Phorid flies vs fruit flies: Key differences and how to deal with them

Welcome, dear readers, to another insightful exploration with Dr. Killigan. Today, we delve into the intriguing world of tiny winged adversaries that often invade our homes – phorid flies and fruit flies. Understanding the differences between these two is crucial for effective control. Join me as we dissect their distinct characteristics and how you can combat them, notably without resorting to harsh methods like bleach. 

    Unmasking the culprits: Phorid flies vs fruit flies

    Distinct characteristics:

    Phorid flies and fruit flies, though similar in size, exhibit notable differences. Phorid flies, often mistaken for fruit flies, are slightly smaller and have a distinctive humpbacked appearance. They are particularly drawn to decaying organic material and sewage, which is why they're often found in drains and trash areas. Their erratic, short flight patterns are quite different from the more straightforward flight of fruit flies. Fruit flies, on the other hand, are attracted to ripening or fermented fruits and vegetables. They are slightly larger and tend to hover around your fruit bowl or wine glass. 

    Habitat preferences: Clues for effective management 

    Phorid flies and fruit flies have distinct habitat preferences.

    Phorid flies have a more diverse range of habitats due to their less selective breeding sites. These flies are a common nuisance in places like compost piles, trash bins and rotting vegetation.

    Phorid flies are also known to inhabit and breed in more unusual and unpleasant areas such as sewage systems, drain lines and even dead animals.

    Their breeding habits are quite adaptable. Phorid flies can exploit even the smallest amounts of decaying organic matter, including the residue often found in unclean

    Pictures-of-fruit-fliesdrains or underneath kitchen appliances where food particles accumulate. This versatility in habitat preference highlights the importance of thorough cleaning and waste management in controlling phorid fly populations. By removing or properly sealing potential breeding sites and sources of decaying matter, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of a phorid fly infestation.

    Fruit flies, as their name suggests, are primarily attracted to ripe, fermenting, or rotting fruits and vegetables. These radiation resistant scoundrels often lay their eggs on the surface or within small crevices of these food sources.

    The moist and fermenting material provides the perfect environment for their larvae to feed and develop. Overripe or damaged fruits are particularly susceptible to fruit fly infestation, making these pests a common issue in areas where such produce is stored, such as kitchens and garbage disposals.

    Unusual role in forensics:
    Phorid flies have a rather macabre claim to fame beyond their pest status in homes. These tiny insects have a significant role in forensic science due to their attraction to decomposing organic matter. They are often found near corpses and have been utilized by forensic experts to help estimate a person's time of death or determine when a burial occurred. This unique application has earned them the eerie nickname "coffin flies." While this fact might be unsettling, it highlights the diverse roles insects play in our world, even in areas as unexpected as criminal investigations. 

    Note: If you discover that you have neither fruit flies nor phorid flies, they may be gnats. Read “Fruit flies vs gnats: What’s the difference” for more information. 

    The battle plan: Effective strategies for control

    Getting rid of phorid flies: A detailed approach 

    Phorid flies require a targeted approach to eradicate. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you tackle a phorid fly infestation:

    Regular cleaning of drains: Phorid flies often breed in the slimy film that accumulates in drain lines. Use a stiff-bristled brush to physically scrub the inside of the drain. This disrupts and removes the gelatinous biofilm where phorid fly larvae thrive. Do this weekly. 

    Disposal of decaying organic material: These flies are attracted to decaying organic matter, which can be found in overripe fruits and vegetables, compost bins and garbage cans. Ensure that you regularly empty and clean these areas. Overripe fruits should be consumed, refrigerated or composted promptly. For garbage cans and compost bins, regular emptying and cleaning with hot, soapy water are essential.

    Natural cleaning solutions: Instead of resorting to harsh chemical drain cleaners, opt for natural alternatives. A simple yet effective natural cleaner can be made by mixing equal parts of baking soda and vinegar. Pour this solution down the drain, let it sit for an hour, then flush with boiling water. This method not only cleans but also deodorizes the drains without introducing harmful chemicals into your home.

    Maintaining dry conditions: Phorid flies prefer moist environments. Regularly check for and repair any leaky pipes or faucets. Ensure that areas under sinks and other moisture-prone areas are kept dry.

    Sealing entry points: To prevent outdoor phorid flies from entering your home, check for and seal any cracks or gaps around doors, windows and utility pipes

    Using Six Feet Under: Dr. Killigan's Six Feet Under Non-Toxic Insect Spray is a powerful non-toxic spray that can be used to combat phorid flies effectively. Its 

    six-feet-under-insect-sprayunique formula contains a blend of soybean oil and two essential oils — clove and cinnamon —, which are known for their insecticidal properties. These oils work by breaking down the exoskeletons of the insects, incapacitating them and ensuring they cannot develop resistance.
      • Surface application: Apply Six Feet Under on surfaces where phorid flies are frequent. The residual effect of the spray creates a barrier that not only kills on contact but continues to deter new flies from entering the area.
      • Safety and efficacy: The natural composition of Six Feet Under makes it safe for use around your pets and your family, offering an effective solution without the hazards of traditional chemical insecticides.

    Fruit fly countermeasures: An in-depth strategy with Sweet Surrender

    Tackling fruit fly infestations effectively:

    Fruit flies are a common household nuisance known for their rapid breeding and attraction to fermenting fruits and vegetables. To manage these pests effectively, a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach is essential. 

    • Eliminate their primary food sources; store overripe and fermenting fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator and not out in the open. 
    • Regularly inspect your kitchen, paying close attention to any fruits or vegetables that may have been overlooked.
    • Ensure your garbage bins containing organic waste are tightly sealed and emptied frequently, as fruit flies are drawn to these areas. 
    • Maintain a regular cleaning regimen. Keep kitchen surfaces, counters and sinks clean and free of food debris. 
    • Utilize a vinegar-based cleaner to remove sticky residues that may attract fruit flies, and pay special attention to areas under appliances and cabinets where food particles may accumulate unnoticed.

    Harnessing the power of Sweet Surrender:

    Dr. Killigan's Sweet Surrender Fruit Fly Trap with Liquid Attractant stands as a testament to our commitment to eco-friendly and efficient pest control solutions. This lab-proven, reusable trap is engineered to outperform alternatives, capturing up to three times more fruit flies.


    Its effectiveness lies in the unique proprietary attractant, a meticulously formulated blend of vinegar, sucrose and citrus. This potent combination expertly mimics the natural attractants of fruit flies, making the trap an irresistible lure for these pests.

    Sweet Surrender's reusable jar, made from recyclable PET, and a lid featuring 32 entrance holes offer unmatched trapping efficiency. The design reduces odor and evaporation, ensuring long-lasting performance with minimal maintenance. This makes it an ideal choice for homes, ensuring a pest-free environment while upholding eco-conscious values.

    Versatile and easy to use:

    Sweet Surrender's design is both practical and discreet, making it suitable for various settings, whether it's your kitchen counter, dining area or garden. Its simplicity of use is a significant advantage – add the attractant to the trap and place it in areas prone to fruit fly activity. Its non-toxic nature ensures it’s safe for use around food, children and pets. 

    Debunking common myths: Why not bleach?

    The ineffectiveness of bleach and standard cleaners:

    It's a common belief that bleach can eradicate phorid flies, but this is a misconception. While bleach is undoubtedly strong, it falls short in effectively controlling phorid fly infestations. The critical issue with using bleach is that it fails to address the underlying problem – the larvae and their food source. Bleach and standard cleaners might kill adult flies on contact, but they do not eliminate the breeding grounds or the larvae. Consequently, this approach only offers a temporary reprieve, allowing the infestation to persist and recur. In addition, bleach can also cause irritation to your skin and your eyes. We at Dr. Killigan’s aim for the most effective, non-toxic and non-harmful means of eradicating your fly issues. 

    Residual pesticides: Not a complete solution

    Residual liquid pesticides can indeed kill adult phorid flies, but they also do not offer a holistic solution. They may mitigate the immediate visibility of an infestation, but without identifying and removing the source of food for the larvae, the problem remains unresolved.


    Relying solely on these methods leads to a cycle of recurring infestations, as new generations of flies continue to emerge.

    Dr. Killigan's approach: Safety and effectiveness combined

    At Dr. Killigan's, our approach transcends the superficial treatment of symptoms. We delve into the root cause of the infestation, targeting the larvae and their breeding grounds. This method ensures a more comprehensive and long-lasting solution to phorid fly problems. Our commitment to safety is unwavering, as we advocate for methods that pose no harm to humans or the environment. Sweet Surrender is a prime example of this commitment – a safe, non-toxic, and highly effective alternative to hazardous chemicals like bleach. By focusing on the source of the problem and using environmentally conscious methods, we not only control the current infestation but also prevent future occurrences. Choose Dr. Killigan's for a safer, more sustainable approach to pest control.

    Preventive measures: Keeping pests at bay

    Proactive steps for a pest-free home:

    Prevention is always better than cure. Regular cleaning, proper food storage and waste management are fundamental in preventing infestations. Inspect your home regularly for any signs of pests and address potential breeding sites immediately.

    Embracing eco-friendly solutions:

    In our commitment to eco-conscious living, Dr. Killigan’s products are designed not just to combat pests but to do so in a way that respects our planet. By choosing our products, you’re not only safeguarding your home but also contributing to a healthier environment.

    Conclusion: Join the Dr. Killigan’s revolution

    In conclusion, understanding the differences between phorid flies and fruit flies and employing the right strategies and tools like Dr. Killigan's Sweet Surrender can significantly impact your battle against these pests. Remember, effective pest control doesn’t have to involve harsh chemicals. Embrace the power of nature and science with our innovative solutions.

    Visit our website to explore our range of eco-friendly products and download our free printable house cleaning checklist to aid your efforts in maintaining a pest-free home. Together, let's champion a healthier, more harmonious living environment.

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