Moth flies are small gray/black flies which thrive in drain pipes and sewer lines. Though they look a lot like a small moth, they’re actually in the fly family. Moth flies need a lot of moisture to complete their life cycle which means they will hatch and thrive in bathrooms, shower stalls and other damp rooms with a good supply of moisture.
WHAT DOES A MOTH FLY LOOK LIKE?
Moth flies are fairly small “moth like” flies. Unlike moths and flies, moth flies cannot fly well. They tend to “drift and hover” around nest sites and if they get relocated out in the open, are vulnerable.
Moth flies have wings shaped like a leaf of a plant and one can see “hair like” fibers on all parts of their body. This characteristic has given led them to receive nick names like drain moths, drain flies, drain gnats, moth fly, sink moths, sink flies and incinerator gnats.
The following video shows what they look like up close.
MOTH FLY LIFE CYCLE
Moth fly pupae will remain dormant during cold months. Commonly found in septic tanks and sewer systems, they’ll hatch in the spring and live their lives in these dark and shady underworld. But since they fly, its not uncommon for some to forage up through the drain line and find their way into living areas like bathrooms, saunas, Jacuzzi’s, shower stalls and bath tubs.
Once in the home, adults will seek a mate and females will lay eggs. Naturally drawn to moist areas like that commonly found in tile grout, their eggs will thrive all year long if given the chance. A sure sign of moth fly nesting is when you see small “worm like” larva crawling out of shower or bath tub drains. They might also be seen on the walls and floor of tiled wet rooms.
These larvae are many times mistaken for some kind of leach. In fact, the larva of moth flies thrive in any kind of mold ridden crack or drain line slime which commonly builds up during normal use in most any home. Drain line slime is the favorite place to lay eggs; the slime enables the eggs which need to be protected and sheltered. The eggs and hatching larva embed themselves in this slime so they don’t wash away and will feed upon the natural organic matter contained within.
This life cycle will take about a month to complete and once established, adults will be seen fluttering above active nest sites in the home.
HOW TO TREAT MOTH FLY PROBLEMS
The first thing to understand is that products like bleach or “drain-o” won’t resolve the problem. True, they can reduce some of the slime. But it only takes a small amount to protect the eggs so this alone will not solve the problem.
Furthermore showers and tubs which have ceramic tiles will harbor tiny amounts of the organic matter moth flies need to reproduce. This means even when something appears to be “clean”, it can still easily support developing young.
Sump pumps, french drains and wet crawl spaces are also great locations for moth flies. For this reason moth flies can be much harder to control compared to other small flies because they need such a small area in which to live and reproduce.
So what’s the best way to proceed?
USE A SPACE SPRAY TO KILL ACTIVE ADULT MOTH FLIES
Like most flies, there are several “space spray” products one can use to kill the adult stage. And this is most important. By killing the adults, you’ll effectively break their life cycle because without adults, there will be no way for eggs to be laid. But this also means you must be persistent because space sprays don’t last long. You can actually use them more than once a day. They’re very safe, cover a large area quickly and they don’t pose a hazard to people or pets because they don’t linger. Basically they’re active for an hour or two and then they dissipate.
As shown in our video, one good option for this type of treating is MULTIPURPOSE INSECT KILLER. This water based aerosol will quickly control adults, can be used as needed in all parts of the home and is easy to apply. Basically a 3-5 second blast in the average sized bathroom once in the morning, once around lunch time and then again sometime in the evening should keep hatched adults controlled. Larger rooms like kitchens would require more time per treatment but in general, it should not take more than 10 seconds to treat any room.
A more “permanent” and convenient way to space spray is to install AEROSOL MACHINES in any room with moth fly activity. These machines are about 1/2 the size of a box of cigars and run on batteries. Basically they will do the work for you by releasing a small blast of pyrethrin every 15 minutes. So all you have to do is set it and forget it.
Refills will usually last a month and can be replaced as needed. These are very handy for ongoing problem areas that need constant attention and can be deployed anywhere in a structure where needed.
The following short “video” (less than 60 seconds) shows how to set up these machines and gives a good summary of how they work.
Set one machine up in every room measuring up to 400 sq/ft. So if you have two rooms just 200 sq/ft each but separated by a doorway, you’ll need two machines.
In each machine you’ll need to place a can of CLEAR ZONE. These refills will last 30-40 days and can be used safely inside the home – even in kitchens and bedrooms.
HOW TO TREAT SINKS FOR MOTH FLIES
Ultimately, taking away the reproduction site of the moth fly is the best solution. By removing where they can lay eggs you can in theory eliminate them altogether. And the best product for this is NO SURVIVOR ENZ A BAC.
To treat, simply pour it down the drain pipes and Enz-A-Bac will safely remove the nest sights these flies need for egg laying.
The following “short video” (less than 60 seconds long) gives a good summary of how this product works:
Apply about 2-3 oz per drain per once a week. Do the application late at night, before you retire, when you know the drain will sit for several hours with no one running water. This way the active in the Enz-A-Bac can have it’s best impact by cutting through the slime and organic matter which naturally builds up.
On the evening following the application of Enz-A-Bac, apply LEMON AIR DRAIN INSECTICIDE.
This product smells like lemons but is strong enough to control a range of drain living insects like flies, crickets, roaches, mites, springtails and more.
The following “short video” (less than 60 seconds) shows how easy it is to use this product:
Add 2 oz per gallon of water and pour 1/2 gallon down any sink drain in the home you want to keep pest free. The lemon scent will also purge all malodor while controlling the nasty pests invading.
Expect to treat twice a week for 2 weeks during the initial clean out. Once the flies are gone, use Lemon Fresh once a month to keep them away for good.
HOW TO KILL MOTH FLY LARVAE CONTROL TRAPS
For the “worm like” larvae commonly seen crawling around shower stalls, tiles and grout work, treat them with FS MP AEROSOL.
This product is fast killing AND will kill eggs which will be laid in grout lines around sinks, tubs and showers.
The following “short video” shows what areas are key to treat around drain lines common in most any home:
FS MP is easy to use and for all above the sink activity, one treatment should knock out any living or nesting.
If you’re finding them in the sink cabinets, a more thorough treatment will be needed as the following video shows:
FS MP should be part of the regular products used around any home for pest control as its the best crack and crevice treatment you can apply around windows and doors too.
WHAT ABOUT ADULTS SEEN IN OTHER AREAS OF THE HOME?
Lаѕtlу, thе SPARROW HAWK FLY TRAP саn bе dерlоуеd іn аnу rооm whеrе аdult drain moths аrе ѕееn. It’ѕ amazingly well adapted for catching flying insects like mosquites, noseeums, drain moths and more. It has a large glue board that catches them once they enter the holes on the outside band. Keep one installed in kitchens bathrooms or bedrooms where pests have been seen.
For a limited time, you can get the Sparrow Hawk in a kit with either the Multi Purpose Insect Spray or our Aerosol Dispenser and a can of Clear Zone.
Here is the kit that features the Sparrow Hawk with our Aerosol Dispenser and a can of Clear Zone.
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