Get Rid of Soldier Flies

Soldier Fly Identification

Soldier flies are large (5/8-inch long). The coloration varies among species. soldier fly 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 yellow patterns. They have characteristic "elbowed" antennae due to a long terminal segment.

In many situations involving this fly, only the larvae or pupae are found.

Black soldier larvae
Black soldier fly larvae,
Photo by G. McIlveen, Jr.

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 are key in identifying this type of fly. These larvae (maggot) are usually seen under or around dumpsters, garbage cans, or compost piles. 

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. The size of the larvae and pupae is large, and it is easy to identify both the larvae and pupae. Sanitation of the dumpster would be an essential step in the control of these flies. Clean up organic debris found around 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 another such garbage receptacle.

Inspect dumpsters, compost piles, and garbage cans; the peculiar larvae and pupae will be found under or around dumpsters. The younger larvae will be buried in a compost pile or damp organic material and are more challenging to locate. 

It is during the last instar that the worms 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 the 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 various traps and sprays are used to kill flies, it is necessary to remove the source 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 the elimination of breeding areas is necessary for proper management.

A pyrethrum space spray such as Stryker 54 or CB 80 Pyrethrin aerosols can be used as a quick kill, reducing populations of flying insects.

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. To clean dumpsters after a garbage pick-up, use Invade Bio Foam or Invade Hot Spot as a sanitation product will help sanitation and breeding sources.

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.

Cyper WSP is a wettable powder, mixed with water to spray the exterior surfaces where flies would land, sprayed once a month. Wettable powders will show up visible on dark surfaces

Use LambdaStar Ultra Cap 9.7 if you are concerned about the visiblity on dark surfaces.