Soldier Fly Identification
Soldier flies are large (5/8-inch long).
The coloration varies among species.
The Soldier Fly thorax is usually black above, yellow to yellowish green
on the sides. The adult black soldier flies have black wings, held over
the back when at rest.
Others vary in color from metallic blue to green and purple or black and
They have characteristic "elbowed" antennae due to a long terminal segment.
In many situations involving this fly, only the larvae or pupae are found.
The key to soldier fly identification is the presence of its distinctive larvae
Larvae are dark brown, torpedo-shaped and flattened. The larva grows to
over one inch in length.
The larvae and pupae of the soldier fly are distinctive in appearance, and
is a key in identifying this type of fly. This larvae (maggot) is usually
seen under or around dumpsters, garbage cans or compost piles.
Black soldier fly larvae,
Photo by G. McIlveen, Jr.
The organic material in which the Soldier Fly breeds is always damp and
usually in an advanced stage of decomposition.
The pupa is also flattened and dark brown.
Inside breeding sources usually occur in large buildings where the dumpster
is located inside in a loading dock area.
Look for larvae and pupae along walls and the edge of the dumpster. Because
the size of the larvae and pupae is so large, it is easy to identify.
Sanitation of the dumpster would be an important step in the control of these
Clean up organic debris found around, in and under the dumpster. The Soldier
flies encountered in and around homes usually breed and feed in damp organic
material associated with poorly maintained dumpsters.
Soldier Fly Inspection
When Soldier Flies are found in a building, it is usually the direct result of a nearby dumpster or other such garbage receptacle. Inspect dumpsters, compost piles and garbage cans; the peculiar larvae and pupae will be found under or around dumpsters. The younger maggots will be buried in a compost pile or damp organic material and are more difficult to locate. It is during the last instar that the maggots crawl to visible areas to pupate. The organic material in which the Soldier Fly breeds is always damp and usually in an advanced stage of decomposition. Some Soldier Flies are aquatic, depositing their eggs at
the edge of water; these are not the species normally found infesting homes
or other structures.
Solider Fly Control
Sanitation & Chemical Control
Sanitation is the first level of defense, even though there
are various traps and sprays that are used to kill flies, it is necessary
to remove the source in order to eliminate them.
Whenever possible, food and materials on which the flies can lay
their eggs must be removed, destroyed, as a breeding medium, or isolated
from the egg-laying adult. Killing adult flies will reduce infestation,
but elimination of breeding areas is necessary for good management.
A pyrethrum space
spray such as CB 80 Pyrethrin Aerosol or V One Pyrethrum Aerosol can be used as a quick kill, reducing populations of flying
Spraying dumpster surfaces will be of some help, but sanitation
is ultimately required.
The flies rest on the sprayed surface of the dumpster and pick up enough
insecticide to kill them.
When spraying the surfaces, it should be wet enough to the point of
runoff, but not enough to form puddles.
Using Invade Bio Foam or Invade Hot Spot as a sanitation product will help clean dumpsters after garbage pick-up.
Spray any areas where the Soldier Flies would land upon and rest. Also spray possible entry points, such as around windows and doors. We recommend either Cyper WSP or LambdaStar Ultra 9.7 insecticides.