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ibstubro's avatar

Where did all my dead flies come from? [Details]?

Asked by ibstubro (18765points) December 7th, 2014

I’m in the Midwest where we are experiencing sub-zero temperatures. Last week, in an attempt to kill off the spider population, I set off several bug-bombs in my auction building. There are now dead flies everywhere.

Why is that?
Where did they come from?

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27 Answers

Coloma's avatar

They swarm together for warmth when the temps. drop, just before they drop, like flies of course. lol
We had the same thing here in our horse barn a few weeks ago. Gazillions on the ceiling of the tack room and we sprayed them and shop vacced up the carcasses the next day.

ibstubro's avatar

But it’s a low building with white drop-in tile ceiling and light tile floor. Where were they all hiding?

The spider crisis was obvious. The fly epidemic unknown.

Coloma's avatar

They must have all swarmed in unseen. Horror movie stuff, die maggots die! lol

Berserker's avatar

You make a mistake whenever you assume that a building is insect proof. It could be a fortress made out of glass with no doors or windows, if bugs want in they will get in.
I have no answer, just wanted to underline that point; insects are the epitome of survival and they are older than man. No building is going to deny them if they decide to go in.

ibstubro's avatar

It’s just bizarre that there were at least a gallon of flies totally hidden in what is basically a one room building with light colored floor and ceiling. And freezing temperatures start weeks ago, there is nothing to eat, and we’re only there a few days a week, at most.

The spiders, on the other hand, were rampant. Obvious. The little “booger suspended from 6–8 hairs” kind. Yuck.

Berserker's avatar

I suppose an exterminator might have an answer about this, although it would be daft to pay for a bunch of dead flies. :/

gailcalled's avatar

We have opportunistic cluster flies inside from Sept. until April. However, they are dozy, light on windows and can be easily vacuumed up or swatted.

”...the flies are a nuisance; when the adults emerge in the late summer or autumn, they enter houses to hibernate, often in large numbers; they are difficult to eradicate because they favour inaccessible spaces such as roof and wall cavities. They are often seen on windows of little-used rooms. They are also sometimes known as attic flies.”

ibstubro's avatar

GA @gailcalled.

My supposition was that the cool weather slowed the metabolism of the flies such that they could live for long periods. It seems as if you have verified that. Thanks.

I had guessed that they might have been in the egg-crate florescent lighting fixtures, i.e. hidden/warmth.

zenvelo's avatar

If you had let the spiders be you wouldn’t have had any issues with flies. Kill off the spiders and BAM! flies.

Maybe you could have gotten rid of half the spiders. But most spiders are good for peaceful coexistence.

ibstubro's avatar

I’m talking about a serious spider infestation @zenvelo. When we bought the building several years ago it had been a bar for decades, then a strip club for years. Rural strip club. I think there were only 3 2-bulb fixtures in the (3,000+? sq ft) room. All the chairs, stools and table bases were loaded with empty egg sacks. One auction I swear there was not an item I picked up that didn’t have a spider on it. We’re nearing that again. I don’t like spiders that are hairless, and, like I said, these are the booger-and-hair variety.

I have no illusions that I have rid the building of spiders.

Coloma's avatar

@ibstubro Well..all those strippers left pole residue that attracted flies. LMAO!

ibstubro's avatar

We still have the pole, although there is no longer enough room to get a really swing. The auctioneer sits on one side, the clerk on the other, podium in front.

syz's avatar

Now you know what all of the spiders were eating.

ibstubro's avatar

Honestly, @syz, I think the spiders must eat each other. I rarely see an adult spider, but the babies are everywhere. Gnat eaters, at best.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I honestly have no idea but I do think speaking to a pest controller might be a good plan. Why so many spiders? Where are they all coming from and what are they attracted to? (Apart from your infestation of flies of course). I don’t kill spiders unless they’re the dangerous types, then they’re history. Otherwise, I mostly leave them be or we catch them and put them outside. I, like @zenvelo, feel they’re doing a job by keeping other insect populations down. However, if you have that many spiders, I’d want to reduce the population too.

ibstubro's avatar

The building was poorly lit and low traffic for decades, and I think the spiders just took over, @Earthbound_Misfit. Bug bombing the place every 2–3 years seems to keep them in check for the most part. There’s no way to get every single spider, and they just build from there. I seriously think they have to feed on themselves. We only have auctions twice a month…how many bugs can be let in, and how long can they live.

Funny story:
When we first bought the building, we’d find big turds on the floor. Dark brown, and about the size of poodle dropping. Thing is, they would appear overnight. I was sweeping one up one day, and thought “Hey, that almost looks like bug!” What turned out to be the culprit? A toad! Seems a toad had gotten in the building and was swallowing whole crickets then ‘eliminating’ the exoskeletons.

Coloma's avatar

You needs frogs and lizards, allow me to ship you a bountiful harvest of Pacific tree frogs and Alligator lizards. lol

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Oh yuck @ibstubro. I hate toads or to be specific, I hate cane toads. And I have seen toad turds. Sometimes toads get in the house here and leave presents. Ugh. Thanks for the explanation on the spiders.

Coloma's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit Haha…toadaphobia. lol
I have always wanted to hold a Cane Toad, they are so fat and floppy. I adore the tree frogs here in zone. They will take moths from your fingers hanging on the walls under the porch lights.

True about droppings, I once thought I had a mouse because of the droppings I was finding on top of my stove of all places. I set a live trap and came out at like 2 a.m. one night to find a tree frog sitting on top of it. haha The tree frog poo looks just like mouse droppings.

ibstubro's avatar

We have lots of tree frogs here, too, @Coloma. The toads were everywhere when we bought the building. Now, not so much. There is no longer brush along the sides since we built lean-tos.

We’ve had a couple of snakes, too. I caught the first one. The second was curled up under the lid of a jewelry box on the floor. A woman closed the lid, screamed, and landed on the floor, on her bum.
The snakes were small and very aggressive, so they are no longer with us. :-(

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@Coloma I can send you a bag. They’re ugly, disgusting and poisonous. They kill animals that eat them. Cats, dogs, venomous snakes, crocodiles… and they can squirt their poison if you annoy them sufficiently.

Tree frogs, I love them and even native toads would be fine. Not that I can recall ever seeing a native Australian toad. I’m sure we have them, I’m just not sure where they are or what they look like. Cane toads are imported pests and if I, or anyone else, could find a way to get rid of them, I think all Australians would rejoice.

Not sure if they eat spiders. Apart from stuffing toads and selling them as souvenirs, they have no useful purpose. I’ve certainly never heard of them having such a useful purpose as controlling the insect population. Plus we have sufficient lizards and the like to do that.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Aren’t the flies pretty much an indication of why your spiders mass in the building? The place is (was) a popular restaurant. Whenever I flip on the lights late at night in our kitchen to find a big spider patrolling the walls, I can’t help but wonder “Exactly what is it that this guy is finding to eat around here?”

dappled_leaves's avatar

My first question with an infestation of spiders would be, “What are they eating?” Do you know what species they are? Do a little research; find out what they’re hunting. Odds are, if you’re successful at eliminating the spiders, whatever their food source was will be out of control next.

Throwing a bunch of bug bombs is a coarse method, and could have unintended consequences. Learn what will kill your pests, then target your efforts.

And while you’re thinking about spider predators, may I suggest a nice gecko or two?

Coloma's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit Well, the toads are always cuter on the other side of the world. I saw a Cane Toad documentary once and realize they are a pest for you guys like rabbits and feral cats. I just was rather captivated at their huge size and there was a little girl carrying around her pet cane toad and it was hilarious, she dressed it up in dll clothes. haha

ibstubro's avatar

As I said above, I believe the spiders must be cannibalistic. They are the type that make random, non-symmetrical webs in corners, and are structured much like a Daddy-Longlegs, but are ½ to ⅓ the size and uniformly grey. There is a constant light in the women’s bathroom so there are always spiders and bugs in there, but I’ve not seen these spiders collect anything larger than a gnat. I have the same spiders in my basement and house, but not in abundance.
“A booger dancing on hairs.”

ibstubro's avatar

Here. Sneaky, creepy Cellar Spiders.

” occurs throughout a large part of the world. It is unable to survive in cold weather, and consequently it is restricted to (heated) houses in some parts of its range.”

“When food is scarce, it will prey on its own kind.”

In my area, in other words, they are a self-propagating, invasive species that should be eradicated. It has babies so it will have something to eat.

So go shake your web at that!

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