Pest Issues

How to Get Rid of Cluster Flies in The Winter

forest71 /

Winter is here for us Australians, and with the rainy, colder weather you might start noticing cluster flies gathering in, or around your home.

While flies are nuisance pests, they can still bite and cross contaminate. This can be harmful to you and your family.

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What are cluster flies (a.k.a. attic flies)

Winai Pantho /

Attic flies are a genus of Pollenia flies. They do not present a health hazard directly. Cluster flies do not lay eggs in human food, as they are strictly parasitic on earthworms.


  • 7 mm in length
  • Short golden hairs on the back
  • Light and dark stripes on the abdomen
  • Slightly bigger than house flies

Attic flies are about seven millimetres in length. This species of files is typically recognised by the short golden hairs on the back, as well as distinct stripes on their back, and inaccurate light and dark stripes on their abdomen. The slow-moving cluster fly is slightly larger than the normal house fly.


The life of a cluster fly begins as the female lays eggs. This happens in early summer or late autumn. It takes just a few days for the eggs to hatch. After that, the larvae seek earthworms and enter their body cavities.
The cluster fly larvae feed on the earthworm for a couple of days and then moult and pupate in the soil. It takes around 25 to 40 days for the cluster fly to grow from an egg to an adult fly.


Cluster flies are hard to get rid of because of the places they live in. Their name, attic flies, says it all. These flies love hard-to-reach places, like nooks and crannies, the attic, or any other rarely used room of your property, preferably dark.

Most of the times you will notice signs of an infestation when the cluster flies awake from their winter slumber and start to search for places to lay eggs. You can also notice them on warm winter days, and early winter days.

What attracts cluster flies

Like many pests, cluster flies are attracted to your warm, safe and cozy home. Attic flies will start looking for a way in closer to winter when the weather is becoming colder.

Most people find them flying around their homes in the warmer winter days. As they are attracted purely to the warmth of your property, you will have to fly-proof your home well. This means finding all possible entry points and sealing them.

Damages cluster flies cause

Other than a nuisance, cluster flies don’t cause any trouble or damages. The structure of your home is safe, and you won’t get a fly colony in your home, as cluster flies have to be outside in order to reproduce.

When they’re big in numbers, cluster flies tend to gather on windows and inside ceiling lights. They are generally attracted to lights and warmth but don’t cause damage.

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How to proof your home against cluster flies

As mentioned above, proofing is the only way to ensure that you won’t get cluster flies nesting. Unfortunately, attic flies can go through little tiny holes in the walls, roof, windows, or any place suitable.

This makes full proofing near impossible. But it’s still a great idea to inspect your property thoroughly and find possible entries. Or, even better – hire a professional to inspect your home. They will also come and inspect for other pests. It’s always a good idea to know what’s going around your property, as some infestations take years before they show the first signs.

How to get rid of cluster flies

When proofing fails, there is only one way to get rid of attic flies – extermination done by a professional pest control company. Certified pest controllers know the possible entry points and this makes the whole inspection process faster.

  • Use cluster fly traps to capture flies that are already in your house.
  • Vacuum cluster flies and dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag outside of your home.
  • Call a professional pest controller to deal with the problem.

Cluster Fly Traps

A good way to capture cluster flies that are already inside the house. If the infestation is small, there is a chance that fly traps can deal with the problem.

Keep in mind, that fighting an infestation with fly traps is a slow process, and by no means, there are any guarantees that you will capture all flies.

Vacuum Them

As cluster flies don’t breed in your home, they will die if they can’t find a way out. Whenever you see an attic fly in your home, you can vacuum it.

Once again, it’s a slow process of fighting an infestation, but if the infestation isn’t major, it can be a good way to deal with one.

Professional Pest Control

The last type of pest control is to call a local professional pest controller to deal with the problem.

The professional pesticides used to kill the flies deal with the problem fast. It’s safe, and most of the times pesticides can get in places that other means of pest control can’t.

Depending on the size of the infestation, the methods will vary. If you think your home has a pest control problem, consider booking an inspection with your local pest controller.

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Did you try something else that got rid of the cluster flies?
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