Summary: The larvae of the dung fly, also known as the Sphaerocerid fly, can only survive in moist decaying organic matter. Check any produce that is not being refrigerated. Inspect garbage pails for spills and under kitchen appliances. Feel inside drains and garbage disposers looking for a thin layer of film where dung flies often breed.
A reader asks: I have these little flying bugs in my home that I find mainly in the kitchen and the bathrooms. We take our garbage immediately to a dumpster, but they seem to be multiplying. They are gettng into the turtle's cage and the cat's water and food. What shall we do?
Dear Reader: Just because you see a small fly or gnat type flying around in the kitchen you should not assume it is coming from the drains. It could be any number of small flies, but since you are seeing them around the cat litter box, garbage cans and the turtle, I'm guessing you are seeing the dull-colored flies of the family Sphaeroceridae, sometimes called a dung fly.
These flies commonly occur in large numbers around moisture and bacterial activity. These flies move about with quick jumps and short, rapid flights. The small dung fly, its common name, can be misleading because these flies are not regularly associated with dung. They often build up to nuisance levels in ***image4***structures associated with wet, rotting material. Infestations have been traced to septic tanks, clogged drains and decaying material trapped between wallboards, compost piles and rotting vegetable material.
Most sphaerocerids that breed inside buildings do so in wet deposits of organic decay. If this is the case, locate the decaying material and remove it, or dry out the area. Their presence can also indicate a hidden leaking pipe or an unnoticed sewage system problem.
Sanitation is a big factor. Clean the cat litter box more often, keep the water in the turtle's cage fresh, wash out the garbage cans to remove sticky spills and get junior's dirty diapers out of the house as fast as possible. You may also want to check to make sure the rubber stopper of the sink disposal feels nice and clean.
Other possible breeding sites would be on fresh fruit like bananas and pears. These fruits tend to ripen and bruise easily, lending themselves to fly breeding.