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Identifying Flying Insects


Summary: Properly identifying flying insects you find in your house can give you clues about problems you may be having with moisture or insect infestations. You can learn more about flying insect control products and purchase them here.


A reader asks:  We recently had a leaky pipe in the wall between our kitchen and bathroom. The leak was repaired about six months ago. Now, we are seeing these very small fly-like insects with wings crawling on the kitchen floor. They came from behind the refrigerator which is where the old leak occurred. The sheet rock was dry but we had these bugs all over. What are they?


Dear Reader:

To get fast control of the adult flying insect I like a fly treatment product called PT 565 Plus XLO. Works great and only requires a small burst of spray to kill the adult flies. If you've got hard-to-reach enclosed spaces you may also want to try a fogger or Nuvan ProStrips. I really like the Nuvan Pro Strips because they give off an insect killing vapor that works for weeks. You can only use these strips in enclosed areas like an attic, closet or other isolated location where humans and pets won't be constantly exposed to the vapors. You can see them on this website by clicking on the red, underlined words in this article.

The flying insects you had with the leaky pipe were probably fungus gnats or Phorid flies. Once the water problem was corrected they had no acceptable breeding environment and should have died off quickly. If they are still present you probably still have something leaking.

Sometimes with leaks, the water finds its way under the floor tiles through cracks in the grout. If that has happened, you may have to remove the floor tile and dry out the floor under the tiles. Worse, if the foul water found its way under the entire slab, you could have the flies breeding in the soil under the poured slab. In that case, you would have to open the floor slab, have a contractor dig out the foul soil and replace it with clean soil. A large and expensive undertaking, to be sure.

These tiny flies manage to slip through cracks that are paper-thin. It may look like it would be impossible for an insect to navigate through something so small, yet the presence of these flies is proof that they can do it.

Get your flies identified. Take them to your local county extension agent or to one of the local pest control companies for a free ID. Knowing the insect species will tell you where they breed and how to control them. It's the single most important step in controlling an insect problem.

Ask Rick A Question


10 Oct 2010, 16:54
It's Oct. 10, 80 degrees in Minnesota. very warm & beautiful outside, but I can't go out & enjoy because there are these tiny little black flea or knat type insects biting you. They are so small you can't see them biting you. They are worse if you are working around vegetation/flower beds it seems. The bite areas leave huge, swollen, severely itchy welts that take forever to heal. What the heck are these things? How can we get rid of them? I have looked through the MN University list of insects & photos & I can't find these little nasty pests. HELP!!!
Ask the Exterminator
11 Oct 2010, 11:28
I cannot ID without a clear photo. So, collect a few and take them to any local pest control company for a free ID. You need to know the species before you can hope to control them.
Hope Conley
11 Oct 2010, 13:00
I have these tiny red flying insects that seem to be hovering over my kitchen sink. I have seen them in both bathrooms as well. What are they and how can I get rid of them?
30 Oct 2010, 01:18
I have severe problems with some kind of tiny black insect with wings. Today I came home from work and my shower was black with this insects. They were in the corners of my shower, thousands of them!! It scared me very much for it reminded of some Hiccok movie.
There were all death and then there many more all over the bathroom floor and some in my kitchen floor.
Ask the Exterminator
30 Oct 2010, 17:15
Probably drain moths or Phorid flies. They live under the tile floor or behind the shower tile when mositure has seeped under the tile. You'll have to remove the tile, dry the sublayer, and re-lay the tile. Pesticides will not cure this problem.
18 Apr 2011, 02:36
I really do love your site, and i enjoy this comment section. no one seems to be paying attention to the directions, on how to get a question answered. i actually found my answer in your article about Fungus Gnats. i they ahve been here a long time, but couldnt figure out where they came from, but we have had plumping problem for a very long time, and spuratic leaks under the house for years. Thank you for the info about the fleas as well, and also thank you for the hint about the honey, i just placed a plate under my couch to catch them!! Thank you again, i love your site!!
05 Sep 2011, 15:05
We are very very small flying jumping black insected in are house in the bedroom. it bites.on the celling on us beed wall and it only comes out when it dark. Do you are any idia what it camn be. Thanks deb
03 Mar 2012, 18:17
A Beetle/Lady Bug looking type insect that is Grey and Brown with wings. about .25 inch long and can fly. My 15 year old home in the Pacific NorthWest has had them for 6 years what is it?
10 Jul 2013, 08:10
I am having an issue with small black flying bugs coming through my sons window sill at night by the hundreds. They are attracted to the light. Last night I put clear tape all around the window to seal it so they would not be able to come in. The bugs are approximately 1/4 inch in length and have a solid black body with wings that are same length as their body. They are shade similar to rice. This morning the ones that I found are dead. I live in the Midwest. I just bought a foreclosed home by a wooded area.
10 Jul 2013, 08:14
We have 1/4 inch size small flying black bugs coming in through my sons window sill at night. They seem to be attracted by the light. They are coming in by the hundreds. We placed clear tape around the window to seal it. It shaped like rice. The wings are the same length as the body. This morning I found one climbing in my son's sink and a couple of dead ones by the window. Last night I vacuumed them up for about an hour.
10 Jul 2013, 08:17
I have flying black bugs coming in my son's window at night. They are attracted by the light and coming in by the hundreds. Approximately 1/4 inch in length with wings the same length. It looks like rice. I live in the midwest in a wooded area. My home had been vacant for a number of years before I moved into it recently.
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