Moth flies, also known as drain flies, are small non-biting gnats that can be quite the nuisance to homeowners. Most of the time they are only temporarily problematic; however, untreated areas can quickly lead to a greater issue, with a growing number of uninvited fly guests that will not seem to ever leave. Lingering infestations can be even more challenging, so before you “fly” off the handle with frustration, let’s get a better understanding of how these small creatures thrive and how to treat for them in order to effectively eliminate these stubborn pests.
The most important thing that a moth fly needs to survive is moisture. They can live almost anywhere there is water but are most seen indoors emerging from drains or other areas that contain standing water (even in the smallest amount). The eggs are laid in organic matter like the slimy film you see in pipes or on the water’s surface. Each adult fly can lay up to 300 eggs which hatch within 48 hours. Once hatched, the larvae live in the organic matter for up to 15 days before reaching the pupal stage in which they then morph into the adult moth fly.
Although these flies do not bite, they primarily breed in drains which means they could potentially carry and spread disease-causing bacteria. Infestations can be traced to sink drains, floor drains, sump pumps, and even under homes where pipelines have a break or leak, causing standing water to accumulate.
Sanitation is critical: The removal and clean-up of breeding sources are the best methods for eliminating an infestation. This includes consistent cleaning of drains, repairing leaking or broken pipes, removing any standing water, and making sure all previously saturated areas are completely dry. Bleach and hot water will not eliminate fly larvae! It is best not to treat “on the fly”, but instead, use a stiff drain brush and a bacterial-based cleaning product. Please DO NOT pour insecticides down the drain!
Dry out saturated areas: Make sure to remove all debris and wet materials. You can remove standing water from crawl spaces using a sump pump. After the water has been properly drained, you will need to remove any moisture from the area. Dehumidifiers and fans work well for rapid dry out.
Be persistent: Make sure to inspect for multiple breeding sources by checking every potential area. When in doubt, ask a professional for assistance in locating and eliminating these abrasive pests.
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