Identify and rid tiny insects from invading our house!

Asked February 8, 2018, 6:33 AM EST

For the past two months, we have literally been invaded by small flying bugs that we thought were fruit flies. We have tried everything to get rid of them -- bottles of vinegar and soap; bought houseplant sticky stakes we even bought a bug zapper! We cleaned all the drains in the house with vinegar and baking soda three times thinking they might be drain flies, but to no avail. We have searched our house to find the source, thinking it may have been from a plant that I brought from outside this fall, but can find no trace of the insects from them. They even show up dead in our refrigerator. We have wrapped and sealed everything in our refrigerator, including fresh produce, butter, etc. I can't prepare meals, no can we eat without them buzzing around us, they appear to be attracted to white light as they are always on my laptop screen and land on white things. We can't take it any more. We don't want to call an exterminator to use chemicals, but have looked high and low in our house to try to figure out the source, but to no avail. Would you please try to identify what these insects are and how we can get rid of them. We are really desperate! I was able to collect a lot of these bugs that died in my refrigerator to scan them. Please see attached.

Howard County Maryland phorid flies pest control insect identification

1 Response

We sent your photos to the entomologist at MD Dept of Agriculture. They were identified as phorid flies, common names -humpbacked or scuttle flies. Most of the species, deposit their eggs in decaying animal or plant material. They live in rotting stuff. Look for rotting food in your refrigerator or outside of refrigerator for old onions, potatoes, etc. Dispose of source. Take drawers out and clean. They may be attracted to the light in the refrigerator.
Another source may be your sump pump area. Check for broken septic lines or cracked septic tanks. Check for plumbing leaks. You may need to consult a plumber.
Here is a Penn state's fact sheet for more information