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1304 S. Commercial St.
Harrisonville, Missouri, 64701
United States

MO: (816) 765-6000 KS: (913) 451-2437

Flies and Moths

Blow Fly

Identification

Blow flies are roughly twice the size of the house fly, which is about 1/2-inch long, and they often appear metallic blue or green in color with fine hair on the antennae.

Behavior

There are over a thousand species of blow flies, including bottle flies, which can lay up to 180 eggs at a time.. Sanitation does a great deal to alleviate any blow fly problem, but for severe cases, more serious treatment methods may be necessary.

Habitat

Female blow flies tend to lay their eggs on dead meat, which are pale yellow or grey, with maggots hatching within just six to forty-eight hours. They are typically found feeding on fresh meat, animal carcasses, garbage and manure


Caddisfly

Identification

Caddisflies aren't technically flies due to the fact that they belong to the order Trichoptera instead of the order Diptera. They have hairy membranous wings and long, hair-like antennae that make them appear much more like moths than flies. 

Behavior

The presence of their pupal casings is thought to indicate clean water, and while it varies among species, caddisflies use soil, dead twigs, or leaves to build their casings. They are largely scavengers and tend not to leave damage behind.

Habitat

Adults are terrestrial, while larvae are aquatic and are typically found in lakes, rivers, streams and other freshwater sources. Many of them build cases of plant material, sand, or debris in which they live.


Drain Fly

Identification

Also known as "moth flies," drain flies are 1/16-inch long with a body and wings densely covered with long hairs. When smashed, they typically leave a powdery smudge behind.

Behavior

Drain flies are more common in warm months and prefer to feed on decaying organic material, especially around drains and sewers. Eggs are laid in irregular masses almost anywhere decomposing organic materials are found.

Habitat

While these flies are commonly found around drains, they may be confused with other types of flies such as the phorid or fruit fly, which also infest drainage areas.


Fruit Fly

Identification

Fruit flies are 1/8-inch in length and yellow-brown in color. A distinguishing characteristic is its bright red eyes.

Behavior

They are abundant in late summer and early fall, infesting fruits during the harvest season; however, they are active year-round indoors. Newly-emerged adults are attracted to lights, but egg-laying females will not leave fermenting materials. The key to controlling these fruit fly infestations is to locate and eliminate their breeding sources.

Habitat

Commonly found in kitchens, fruit flies can also carry disease-causing bacteria, which makes sanitation a very important treatment method.


House Fly

Identification

House flies are small, typically less than 1/4-inch in length, and usually dark grey with black striping on the thorax.

Behavior

House flies eat a wide variety of material such as garbage, feces, human food, and carcasses. The females lay their eggs in nearly any warm, damp material that will later serve as a food source for the larvae.

Habitat

While they seem like a nuisance when indoors, they prefer corners or edges rather than flying near humans like many species of gnats. Indoors, they tend to rest on floors, walls and ceilings during the day, and near food sources at night. When outside, they will rest on near anything: plants, garbage cans, fences, etc.


Stable Fly

Identification

The House fly and Stable fly are similar in size, color, and general appearance: around 1/4-inch in length and dark with black stripes. However, the distinguishing difference between the two is the fact that Stable flies, or "barnyard flies," have a sharp, beak-like proboscis used to pierce the skin, sometimes drawing blood.

Behavior

Females deposit clusters of up to 50 of the 1 mm long, off-white eggs in a variety of decaying animal and plant wastes, but are rarely found in fresh manure, and can lay up to a thousand in a lifetime.

Habitat

Adult Stable flies are persistent feeders, typically found feeding on the blood of livestock, people and pets.


Eye Gnat

Identification

Eye gnats, named for the annoying habit of being attracted to eyes, are a little over a millimeter long, range in color from dark grey to black and have clear wings.

Behavior

While they are attracted to man and most animals, these gnats do not bite or pierce the skin. They feed on mucous or sebaceous material and while they may be present year-round in mild climates, adult eye gnats are most prevalent in the summer and early-fall.

Habitat

Eye gnats can be particularly annoying on golf courses and farms with livestock. The eggs are laid on or below the soil and, once hatched, the larvae burrow deeper to feed on decomposing organic material. A complete life cycle, from one generation of egg to the next, requires no more than a month under optimal conditions. Repellents only provide short-term relief.


Fungus Gnat

Identification

Fungus gnats, sometimes referred to as "houseplant gnats," are small and dark in coloring and have very short life cycles. As adults, they are about 2-5 mm in length. 

Behavior

They play a very important role in the pollination and spread of mushroom spores and pollen. Fungus gnat larvae tend to feed on fungi, the roots of plants and other kinds of organic matter, aiding in decomposition and stunting plant growth, which can be especially detrimental in places like greenhouses, nurseries, and sod farms.

Habitat

They are typically found in humid, moist areas - their presence around house and garden plants is a sign of over-watering.


Case-making Clothes Moth

Identification

Case-making clothes moths are about 1/2-inch from wing tip to wing tip and are slightly smaller than webbing clothes moth. Their wings and body range in color from buff to golden brown and have three distinguishing spots on their front wings.

Behavior

The cigar-shaped cases are white or a muted color of the fabric infested. If cases are absent, damage is recognized by as surface feeding in irregular furrows, or even damage as severe as holes completely through the fabric.

Habitat

It's the larvae, not the adults, that damage fabrics such as clothing, carpets, furs, upholstery, and stored wool or silk. The case-making clothes moth prefers products of animal origin, but will also feed on products of plant origin.


Diamondback Moth

Identification

Adult Diamondback moths are about 6 mm in length and have a slender, grayish-brown body with a broad light brown stripe along the back and pronounced antennae. It is that stripe that constricts to form a diamond-like shape where this moth gets its name.

Behavior

They are fairly weak flyers and therefore stay close to the ground and refrain from flying long distances; however, they are easily carried farther by the wind. Adults can survive year-round in mild climates, but cannot survive cold winters. Eggs are yellow or pale green in color, and are deposited individually or in small groups of two to eight eggs in depressions on the surface of foliage, or occasionally on other plant parts.

Habitat

Diamondback moths are known for their tendency to prefer cabbage, though they will also feed on kale, mustard, and radish, as well as many other crops.


Gypsy Moth

(Female) flickr.com

Identification

Male Gypsy moths are a mottled tan and brown while female Gypsy moths are white or cream with thin brown stripes across the wings. 

Behavior

Originally brought to the US in 1869 in a failed attempt to start a new silkworm industry, the Gypsy moth has become a major pest to forests throughout the country. Gypsy moths mate only once, the females laying their eggs on branches, tree boles, houses and other structures in late summer, and then die.

Habitat

While they prefer oak trees, damage caused by the larvae (caterpillars) begins appearing in early spring and continues until as late as July in a wide variety of trees including birch, poplar, pine and willow trees.


Webbing Clothes Moth

Identification

Webbing clothes moths have a 1/2-inch wide wingspan and when the wings are folded, this moth is about 1/4-inch long. The wings and body range in color from buff to golden brown, like the case-making clothes moth, but also have reddish hairs on its head, which are absent on the case-making clothes moth.

Behavior

Females lay their eggs deep in the infested fabric, attaching them there with glue they secrete, each female laying around 50 eggs that hatch anytime within four days to three weeks. The caterpillar larvae are typically clear or cream colored and begin feeding immediately after hatching, spinning silken tunnels incorporating fibers of the fabric being infested and bits of feces.

Habitat

Much like the case-making clothes moth, this moth's larvae feed on clothes, carpets, felt, animal hair, and stored wool, preferring soiled materials in particular.