Amityville Horror (mini)creepout: Why the flies?
November 28, 2018 10:17 AM   Subscribe

So, yesterday evening I walked into the living room and saw that ~15 flies were all gathered on a standing lamp, and I have no idea why or where they came from. Today they are gone.

These were ordinary black flies; not fruit flies or pantry moths. Until now, I've never seen more than an errant fly, usually on a window, that I'm able to quickly shoo outside. We don't smell anything like a possible dead animal (in the building's basement area or something), though this could be a thing. There was no food out or anything unusual. We're in Greece, and the weather has been fairly normal, though a bit warmer than usual (yesterday: Actual Temp 68° /59°; Hist. Avg. 61°/49°). House conditions were the same as usual: windows and doors closed, but a French door leading to our outside back courtyard often open (as it usually is unless very hot or very cold). There also has been no change in other residents of the building (3 apartments). It's an old building with solid walls, circa 1930s, and we've been here for around 10 years without experiencing this.

I made some DIY fly traps and left them out overnight, but trapped no flies. This morning they were still around, but dispersed around the living room on ceiling and walls. The next time I checked (I cannot remember how much later, sorry), they were gone. I have no idea where they went! I didn't see flies in any of the other rooms, and can't think of anything out of the ordinary that we've done.

Any ideas what happened here?
posted by taz to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I used to work in an office that had a terrible problem with cluster flies. Do you have a garden/field/meadow/lawn nearby? The larvae feed on earthworms and then the adult flies come inside looking for warmth. They will not respond to regular baited fly traps, unfortunately.
posted by corey flood at 10:26 AM on November 28, 2018

I have a hand vac, useful for occasions like this.
posted by theora55 at 10:31 AM on November 28, 2018

Oh, one thing I realize I didn't mention: the open French doors are in a different room, where I have my desk, and another lamp, the same as the one in the living room, so if they came in through the French doors, they bypassed that, then bypassed kitchen and bathroom, to head to the living room. Weirdos!

Corey flood, we do have green spaces surrounding our neighborhood: a small park, a wooded hill, a cemetery with lots of plants and trees, so cluster flies sounds very possible, thank you. Just odd it never happened before!

(And theora55, the hand vac sounds a lot more efficient than the silly fly traps; we need to get one!)
posted by taz at 10:57 AM on November 28, 2018

Flies are attracted to UV (ultraviolet) and fly pheromones.

Maybe a couple of flies where following the UV, and their pheromones attracted more flies?

After flies mate, the female goes away to look for some place to stash the fertilized eggs.
posted by porpoise at 3:29 PM on November 28, 2018

What do you mean by "ordinary black flies"? It would really help to be able to make a guess as to what flies you are dealing with here but that's not really enough to go on.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:17 PM on November 28, 2018

They looked generally like the fly in this image, or what I would generically call a fly (as opposed to what I know of as fruit flies, drain flies, sand flies, or horse flies, for example). They were about one centimeter long, I estimate. Unfortunately because the room was dim and they were on a lamp (so visually silhouetted), I didn't notice any particular markings or colors.
posted by taz at 10:19 PM on November 28, 2018

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