Friday, June 17, 2011

Drain Flies

If you return to your home after being gone for a while, don’t panic if you lift the lid on your toilet bowl and find it full of little live larvae swimming in the water.  I wish someone would have told me that earlier.  Don and I have a good number of park models that we watch during the summer and I “FREAKED OUT” when this happened.  These little buggers were swimming around in the toilet and I yelled for Don to come witness it.  We both stared in shocked amazement and then gladly flushed them away.

Then we noticed the shower area full of little flies….sorta twice the size of a small gnat or fruit fly.  I chased them around until I finally found one sitting still long enough for a close up photo.  I hurried home to the internet and started up Google to investigate what we were dealing with.  It turns out this is a very common insect found on about every continent.  He’s called a drain fly (also bathroom fly, sewer fly – scientific name clogmia albipunctata).  They’re supposedly harmless, don’t bite, and surprisingly don’t carry any disease.  They’re just a nuisance.  From reading on the internet, it appears they can be quite common anywhere there is an open drain.  One fly somehow gets in the house and looks for water to lay its eggs.  The larvae live off the sludge that builds up in drains and sewer pipes (yuck).

Schmidt 1279

Benedict 1582  Bug Blog Wade

The fly itself is actually kind of cute……fuzzy head, pretty wings, and feathery antennae like a butterfly.  Based on what we’ve seen, they’re also very prolific!  Finally having a name for what we were dealing with, I called my Hero……Wade Paupst from Sun State Pest Control who sprays our house monthly.  Wade called his distributor and was able to obtain a couple bottles of Bio Gel which we poured down the drains to get rid of that yummy scum dwelling there.  Wade has come to our rescue on numerous occasions for different house watch needs – be it spiders, scorpions, a nest of bees, and now drain flies.

Wade blog

Then it is just a matter of spraying the flies, flushing the drains, and pouring in the Bio Gel.  On our next trip, we didn’t find any evidence anywhere other than a few dead tiny little flies.  I have quite a bit of Bio Gel left so if you need any, let me know. 

 

It didn’t seem to make any difference if people had used RV antifreeze in their toilet or not, as the flies still did their thing.  We found them in this toilet even though the people had covered the bowl with Saran Wrap.   Saran Wrap just doesn’t do the trick.  The seal needs to be tight over the bowl so Don and I swear by Glad Press and Seal.  No other brand works near as well.  Without that tight seal, you can also see that the antifreeze has almost dissipated. 

Thurlow 1052

Benedict 1582  Here’s another photo of a toilet where the antifreeze evaporated and the bowl  was actually dry. 

 

Here is more info I gleaned from my Google search: 

Moth flies (Drain Flies) develop by complete metamorphosis. The entire life cycle ranges from 8 to 24 days.

Moth flies (Drain Flies)lay eggs in a mass of 30 to 100 in a suitable medium. These eggs hatch in less than 48 hours. The eggs form the moth fly( drain fly) are laid in irregular masses in such places as dirty garbage disposal units, water traps in plumbing fixtures, sewage plant filters and almost any where decomposing organic materials are found.

The larvae and pupae of the moth fly live in the thin gelatinous film found in drains, septic tank field lines or filter stones. The larvae feed on sediment, decaying vegetation and microscopic plants and animals. The larval stage lasts from 9 to 15 days before pupating.

The pupal stage lasts from 20 to 40 hours. The newly emerged adult fly is sexually mature on emergence and copulates within the first few hours of its life.

We even found the larvae swimming in one of the water buckets that a customer had set out in their living room.  Another reason why those pails should be dumped and refreshed each month.

  Cadwell 1059

We have now stocked up on several rolls of Press and Seal and are covering ALL the toilets for the homes we watch. 

Greenwood 1543    Holmes 704   Pybus 716

laughing2  Don says he hasn’t knelt before that many porcelain thrones since the days of his misspent youth!

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