Flies in the house during winter | Living the Country Life

Flies in the house during winter

A balmy day could bring unexpected visitors buzzing around the house
Photo courtesy of the University of Nebraska

I have to swat enough flies during the summer, so I don’t appreciate being bothered now, too. But, unfortunately, a balmy day or two this time of year literally draws flies out of the woodwork.

Barb Ogg is an extension educator emeritus at the University of Nebraska. She says there are two kinds of flies that move in with you during the winter. One is a face fly and is very common in acreage settings. These flies overwinter as an adult, and feed on fresh animal manure. The other is a cluster fly, which is a parasite of earthworms.

Both species have the same behavior: they search out the cracks and crevices of your home in the fall to hunker down.

"People that have this fly in the middle of the wintertime have cracks around windows, or under siding, so that the flies are able to get into the structure, into the walls of the house," says Ogg. "And then, they sort of hibernate there for awhile as it cools off and then when we have these nice warm days in the wintertime, it’s warmer inside than it is outdoors, so they weave their way through the walls, through vents and things like that and then they show up inside."

Flies come out of their stupor and sluggishly walk around window sills and other openings. They're larger than common house flies and their movements are slower.  

They don’t bite people or nibble on your furniture, so you might just have to live with them.

"There really isn’t any way to deal with them, unless you use fly strips or some kind of insecticides inside, and I don’t really like to recommend insecticides in the house that much," says Ogg. "So there aren’t really good ways of dealing with it."

You can easily whack them with a fly swatter or suck ‘em up with a vacuum. Fly populations ebb and flow from year-to-year, so the problem may simply correct itself over time.

Learn more about flies that wake up inside the house

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