Sixty-one percent of PMPs said the number of small fly jobs performed last year by their locations didn’t change from 2020, while 31 percent said small fly work increased, according to the 2022 PCT State of the Small Fly Control Market survey.
Fruit flies were the most problematic small fly, reported 73 percent of PMPs, and generated the largest percentage of service calls last year for 42 percent of survey respondents.
In follow-up interviews, PMPs said fruit fly issues plagued both commercial and residential accounts and were linked to rotting organic materials, fermenting liquids and drain decay. “Fruit flies are going to be (associated with) the first level of decay,” said Mike Grace, president of TNT Exterminating Company in Macedonia, Ohio.
Drain or moth flies grabbed the No. 2 spot. They were problematic for 66 percent of PMPs and caused 29 percent of small fly service calls. The flies are attracted to the mucky film in drains caused by decaying organic material. But not all “drain” problems were evident. At a pub, Robert Keef of Bay Pest Solutions found drain flies breeding in a clogged tube running from a dump sink to floor drain. The tube was hidden behind the bar.
Phorid flies tied for the third most- problematic (43 percent), causing 13 percent of small fly service calls. Victor Palermo, Ultra Safe Pest Management, said calls for residential phorid fly service has spiked in recent years in his market.
“I anticipate more of it just because so much of our plumbing around the Boston area is really, really old. There’s always plumbing failing,” and the flies breed in the leaking wastewater, he said. Populations of phorid flies can explode, making a basement or crawlspace “look like something right out of a horror show,” added Palermo.
Fungus gnat problems increased for Billy Tesh of Pest Management Systems Inc. “We are finding some of that more than we’ve ever seen both in residential and commercial,” he said. While the gnats often are associated with overwatered indoor plants, he found infestations tied to water leaks and moisture issues in buildings.
According to the PCT survey, 43 percent of PMPs said fungus gnats were a challenge in their markets, and 12 percent said they generated the most service calls.