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Cluster flies in your home?
Have you ever had to deal with an infestation of cluster flies in your home? Then you know how annoying these pests can be. Cluster flies are a common pest that can multiply quickly and gather in large numbers in buildings during the fall and winter months. As the weather gets colder, cluster flies congregate and are attracted to heat sources.This makes them visible as a group and poses a problem in homes and other buildings.
The behavior of cluster flies can be particularly frustrating for homeowners because they tend to cluster together and are difficult to control once they become established in a building.
If you have noticed a cluster fly infestation in your home, it is important to take quick action to prevent them from causing further damage. Through proper maintenance and sealing entrances, you can help prevent cluster flies from entering and overwintering in your home. By taking these steps, you can protect your home from the nuisance of cluster flies.
Cluster flies (Pollenia spp.) are a species of flies known for their large numbers, or so-called clusters, especially during the fall months when they seek shelter in homes and buildings to hibernate. Here are some physical characteristics of the cluster fly:
- Size: Adult cluster flies are usually larger than houseflies, measuring 8-10 mm in length.
- Color: The body of a tether fly is dark gray with light and dark spots on the abdomen. The thorax has golden hairs, which are used to distinguish cluster flies from other fly species.
- Wings: Cluster flies have four wings that overlap at rest, and the wings have a distinct pattern of light and dark areas.
- Eyes: The compound eyes of a hoverfly are red in color.
- Body shape: The body of a hoverfly is slightly larger and rounder than that of a housefly, and they have a distinctive hump in their thorax.
Overall, cluster flies have a somewhat dull appearance compared to other flies, and their distinguishing features are their large size, dark color and golden hairs on the thorax.
Habitat and distribution.
Cluster flies are found in temperate regions of the world, especially in the northern hemisphere. They are common in North America, Europe and Asia, and have also been introduced to other areas.
In terms of habitat, the cluster fly prefers the area around homes and buildings. In the fall months, however, when temperatures begin to drop, the tether flies seek shelter in these homes and buildings, especially on upper floors and attics. They often gather in large numbers, which can be a nuisance to homeowners.
Cluster flies are most active during the day and are attracted to light, allowing them to gather near windows and other light sources in buildings. They are also attracted to warm surfaces, such as those in electrical appliances. Once inside a building, cluster flies can survive for months without food or water. They become active again in spring, when temperatures begin to rise.
The diet of cluster flies focuses primarily on nectar and other sweet liquids, as well as decaying plants and food scraps. As adult flies, they feed on the nectar of flowers and other plants, as well as the honeydew of aphids and other insects. They also eat sap and rotting fruit.
As larvae, however, cluster flies have a different diet. They are parasitic and feed on earthworms. Adult females lay their eggs in the ground near burrows of earthworms, and when the eggs hatch, the larvae look for earthworms to feed on. The larvae burrow into the earthworms and feed on their tissues, eventually killing the earthworms.
Although the larvae of cluster flies are parasitic, the adult flies do not feed on other insects or animals. Instead, they live primarily on nectar and other sweet liquids for their nutritional needs.
Cluster flies have a number of interesting behaviors, both as larvae and adults. Here are some of their main behaviors:
- Wintering: As mentioned earlier, hover flies seek shelter in houses and buildings during the fall months to hibernate. They gather in large numbers, often in attics or upper floors, and can be a nuisance to homeowners.
- Daily activity: cluster flies are active during the day. They are attracted to light and heat, allowing them to gather near windows or other light sources in buildings.
- Cluster behavior: cluster flies get their name from their tendency to cluster together, both as adults and as larvae. As adults, they gather in large groups on surfaces or near heat sources, while as larvae they live in burrows of earthworms and feed on the tissues of the earthworms.
- Flying patterns: When cluster flies fly, they often move in a slow and erratic pattern, which can make them appear clumsy or awkward. They also usually fly close to the ground rather than at higher altitudes.
- Life cycle: The life cycle of cluster flies includes four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. The larvae of cluster flies are parasitic and feed on earthworms, while the adult flies feed on nectar and other sweet liquids.
In general, the behavior of cluster flies is characterized by their tendency to clump together, their daytime activity, and their dependence on heat sources and sweet liquids.
The life cycle of a tether fly consists of several stages:
Ei: The adult female tether fly lays her eggs in the soil near burrows of earthworms in late summer or early fall. The eggs hatch within a few days.
Larva: The newly hatched larvae seek out earthworms and burrow into their bodies. They feed on the tissue of the earthworms for about two weeks, eventually killing the earthworms.
Pup: When the larvae mature, they leave the earthworms and burrow into the ground to pupate. The pupal stage lasts about two to four weeks.
Adults: The adult cluster fly emerges from the pupal stage in late fall or early winter. They may overwinter in buildings and reappear in the spring when temperatures rise. The adult flies feed on nectar and other sweet liquids and mate to begin the life cycle anew.
The life cycle of a cluster fly can last from several weeks to several months, depending on environmental factors such as temperature and humidity. The parasitic feeding behavior of the larvae is unique among fly species and is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the cluster fly.
Importance and threats
Cluster flies are not considered of significant ecological importance because they do not play a major role in any specific ecosystem. Nevertheless, they can be a nuisance to homeowners when they gather in large numbers in buildings during the fall and winter months.
Although cluster flies are not usually considered harmful to humans, they can cause nuisance and irritation if they gather in large numbers. In addition, their tendency to overwinter in buildings can cause damage to insulation and other building materials.
Although cluster flies are not a significant threat to humans or other organisms, they can cause nuisance and minor damage to buildings if not properly controlled.
In summary, the cluster fly is a regular pest known for its tendency to gather in large numbers in buildings during the fall and winter months. Although they pose no significant threat to humans or other organisms, their overwintering behavior can cause damage to insulation and other building materials.
The life cycle of the cluster fly includes four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Cluster fly larvae are parasitic and feed on earthworms, while adult flies feed on nectar and other sweet liquids. The behavior of cluster flies is characterized by their tendency to clump together, their diurnal activity and their dependence on heat sources and sweet liquids.
Although the cluster fly is not considered an ecologically important species, it is important that homeowners take measures to control their populations and prevent them from causing damage in buildings. Proper maintenance and sealing of entrance openings can help prevent cluster flies from overwintering in homes and other structures.
Cluster fly control
Cluster flies can be controlled in several ways. For example, vacuuming the flies away using a vacuum cleaner helps. But prevention is often better than cure. In order not to be bothered by cluster flies it is advisable to close gaps where possible. This way the fly cannot come inside when it gets colder. It will then have to find another warm place to hibernate.
Adhesive strips also make sense for this species, although it should be noted that if there are several hundred or even thousands of insects, a single adhesive strip on the ceiling will not do any good. Professional measures are then needed to control cluster flies.
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