Nobody likes finding insect pests within his/her home, but many infestations are preventable. Insect pest infestation are likely to occur within homes that are cluttered and not well sanitized. Homes that contain an abundance of dirty dishes, food stains and crumbs beneath appliances are particularly vulnerable to infestations of roaches, flies and some ant species. In order to prevent infestations, many homeowners diligently apply sealant to tiny cracks, crevices and other entry points on the external walls of their home where pests can easily gain access indoors. However, flies are one group of insects that can find their way indoors no matter what homeowners do. The most common fly pests within homes include house flies, fruit flies, cluster flies, and face flies. Many Massachusetts residents are familiar with cluster flies, as these pests are abundant in the northeast where they overwinter within homes. However, face flies are not as well known despite their habit of invading homes during the fall in order to secure warm shelter, just like cluster flies.

One reason as to why face flies are not as well known among residents may be due to the species’ close resemblance to common house flies. Face flies are slightly larger than house flies, and the eyes of male face flies are located near the top of their head, unlike both male and female house flies. While cluster flies can be a nuisance, face flies are particularly annoying to humans due to their tendency to dart into people’s eyes, nose and mouth. This habit earned the fly pests their common name, and they do this in order to feed on mucous. Face flies enter homes, sometimes in massive numbers, in order to overwinter in attics, wall voids, storage areas and basements. On sunny and unseasonably warm winter days, face flies emerge from their indoor harborages in an effort to return outside, which makes them a nuisance even during the winter season within infested homes in Massachusetts.

Have you ever encountered flies in your home during the winter?