Flies in house (Seattle). Constantly. Really?
April 2, 2012 4:58 PM   Subscribe

I'm not sure what's happening here but I have a steady stream of flies into my house (I'd say 4-5 every five days) and none of my Interwebs explanations seem to apply. What the $@%@ is going in here?

I have no idea what's going on with these $!%^# flies! I'll start by addressing the threads I've read and describe what they're not:

- They don't seem to be 'cluster flies.' They are however fairly large as flies go, about twice as large as flies are typically, but they still look like it's an average sized, if fully grown-up, fly. They're black, not shiny irredescent green or blue.

- I don't have a window open (anymore). About two weeks ago I did find an open, screenless window, and when I closed it (that's a whole other story) the flies cut down dramatically. For at least a day I thought they were gone.

- I don't think these are winter hatchling flies, if they were I would expect a more standard distribution of fly numbers, rather than the steady-stream of about 4 every three days, give or take some random amount.

- If they are coming in from the outside then the little buggers are going out of their way to get in. Will they try and come in via super-tiny gaps? If there is a secret passage in one of my window frames (all horrible aluminum frames seem to have a channel gap) would the flies really search for a way in just to bounce against the glass? If they are coming in from outside I sure can't find where. They seem to prefer upstairs, they seem to prefer the master bathroom. 'nuff said.

- It's Seattle, they're not coming in for water. In California I'd get ants from time to time coming in for water. That was always a real crowd-pleaser.

Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope.
posted by skybolt to Home & Garden (16 answers total)
Look very hard in your house for rotting food or other rotting organic material. Check the bottom of all trash bins in your house, garage, etc.
posted by erst at 5:00 PM on April 2, 2012

When this happened to me, it was because I'd brought some plants inside in pots that had been out in the yard all summer. That was autumn, but I just mention it in case you have a potted plant situation.
posted by zadcat at 5:27 PM on April 2, 2012

Have you checked your sinks? Try leaving the plug in all your sinks for a few days and see what happens. I had a friend with a mysterious fly situation and she finally tried that and they went away.
posted by sadtomato at 5:59 PM on April 2, 2012

Why don't you think they're cluster flies? Now is the time.
posted by unSane at 6:11 PM on April 2, 2012

Oh, if they are lazy and not super buzzy, they could be cluster flies! We had them last year and we didn't have windows open. Not sure how they ended up in my house but omg, they were EVERYWHERE.
We ended up sucking them up in a vacuum and leaving the vac outside for a week.
posted by beloveddoll at 6:19 PM on April 2, 2012

When it happened to me it was because we had a dead mouse in the wall. Thing is, you would probably be able to smell that, unless it's in a really distant part of the house. Anyhow, walk through all the rooms and do a sniff test.
posted by Miko at 6:29 PM on April 2, 2012

Once I lived in an apartment with a roommate. He eventually moved out, and I kept the place alone. After a few months, I noticed I was getting a lot of fruit flies in my kitchen. I went out and bought myself a "No Pest Strip" (they were still selling them, then) and then I had a lot of dead fruit flies in my kitchen.

But every time I vacuumed them up, there would be more the next day. I eventually figured it out. My roommate had bought a bag of potatoes and stuck them in the back of a cabinet that I never opened. A fruit fly had found it, and by the time I found it the whole bag was a mass of maggots.

Once I tossed it in the dumpster, my fruit fly problem went away.

As above posters have said, the thing to do is to look for something rotten that they're breeding on.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:47 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

When doing the sniff test, be sure to check your crawl space. We once got flies when a mouse expired in ours.
posted by bunji at 7:08 PM on April 2, 2012

Could be something as difficult as the dead animal in the wall, or as simple as a hotdog that rolled under the fridge.

Or there is a "source" of the flies somewhere around the house near a window, and the flies are sneaking in. They are tricky little buggers for that.
posted by gjc at 7:13 PM on April 2, 2012

Cluster flies typically come in during the fall, become dormant, and then wake up in the spring and start crawling over your windows. They are astoundingly adept at squeezing through impossible cracks. They look just like regular houseflies until you get good at spotting them. The only solutions I know of are (a) vacuum and (b) spray the house exterior in the fall. It's impossible to seal against them.
posted by unSane at 7:29 PM on April 2, 2012

(so at this time of year, they are more likely wanting out than wanting in)
posted by unSane at 7:30 PM on April 2, 2012

Excess dog poop in a nearby yard?
posted by Good Brain at 8:26 PM on April 2, 2012

Check your drapes and sheers. They may be overdue for a good cleaning, which could solve the problem.
posted by Cookbooks and Chaos at 10:15 PM on April 2, 2012

Same thing happened to me once. Turns out that there were two dead ducks in the chimney. They came in in the Spring after the chimney cap had blown off in a winter storm. They were entering the house through the air vents in the basement woodstove.
posted by bricksNmortar at 4:26 AM on April 3, 2012

When my neighbor's house was mysteriously infested by blowflies despite all the windows and doors being fully screened, it turned out they were coming down the flue of his wood stove every time he cooked a meal. The kitchen is at the other end of the house, but apparently the flue was conveying delicious cooking smells to the outside; the clue was seeing a large cloud of flies start to gather around the top of the flue while the steak was on, and the fix was simply closing the stove's air control all the way.
posted by flabdablet at 6:43 AM on April 3, 2012

The flies are definitely calling from inside the house. Time to start looking in the back of all your cabinets.
posted by maryr at 7:40 AM on April 3, 2012

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