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Phorid Flies

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Phorid flies are tiny insects associated with decaying organic matter. Phorid flies are potential vectors of disease organisms because of the filthy places they visit. Large numbers of Phorid flies are possible and can become a nuisance.

Phorid flies can be a nuisance in homes and wherever decaying plant materials are present. Because of its ability to spread disease causing bacteria onto food products, Phorid flies are of particular concern in medical centers, food processing plants, and restaurants. Phorid flies are very prolific and very large numbers can appear in a short time.

Known Issues

  • Structure Invading

Active Seasons

  • Summer

Phorid Flies Treatment Options

One-time Small Flies Control

Adam’s one-time small fly service controls common small fly species, including drain flies, fruit flies, phorid flies, and fungus gnats. Adam’s licensed and highly trained technician will thoroughly inspect the interior and exterior in order to fully assess the situation and to locate the flies’ breeding source. The technician will then apply and EPA-proven residual insecticide to the flies’ resting, breeding, and entry areas. Service is warranted for1 month from date of service, providing the pest source is located and addressed.

Prevention Fly Service

Adam’s Prevention Fly Service provides year-round control of common flies, focusing around the exterior of the structure along with interior kitchen and garbage areas. The service includes a minimum of 8 regularly scheduled treatments, twice per month June through September. Adam’s applies an EPA-proven residual spot treatments around garbage areas, cracks in windows and door frames, plumbing lines, baseboards, wall voids, floors, floor drains, and other vulnerable areas; and places fly baits as needed, especially in interior garbage areas and utility rooms. Insect Light Traps (ILTs) are placed as needed and routinely cleaned to ensure maximum attraction and efficacy. The exterior service focuses on areas near entrances, windows, eaves, overhangs, and exterior dumpsters.

More About Phorid Flies


  • Adult Phorid flies are often seen in bathrooms, basements near floor drains, or near potted plants.

  • You may see Phorid flies scurrying across your television or computer monitor, and across surfaces in your bathroom or laundry.


  • Adult Phorid fly are tiny insects, about 1/16” to 1/8” in length.

  • Phorid flies are yellowish-brown or black in color

  • The thorax is dramatically arched, giving the Phorid fly its common nickname of “humpbacked fly”.

  • Phorid flies have a small head, a short, narrowed abdomen, and large legs with a hind femur laterally flattened (adapted for jumping).

  • A unique identifying feature of adult Phorid flies is the presence of two distinctive veins near the front of the wing, terminating about halfway before the wing tip.

  • Phorid flies are well known for their habit of scuttling in a fast run instead of immediately taking off when disturbed, hence another of their nicknames, “scuttle flies”.

  • Phorid fly larvae are dirty white and about 3/32” in length.

  • Phorid fly larvae are elongated, almost cylindrical, slightly flattened and tapered at the anterior (front) end.

  • The puparium (a rigid outer shell formed from the larval skin that covers the pupae of most flies) is boat-shaped, about 1/8” in length, light brown and slightly translucent.

  • Eggs are very small (1/32”) and opaque-white.


  • Phorid flies do not bite.

  • However, because Phorid flies come from leaking sewer lines, rotting produce or dead animals, the risk of disease transmission is a concern.

  • Phorid flies pose an even greater risk in hospitals and nursing homes because there are documented cases of Phorid fly larvae feeding on necrotic flesh associated with wounds of patients.


  • Phorid flies are frequently found outdoors around flowers and moist decaying matter.

  • Adult Phorid flies are attracted to light. Therefore, in summer, deck and patio lights will attract them to doorways and windows.

  • Once inside, Phorid flies will breed wherever moisture and organic matter are available.

  • Also known as “sewer flies,” Phorid flies are often linked with clogged drains and damaged sewer lines that are in or close to your house or building.

  • When searching for Phorid fly breeding sources, look  for moist, decaying organic matter such as rotting bags of potatoes, onions or other stored tubers; recycling bins and  rarely cleaned garbage cans; beneath and behind refrigerators and other large appliances;  tiny amounts of organic debris can also be found under the legs or feet of appliances, tables and cabinets.

  • Floor drains and all small cracks and crevices at floor level should be inspected and if necessary, thoroughly cleaned.

  • If no obvious food source or breeding grounds can be located, the Phorid flies may be coming from an unknown broken sewer or septic line, or cracked septic tank. A professional plumber may need to be called to inspect.


  • Phorid flies feed on feces, sewage, fungi, and decomposing fruits and vegetables, rotting meat, and the carcasses of dead animals.


  • Phorid flies go through a complete metamorphosis, which has four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult.

  • A mated female Phorid fly can lay up to 750 eggs in her lifetime; and as many as 100 tiny eggs at a time, but more typically about 40 eggs in a 12-hour period.

  • The eggs are usually laid in or on suitable larval food places such as decaying materials, feces, or dead animals.

  • Eggs hatch within 24 hours.

  • Phorid fly larvae go through three larval instars lasting 8-16 days.

  • Pupae stage last 14 days.

  • Newly emerged adult Phorid flies mate and repeat the life cycle.

  • The life cycle from egg to adult is short and may complete in 14 days, but may take up to 37 days, depending on temperature, moisture and food availability


  • There are approximately 4,000 known species of Phorid flies (Diptera: Phoridae) distributed worldwide.

  • Phorid flies are known to be common pests of mausoleums, mortuaries and funeral homes, where they are often referred to as “coffin flies.”

  • Phorid fly larvae are capable of breeding inside crypts, which are otherwise inaccessible.

  • Moreover, Phorid fly larvae can dig in the ground and thrive on buried human bodies.

  • On the positive side, Phorid flies can be beneficial as multiple species of Pseudacteon Phorid flies are currently known to be biological control agents of red imported fire ants.

  • Phorid flies are strong fliers; with the help of wind, adults are capable of traveling up to 6 miles in a 24-hour period.

  • The family of phorid flies (Phoridae) includes species belonging to the genus Pseudacteon, which are known to parasite fire ants (Disney, 1994).