Soldier flies are large, rather stocky, 3/8 to 1/2 inch long. They closely resemble hover flies or wasps do not hover and almost entirely lack bristles on the body, which is covered with short, fine hair. The particular species found occasionally in homes and other structures has a somewhat flattened appearance, with two clear patches on the top of its abdomen. The coloration varies among species. The Soldier Fly thorax is usually black above, yellow to yellowish green on the sides.
The key to soldier fly identification is the presence of its peculiar, one of a kind maggot. The maggot (larva) of this flying pest is over 1 inch in length and has a flattened shape. It is dark brown in color. These fly maggots are usually seen under or around dumpsters. The pupa is also flattened and dark brown.
The Soldier flies encountered in and around homes usually breed and feed in damp organic material associated with poorly maintained dumpsters. 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.
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.
Treating dumpsters and other such containers with a surface spray might be of some help in Soldier Fly elimination, but sanitation will ultimately be your best pest control tool. Dumpsters should be thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis and moved as far away from buildings as possible. The area underneath and around garbage receptacles must also be kept clean and dry. If Soldier flies are occasionally found in a building, proper caulking and screening of windows and doors is a must. Check all doors; they should close quickly (never left open) and efficiently.
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