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When, where and why do cluster fly infestations occur?

When, where and why do cluster fly infestations occur?

Cluster Flies are in abundance throughout the UK and in many parts of mainland Europe, causing major nuisance for the homeowner. They are harmless to people and pets but cause a nuisance by filling up loft spaces, bedrooms, conservatories and other places within the home and make an unsightly and noisy buzzing sound and in large volumes can emit a sickly smell. In their natural habitat they are field insects, often found in grasslands but also residing on south facing surfaces of buildings on sunny days. An important feature when identifying cluster flies is they are slow and sluggish in their movements during the lead up to hibernation.

Due to the nature of cluster flies and their life-cycle, the females lay their eggs into the soil towards the end of summer. Once the eggs have hatched the larvae will instantly pursue earthworms where they bore into the worm and live in the cavity walls for several days, throughout this period they will feed on the earthworm. The larvae will then emerge from the earthworm at the pupal stage and will fully pupate after roughly two weeks. By this time the temperature outside will have plummeted and autumn will be in full swing. Due to the decrease in the temperature adult cluster flies would perish if they did not seek refuge from the adverse weather conditions. This leads to adult cluster flies finding harbourages from the cold, which in their natural habitat is likely to be inside dead trees and tree barks. However, as human dwellings have encroached upon their natural habitat this has led to cluster flies residing in buildings especially loft spaces where the temperature is warmest. The cluster flies will lay dormant and hibernate in buildings throughout winter and will emerge when the temperature increases at the start of spring.

Due to cluster flies being field flies, location will play a role in cluster fly infestations arising in properties. Rural locations will see a higher volume of cluster flies as opposed to a city centre where there are little grassy areas and fields meaning farm buildings perfectly situated are more likely to see cluster fly infestations. Farm buildings are notoriously known for harbouring cluster fly infestations, this is due to the location. Farm buildings, being surrounded by fields unaffected by soil cultivation practices are key targets for migrating cluster flies in their search for hibernation points. Other buildings in rural locations, such as houses or commercial properties, are common buildings to be harbouring cluster fly infestations during the winter months. Commercial and residential properties in city centre are rarely known to contain cluster fly infestations, however, in autumn and winter months if they are situated close to a park or grassy area it’s likely the volume of flies will increase. As with the farm buildings in rural locations the cluster flies will seek refuge in buildings close to the hatch site, so any building in the close vicinity of parks or grassy areas may harbour infestations.

As previously stated cluster flies enter buildings is to escape the adverse weather conditions outside and to hibernate through the winter. The weather in autumn and winter months is far too cold for cluster flies and if they did not seek refuge in warm areas they would not last through the winter. It’s a life or death situation for the flies, so they will find a way into a warm building or they will die. They are a nuisance pest but will not cause any lasting damage to the home or homeowner, for help and advice in dealing with the nuisance of cluster flies please give one of our dedicated team a call today.