Cluster flies are an extremely common problem in the UK, but many people don’t even think about them until it’s too late! These persistent pests invade homes across the country in their thousands, and it seems like they return year after year. If you’re going through yet another year of dealing with a cluster fly swarm, it might seem like it’s impossible to get rid of them for good. Luckily, that’s not the case – with a bit of persistence and knowledge, you can permanently evict these pests from your home!
What Are Cluster Flies?
Understanding a bit more about cluster flies is key to getting rid of them. They behave in a very specific way that you need to anticipate if you want to wipe out a swarm permanently.
As the name suggests, cluster flies are tiny flies that live in large swarms. These swarms can be made up of thousands of flies in some cases, which sounds quite hard to miss, but many people don’t even notice they have a cluster fly problem for several months. This is because these flies tend to infest attic spaces. Our lofts are quiet and warm (heat rises through to the top of the house), which makes them the perfect hiding spot. As most people don’t go into their attic very often, this usually means the first time they find out they have a cluster fly problem is when they go up to get their Christmas decorations!
Am I At Risk of Cluster Flies?
Cluster flies can appear anywhere, but they’re much more common in rural areas. Unlike regular flies, they’re not really attracted to poor hygiene as they don’t like to lay eggs on rotten food and other waste. Instead, they lay their eggs inside live earthworms. When they hatch, the tiny fly larvae start to eat their worm host from the inside out until it’s time for them to pupate (cocoon themselves and change into adults). If you live in a rural area, you should make a habit of regularly checking your attic space.
When Should I Worry About Cluster Flies?
While regular flies are a huge problem in summer, that’s actually the time when you’re at the least risk of a cluster fly infestation. During the summer, they live outside in woods and grassland where they like to lay their eggs. Once the weather starts to cool, though, they’ll look for a warm, quiet spot where they can shelter over the winter. This means they’ll start moving into homes across the country from around September onwards. They’ll stay there until late spring; at which time they move outside again to mate.
Why Should I Worry About Cluster Flies?
It’s true that cluster flies aren’t quite as unhygienic as normal flies (they’re not drawn to rotten food and other waste like regular houseflies), but they’re still not something you want around your house. While they don’t seek out rotten food, they do still spread bacteria wherever they go thanks to their droppings.
Cluster flies also cause a rancid, sickly-sweet smell that comes from their saliva. This smell can easily spread to other areas of your home, so make sure to check your attic for flies if you notice an unusual smell in your home. This smell is unpleasant enough on its own, but it also attracts other pests like flies and rats.
This smell comes from a pheromone in the flies’ saliva, and it’s the main reason behind their most annoying habit; they come back every single year!
How to Get Rid of Cluster Flies
Cluster flies are a unique pest because of their strength in numbers. This means regular old fly treatments won’t work – you’ll need something that continually thins their numbers over the course of a few days without stopping or running out.
Electric Cluster Fly Killers
Cluster flies are attracted to UV light just like most other species of fly. However, a regular fly killer won’t be able to cope with the thousands of tiny flies it’ll attract. They’ll quickly overwhelm the zapper, piling up in the catching tray and posing a fire risk. Cluster fly killers are fitted with a specially-designed zapping grid and a deep catching tray so they can cope with the high volume of tiny flies.
Aerosol Spray Dispenser
Even a special fly killer will struggle to deal with a cluster fly infestation on its own. For the best results, you’ll need to combine it with an aerosol spray. The problem is that you need the aerosol to be continually applied so you can keep chipping away at the massive swarm. Standing in the loft all day with a can of bug spray isn’t really an option, which is why a cluster fly killer dispenser is essential.
This dispenser automatically sprays out the insecticide at regular intervals, ensuring maximum coverage and efficiency. You can choose how often it sprays, meaning you can reduce the amount of insecticide used as the swarm starts to thin out. When loaded with a can of Prevent Auto, this aerosol dispenser will ensure the insecticide spreads into every corner of your loft.
Cluster flies can squeeze into the tiniest cracks to escape an aerosol spray. If your infestation is really bad, you might need something with a bit more coverage to make sure you get every last fly. Our smoke bombs contain a similar insecticide to Prevent Auto, but it’s dispersed around the room using a smoke rather than an aerosol. This means it’ll effectively kill flies for around 3 hours, while also spreading into every nook and cranny of your attic for better coverage.
How Can I Stop Cluster Flies Returning?
Cluster flies use that distinctive sickly-sweet smell to find their way back into your attic. It acts as a sort of marker that they leave behind when they vacate your loft in the summer so the new swarm can find their way back. Flies – like many insects – have a far more sensitive sense of smell than we do, so even if you clean up and deodorise your loft, chances are they’ll still be able to detect it even if you can’t.
The only way to stop this is to make sure you kill the mature adult flies while they’re in your attic. It’s believed that each swarm has a unique pheromone which allows their descendants to find their way back to shelter. If you take care of the adults because they can leave the attic, your cluster fly problem won’t return.
How Do Cluster Flies Get in My House?
If a cluster fly wants to get into your house, it’s next to impossible to stop them. They’re so tiny that they can easily slip through virtually any gaps in walls and roofs. The only thing you can do is to start routinely checking your loft at the end of summer. As with most infestations, the earlier you catch it, the easier it is to get rid of, so take extra care to do this especially if you live in a rural area.
Can I Find Cluster Flies in Other Parts of My House?
Cluster flies are most commonly found in lofts because they’re dark and warm. However, they can easily slip through voids in the wall to explore other parts of your house, too! While the full swarm probably won’t move out of the attic, smaller groups of flies can sometimes be found gathered near windows (they’re attracted to sunlight, as most flies are). If you spot signs of an infestation in your house, make sure you investigate your attic or wall voids right away, as it’s likely the main swarm is hiding away somewhere.