Louse Fly from England

Subject: Some sort of louse fly?
Location: Burntwood, England
June 12, 2015 3:32 am
I recently found to of these bugs in my flat. I thought they were spiders at first as they crawled around like them, but then I noticed they had small wings and only 6 legs. However, they will not fly at all so I’m guessing the wings are useless for them.
I’ve tried looking up what they are but all I could gather is that they are some sort of louse fly.
Would you be able to tell me exactly what they are? Maybe what their hosts are so I can prevent them from getting into my home?
I live in the West Midlands, the nearest woods/forest is Cannock Chase which is about 1 mile away from me.
It is rather warm at the moment, going into summer.
The photo is the best I could get of it as it kept scuttling around. It is of brown colour and measured about 1cm long (leg to leg).
Signature: Natalie

Louse Fly
Louse Fly

Hi Natalie,
You are correct that this is a Louse Fly in the family Hippoboscidae.  The fact that you are not near woods would not be limitation to the presence of Louse Flies, though we generally think of them as being blood sucking parasites that feed on the blood of deer, sheep or other large animals.  According to BugGuide, they feed on the “blood of birds/mammals” which means they might have a flying host in your home and BugGuide also notes the common name Bird Ticks for Louse Flies.  Pigeons would be a likely host bird, so you might have encountered Pigeon Louse Flies,
Pseudolychia canariensis, that are profiled on Featured Creatures where it states:  “This fly is an obligate parasite of birds, especially feral and domestic pigeons and doves (Columbiformes). It is found wherever pigeons are encountered in tropical, subtropical, and temperate areas with mild winters worldwide.”  Additional information on Featured Creatures regarding the life cycle of the Pigeon Louse Fly states:  “Louse flies have a very interesting reproductive strategy. The female produces one larva at a time and retains the developing larva in her body until it is ready to pupate. The larva feeds on the secretions of a “milk gland” in the uterus of its mother. After three larval instars, the larva has reached its maximum size, the mother gives birth to the white pre-pupa which immediately begins to darken and form the puparium or pupal shell. The pupa of the pigeon louse fly looks like a dark brown, egg-shaped seed. The pupa is found in the nest of the host or on ledges where the birds roost. When the fly has completed its metamorphosis, the winged adult emerges from the puparium and flies in search of a host.”

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