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How to Get Rid of Small Flies in Your Home

By Thorn Team • Sep 14th 2022

The end of summer is a time for enjoying the last weeks of sunshine and getting ready for the school year. It also happens to be a time when small flies like to pop up inside, especially in kitchens. So, how do you get rid of tiny flies in your house and keep them out of those back-to-school lunches?

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Luckily, many homeowners can get rid of small flies on their own, but first, you'll need to identify which small flies are causing the issue in your home.

How do You Get Rid of Tiny Flies?

When it comes to tiny flies inside, you'll need to start by identifying what fly is present.

There are three main suspects to consider:

There are some general steps you can do to reduce the presence of flies and other pests in your home, such as:

  • Make sure that you have screens on your windows and doors
  • Keep lights off at night to avoid drawing them indoors
  • Seal them out using caulking and weather stripping
  • Keep screens in good working order, free of damage and holes
  • Ensure that food waste is cleaned up and moist areas like bathroom drains, and garbage disposals are cleaned regularly
  • Garbage cans shouldn't be too close to your home, and they should be clean with working lids

These tips are a great starting place, but it's not always as simple as addressing garbage and ensuring your screens are hole-free. Flies are typically a source' issue, meaning a feeding and breeding source is nearby. Once these conditions have been addressed, the problem often goes away.

For ongoing fly control, identification is the first and most crucial step in any pest control program. You won't know how to get rid of those tiny, pesky flies until you know what's causing them to pop up inside, and you won't know what's causing the problem until you can identify them.

What Are These Tiny Little Flies?

Tiny flies in your home can become seriously bothersome, especially in your kitchen, buzzing around your food.

Ask yourself where you see the flies most. In the kitchen? In the bathroom? These can be important clues for what small fly species might be in your home.

Next, try to get a closer look (or, even better, collect a sample). You want to have an accurate description of the pest while you go about trying to identify it.

Fruit Flies

Fruit flies (also known as vinegar or pomace flies) are a common pest worldwide. They are known for hanging out in food prep areas such as:

Fruit flies are small (1/8inch or 3mm long) with bright red eyes. They are quick to mature and reproduce, especially during warmer weather. At 85 degrees F, the fruit fly lifecycle from egg to mature adult takes as little as eight days ! Considering that a mature adult female can lay up to 500 eggs at once, it's easy for a fruit fly problem to get out of control quickly.

Adult fruit flies shouldn't be the only pest activity you're looking for when performing a fruit fly inspection. Keep an eye out for their creepy, crawly little larvae as well. Fruit fly larvae are tiny, white maggots (little worms or grubs). They have no legs or eyes and appear pointed at their head end. You may see them on rotting produce or inside jars that are improperly sealed. Common sources of fruit fly infestations include:

  • Rotting fruit like bananas and pineapples
  • Rotting tomatoes and potatoes
  • Improperly sealed jars containing vinegar (pickles, brines, etc.)

Fruit flies hang out in some pretty gross places, making them a potential spreader of illness . Keep these nasty buggers away from your kitchen by ensuring your food prep areas are tidy, disposing of food scraps and spoiling food promptly, and ensuring your jars and bottles are well sealed, especially if they contain vinegar or ferments.

Still can't find the source? Start to think outside the box. You may have a piece of produce rotting somewhere unexpected, or maybe you have scum in your sink drains. If you're feeling discouraged in your search, it may be time to call in a pro to help you play detective.

If you're located in Utah and need help identifying where your fruit fly problem is coming from, our pest investigators at Thorn will leave no potential source unchecked.

Drain Flies

Drain flies are also called moth flies, filter flies, or sewage flies. As their name implies, they are commonly found where drains are present and like to hang out in really disgusting places. In large numbers, they can cause illness and trigger respiratory issues , including asthmatic reactions. Drain flies look like tiny moths and have the following characteristics:

  • Tiny size (1/13 th of an inch or 2mm long)
  • Two powdery wings that make a heart shape when not in use
  • Fluffy head and long, feather-like antennae
  • Tan to grey in color with slight speckling on the wings

When film and scum accumulate in drains, this creates the perfect environment for drain flies to lay their eggs.

If you want to check your drains, be warned, this job is not for the faint of heart! Scrape down the sides of your drain(s) with a butter knife or screwdriver to take a small sample of the drain scum. If you can see small larvae (worms) present in it, you've identified a drain fly source.

Boiling water won't do the trick, and drain cleaners alone do not clean the drains thoroughly enough to eliminate drain flies. Use your drain cleaner along with a stiff brush to give drains a good scrub. Pro tip: a stiff toilet brush works great for this. Plan to clean drains out regularly if recurring drain flies have been a problem in your home.

If drain fly issues have been a severe and continuous problem for you, and you can't get a handle on it no matter how hard you try, there are a couple of things that could be going on:

  • Could a broken pipe or clogged drain be causing drain flies? Drainpipes can break, causing accumulations of scum and water below slab floors and in crawl spaces. If this happens, it can create an ideal breeding area for drain flies. In this situation, take the following steps in order:
  • Fix the leak
  • Dry the area out
  • Call a pest professional if the drain fly issue is severe

While addressing the sources is the best course of action when it comes to drain flies, certain situations require an element of chemical control as the last step. This can initially reduce the number of adult flies, so they don't move inside looking for new places to lay their eggs.

  • Is your house near a sewage treatment facility? If it is, drain flies could be reproducing in mass numbers in the sewage filters . From there, they can be blown by the wind to nearby areas, causing problems for residents. In this situation, it is likely the responsibility of the local government to address the large-scale issue. If you find yourself in this situation, you may consider contacting a local pest control company specializing in Integrated Pest Management.

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats like fungus. No surprises there! So, where are those little pests finding fungus inside? Well, here's a surprise for you: If you have houseplants, those gorgeous green beauties may be causing your fungus gnat problem.

Outdoors, fungus gnats live where the fungi are plentiful. Places like:

  • Damp soil
  • Compost areas
  • Dead leaf piles

Fungus gnats can take up residence inside your home, where houseplants provide rich, moist soil for them to lay their eggs in. Luckily, remediation should be pretty straightforward.

  • Make sure you're not overwatering your plants. Over moist soil is very appealing to fungus gnats.
  • Turn the top 2-3" of soil over with a small trowel. This will dry out any larvae that are present.
  • Put 1-2" of sand on top of the soil of your potted house plants. This will allow for better drainage and ensure that fungus gnats cannot breed there.

Where Are These Tiny Flies Coming From?

Are you perplexed by a fly problem in your home? It's ok to call in professional assistance. A trained set of eyes can be beneficial when investigating a small fly problem.

If tiny flies are showing up in your Utah home and you're at a loss for where they're coming from, Thorn is here to help. Small flies don't pay enough rent to hang out in your house all day! Let's work together to get to the bottom of your tiny fly problem so you can get back to enjoying your home sweet home.

About Thorn

Thorn is a Utah local pest management company. We are a QualityPro certified company which is a prestigious accreditation awarded too less than 3% of the pest management companies in the US.

Contact Us Today

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About Thorn

Thorn is a Utah local pest management company. We are a QualityPro certified company which is a prestigious accreditation awarded too less than 3% of the pest management companies in the US.

Contact Us Today