Time: 04:55 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  It was around as big as the tip of my index finger (not including the wings). This wasp/ant like creature was all brown except for its abdomen, which was a darker shade of brown. It had a retractable stinger, I saw it and has black and white wings. I saw it on the opposite side of my window facing outside my house. I saw it on a cloudy hot summer day around dusk time, around the end of June. I am curious to know what kind of species it is, and if it is dangerous or not. I cannot find anything about it on the Internet, maybe it is a new species? Thank you!
How you want your letter signed:  Your name

Picture Winged Fly

This is neither an Ant nor a Wasp.  It is a Fly.  More specifically, it is a Picture Winged Fly, Delphinia picta.  It is not dangerous.

Letter 3 – Picture Winged Fly


Red, deer-headed fly – non-archived! Intriguing!
Hello again!  I hope you take a look at this email, as I’ve never seen anything like this fly in my life.  I checked through a great deal of your extensive archives, and even the Hanging Thief, with its similar coloration, was not a match.
I haven’t seen another one since I saw this one.  It was beautiful, but kind of creeped me out because of its very strange way of moving – it moved in little jerks, and continually rotated its wings and halteres in this slow fanning motion while standing (maybe this is normal but I’ve never seen it).  I’ve attached an admittedly short and low-quality video to illustrate these motions – if you have enough inbox space and would like to see better video, I’d be glad to share my nicer files with you.
In case it helps in the identification, there were lots of full trash cans and some animal excrement nearby.  Vegetation around the place I saw it is primarily pines, oaks, sweetgums, maples, etc., and cultivated plants as well: ornamental grasses, magnolias, mulch, and redbuds, among others.
Until I figure out what it is, I’ve been calling it the Fawn Fly because its head shape and markings remind me of a deer fawn.  I’d love to know what it really is! Thanks,
R. Thompson

Picture Winged Fly
Picture Winged Fly

Hi R,Your interesting fly is a Picture Winged Fly, Delphinia picta.  According to BugGuide, it breeds in decaying organic matter like compost.

Letter 4 – Picture Winged Fly


Subject:  Identify please
Geographic location of the bug:  Northern Illinois
Date: 08/02/2019
Time: 12:48 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  The big in the picture seems to always have its wings in an open position and so far have never seen more then one or tow in a location. Any help be very appreciated!
How you want your letter signed:  T

Picture Winged Fly

Dear T,
This is a Picture Winged Fly,
Delphinia picta, and according to BugGuide:  “Breeds in decaying organic matter, such as compost.”

Letter 5 – Picture Winged Fly


Subject:  Stained glass wings
Geographic location of the bug:  Ellicott City, Maryland
Date: 10/04/2019
Time: 08:20 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Shortly after replacing our aluminum siding and roofing last month (September)  I noticed this insect sunning itself on the third story window ledge.  Can you please help identify it?  Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  Dee

Picture Winged Fly

Dear Dee,
This Fly is
Delphinia picta, one of the Picture Winged Flies in the family Ulidiidae.

Letter 6 – Picture Winged Fly


Flying insect
Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 5:43 AM
Hello! Once again I am calling upon your wealth of knowledge to help me ID a most intriguing insect….seen in one of our fields while out looking for butterflies to ‘shoot’. This was taken in July. Any idea what he/she is?
Thank you for your time!
Pat Garner, Hawk Point, MO
Taken in Lincoln County

Picture Winged Fly
Picture Winged Fly

Hi Pat,
This unusual creature is a Picture Winged Fly in the family Ulidiidae. Of all the species posted to BugGuide, your photo looks most like Delphinia picta, but both the head shape and wing pattern are different. We will contact Eric Eaton to see if he can provide a species identification.

Sorry to be late in replying….
The picture-winged fly is Tritoxa incurva.  Looks like it has its mouthparts extended, giving it a long-faced look.

Letter 7 – Picture Winged Fly


Mystery Fly
August 26, 2009
Hi, I’ve noticed some mysterious flies around my yard, and I’ve been unable to identify them. They don’t seem interested in the normal waste and rot that many regular flies like, and seem to be solitary. They have ferocious looking piercing mouthparts, and their overall shape reminds me of a military helicopter. Maybe that’s just me, though. I’ve been trying for weeks to get a picture, and they’ve eluded me — until this morning, when I found a dead one tangled in an old spider web. It’s slightly dessicated, but I believe there’s enough detail for an ID. I hope.
Trenton, NJ

Picture Winged Fly
Picture Winged Fly

Hi Chrissy,
We are happy your perseverance paid off.  According to BugGuide, the Picture Winged Fly, Delphinia picta:  “Breeds in decaying organic matter, such as compost.

Letter 8 – Picture Winged Fly


Unknown fly
Location:  Philadlephia, PA
August 30, 2010 4:19 pm
I’ve had a bunch of these flies in my yard for the past couple of years. I’ve tried to find out what kind of fly this is on my own with out any luck. In fact, trying to I.D. this fly on my own is part of what led me to your site.
Sadly, my camera gave me a hard time with focusing on this fly, so I was only able to get this one picture before it became annoyed with me and flew off. I was hoping that you’d be able to help me I.D. it.

Picture Winged Fly

Hi Dave,
This is a Picture Winged Fly in the family Ulidiidae.  The species
Delphinia picta does not have a common name.  According to BugGuide , it:  “Breeds in decaying organic matter, such as compost.

Letter 9 – Picture Winged Fly


Strange Pink Eyed Bug – With wings!
Location: Northern NJ – Essex County
October 3, 2011 9:29 am
Hi there,
I’m hoping you can identify the flying bug in this photo. I’ve never seen anything like this. I sent the pic to my friend who used to work in the park services and is now a science teacher and she had no idea what it was.
I took this pic on October 1st in the morning. I bug was hanging out on my friend’s car.
Thank you for any help!
Signature: Jessica L.

Picture Winged Fly

Hi Jessica,
This is a Picture Winged Fly in the family Ulidiidae, and we believe we have correctly identified it as
Delphinia picta.  According to BugGuide, it “Breeds in decaying organic matter, such as compost.”

Letter 10 – Picture Winged Fly: Idana marginata


Subject: New Jersey Fly, help with ID request
Location: North Eastern New Jersey
June 14, 2014 3:43 pm
Hello again, was wondering if when you have time, you could help me ID a fly from New Jersey. I was breaking out my macro lens to try and get some shots today. Came across this fly that I can not identify. My thoughts are either the picture wing family or the fruit fly family. (could be light years off). What was puzzling me was the way she was sticking her ovipositor into the tree bark, her almost wasp or bee like colors and the patterns on her wings. Definitely a fly, could see the halteres, mouth parts and antenna quite clearly. Medium size. Sorry I only have close ups of her face and some blurry shots of her digging into the tree bark. (Macro stinks on moving targets.)
Would love to hear your answer but understand you are VERY busy. So if you get to them great, if not you still have my thanks for the wonderful site.
Signature: Frank from NJ

Picture Winged Fly:  Idana marginata
Picture Winged Fly: Idana marginata

Dear Frank from NJ,
We have been away from the office since June 13, and we are just catching up on old requests, by attempting to post a single request from each day we have been away.  Your request is our final obligation for today, but we may continue later.  We have identified your Picture Winged Fly as
Idana marginata thanks to images posted to BugGuide.

Picture Winged Fly
Picture Winged Fly

Once again you have my thanks. I hope you are enjoying your down time! This one was driving me crazy.

You did narrow down the family nicely.

Picture Winged Fly
Picture Winged Fly


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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1 thought on “4 Effective Tips to Eliminate Picture-Winged Flies”

  1. Thanks for your help.

    “Breeds is decaying organic matter” isn’t a suprise to me. I’m a homebrewer, meaning I brew beer as a hobby, and keep a pile of spent grain next to my shed. These little guys started showing up right around the time I made the switch to all-grain brewing and started building up the grain pile.


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