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What Are Small Flies?

When small flies start buzzing around your home, it’s important to correctly identify them. The term small fly refers to several species of flies. Fruit flies, fungus gnats, phorid flies, and drain flies are common home invading small flies. We’ve gathered information about these pests to help you identify and eliminate an infestation.

What Do Small Flies Look Like?

Fruit fly

Small fly species vary in appearance. Though some flies share characteristics, there are ways to tell these pests apart.  

Fruit Fly: Fruit flies have a brown thorax and a black and gray abdomen. They are about 1/8" in length. Fruit flies have two large red or dark eyes.  

Fungus Gnat: Fungus gnats are grayish-black. Like fruit flies, they grow up to 1/8" in length. They have clear wings and long legs.

Phorid Fly: Phorid flies can be brown, black, or yellow-hued. They resemble fruit flies and can grow up to 1/8". These flies have jerky, erratic movements.

Drain Fly: Drain flies have a fuzzy body, making them look like moths. They range in size from 1/16" to 1/4". They are sluggish and have an irregular flight pattern.

Why Are Small Flies in My House?

Drain fly

There are different things that can attract flies to your home. Check out why these pests are likely to move into your house.

Fruit Fly: Fruit flies enter homes looking for food sources and breeding sites. They prefer overripe produce and fermented food and drinks. These flies breed on produce, in trash cans, garbage disposals, and drains. They are most often found in kitchens.

Fungus Gnat: Fungus gnats are attracted to damp soil, which is why they hang out near potted plants. They lay eggs on the surface of damp soil. When these eggs hatch, larvae feed on the roots of plants. If you spot flies near your plants, there’s a good chance they’re fungus gnats. These flies may also be seen near windows and lights.  

Phorid Fly: Phorid flies are attracted to moisture, organic build-up, and decaying matter. They can be found near plumbing and drains in bathrooms and kitchens. Broken sewer lines can also attract these flies.

Drain Fly: Drains flies are drawn to areas with moisture and organic matter. They are usually seen in kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. These flies spend time near floor and sink drains. They feed and breed on the decomposing organic matter in drains.  

Are Small Flies Dangerous?

Fruit fly

Small flies won’t bite people, but they can cause other problems. These pests hang out in dirty areas and walk across surfaces. They can contaminate food and food prep areas including countertops. Small flies multiply quickly, which can lead to large infestations. Fungus gnat larvae can be harmful to plants. They feed on the roots of plants often leading to poor growth, wilting, and yellowing of plants.

How To Prevent Small Flies

Cleaning counter

You don’t want small flies taking over your house, which is why it’s important to implement a few preventative measures. Check out a few tips to help you keep small flies from invading your home.

  • Check for and seal any cracks or gaps where flies could sneak into your home.
  • Make sure door and window screens aren’t damaged.
  • Repair or replace leaky pipes and dripping faucets.
  • Eliminate sources of standing water.
  • Keep your drains clean.
  • Regularly take out the trash.
  • Avoid leaving produce out on the counter.
  • Clean up crumbs and spills.
  • Don’t overwater your plants.
  • Use a Fruit Fly Trap to help get rid of fruit flies.

No one wants flies hanging out in their home. Thankfully, there are things you can do to keep these pests away. If small flies or other pests are bugging you, we have your back! Check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective™ Pest Control products for a more environmentally and family-friendly solution.


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