Flies in our bathroom

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Old 01-05-14, 04:06 PM
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Question Flies in our bathroom

Hi all!

I was hoping these flies would eventually go away but 3 months later and the little blighter's are still in my bathroom!!

A bit of background. Our bathroom is on the ground floor as it is part of an extension to the original property. The property is a terraced house and the extension positioned to the back of the building. I believe the original house is probably fast approaching 100 years old now, the extension is much newer but as we are just tenants I'm unable to provide specifics, unfortunately.

Anyway, since the winter season started to approach we begun to notice these little, silent (well obviously not silent but we can't hear them =] ), black flies in the bathroom. They seem to have an extremely short life span as I'll leave for work in the morning and when I return 9 hours later they'll be 20 or so dead on the window ledge and a few others dotted around the bathroom, in the sink, bath, and various other surfaces - maybe a few live ones if I'm lucky!

So I did a bit of Googling and settled on the them being drain flies. So I stuck some sticky tape over both the bath and sink plug holes and left it over night hoping to return to a good harvest the following morning. Unfortunately, this yielded no results even though there were still flies dotted around the bathroom! These other flies had definitely appeared at some point during the night as I ensured the bathroom was spotless and fly-free before retiring (in anticipation) to my bed. I thought that these new flies were obviously highly-trained in the art of trickery and deceit so I perused with my master plan...

I bought some heavy duty drain cleaner as well as a plumbers bendy tool (sorry I don't know it's official name), to remove any hair/organic material from within the plug holes before pouring down 6 pints of boiling water in each, followed by the cleaning solution. I then left the solution working it's "magic" for 24 hours before using the sink or the shower. I opted for the shower in a deodorant can approach during this period and cleaned my teeth in the kitchen sink

To my amazement, the plan; failed!!! We still have regular, rent-dodging flies in our bathroom!

Now, onto my next stroke of genius!

We only moved into the house in April, up until the end of October, beginning of November everything was rosy, not a single fly seen, ahhhhh It was only when the temperate dropped outside that I started noticing that the bathroom always seemed to be wet. Condensation appears on the tiles, the toilet and some exposed chrome pipe work which runs behind the bath panel. I believe the reason for this is, the owners built a cheap extension on the property. I'm no expert but this is obviously not insulated properly? Evident from the fact that it's always freezing, regardless of whether the generously sized radiator is turned on. The result of this dampness is that the grout and sealant around the bath, sink, etc. is becoming moldy very quickly! In fact it's a bit of a fire-fight just trying to keep on top of the mold. The bathrooms only ventilation is the window, which is a fair size but you don't want to keep it open too long after you've had a shower when it's minus 1 outside and you're heading to bed.

Don't worry that above paragraph does have purpose...

I then decided to take the bath panel off and have a look behind there. Oh my God; there was literally hundreds of dead flies just lying on the exposed concrete under the bath! I got the hover out and had a really good clean, removed loose rumble (from the bathroom suite installation I presume) and left it in what I thought was a clean, organic material-free space. I still couldn't figure out where these flies were coming from however? I noticed that under the plumbing work (tap end of the bath), it was very damp. There's a bit of mood on breeze blocks and it has a bit of a damp, musty smell. I assume this is from the condensation on the exposed copper pipe work as the dampness doesn't appear to be from a leak after running the taps and getting a plumber to double check the joints, etc.

I've taken a few pictures of the flies and where I'm finding them in hope that somebody (anybody) can help me find a solution to eradicating them! Does anybody know what type of flies these are and if so where do they usually spawn?

I'm also thinking about lagging the pipework just to help with the condensation issue, not sure if this is the best thing to do but I feel that this is only going to be an issue in winter due to the colder temperatures. Advice? Am I talking sense with the cause of the infestation being an overly damp bathroom or just going off on a tangent? I work in IT and have very little DIY experience so this has literally just been guess work on my behalf =/

We are in the process of hopefully persuading the landlord to install an electric ventilation fan to help with force out the steam from showers/baths and the plumber is due to return in the morning to re-seal the bath and shower screen.

A couple of points:-

The bath panel is fixed at the bottom into a length of wood which appears to be water damaged and a bit rotten.

The flies are only really found in the bathroom, we get a couple in the next room but I believe that's because I keep leaving the bathroom door open much to my girlfriend's dislike.

Well if you've read this far, thanks very much! Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

I can take more photo's if required, just ask which bit you'd like to see

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  #2  
Old 01-05-14, 04:27 PM
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Not real good pictures, but they look like what we call a common housefly. As colder weather sets in, flies like to come to the house where it's warm and get under the siding. Their metabolism slows down with colder temperatures, but they survive under the siding since your house is warm. They slowly continue to crawl and they often will eventually make their way to warmer and warmer environments... in other words, they find a way in!!! In old houses there are millions of places this can happen, since the sheathing on old houses was basically just boards nailed onto the studs... sometimes shiplap. In old houses with no insulation that literally means that the walls could fill up with flies, if there are enough of them around to do so.

Once I tore out a window during the winter and in the hollow space under the sill we found masses of flies. Thousands of them. All barely able to crawl... but mostly alive. They will find their way through any crack one by one.

If you are sure they are coming from the bathroom, I'd probably seal up everything I could... penetrations from drain pipes under the sink, caulk baseboard to the wall, caulk window trim to the wall, etc. Bath fan could be a source too from the attic.
 
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Old 01-06-14, 05:10 AM
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Thanks for the reply.

Common house fly's in this country are usually quite a bit bigger than the ones I'm finding in the bathroom. These are only probably 2-4mm in length and are jet black. As the post mentions, the flies are only found in the bathroom, no where else in the house, or very few anyway... The bathroom is situated in a single story extension so they are certainly not coming from the attic. The extension is almost self contained; yes there is an open passageway between the original building and the extension but the brickwork is almost self contained as I don't believe there are any cavities for the flies to work there way through to the bathroom from the original building. The floors are concrete slabbed, no floorboards... The flies are found in abundance underneath the bath; they are working their way out through the gaps in the bath panel and are usually attracted to the light coming through the window, hence the regular gathering on the sill.

Also, as I mentioned in my original post - the bathroom is cold, not somewhere I'd go to seek refuge from the cooling temperatures winter brings. The pictures aren't the greatest, granted however I can take more if required. I attempted to take close up's of the flies just to try and get some identification on the species. The other pictures are just a few shots from under the bath tub just so you have some perceptive of what I'm seeing.

Many thanks,
 
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Old 01-06-14, 06:10 AM
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[Annual Fly Control Issue] Figuring Out Phorids - PCT - Pest Control Technology


Flies are hard to identify from photos but I’m leaning towards “phorid” flies. I note what appears to be a “humpback”.
See what you think. If this is what these are then there is a chronic moisture condition under or in the bathroom that needs to be corrected. While a fan is good, it won’t be nearly enough as there is another problem somewhere.

Keep us posted.
 
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Old 01-06-14, 06:20 AM
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Yeah the pictures are a bit rubbish, these were taken on my phone as I don't own a dedicated camera. I'll borrow my friends DSLR and use his zoom lens to get a better shot of the insects, there's plenty about so shouldn't be too difficult =S

Thanks for your reply.
 
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Old 01-06-14, 02:41 PM
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Managed to get a close up picture of one of the flies. It's still a bit blurry but best I can do with a 55mm lens and a D5100. Sure practically everyone in the world could do better but I'm a complete camera novice.

Can anyone tell me what species this is? Is it just a common house fly?

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Old 01-06-14, 03:38 PM
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I’m still leaning towards “phorid” flies as I posted previously. If not phorids, then it is a fly similar in biology.

I’m sure that somewhere underneath the tub/bathroom is decaying organic matter from a chronic leak or moisture condition. Treating with insecticides will only kill off some of the adults at best. Someone needs to inspect under the tub and bathroom to the extent possible. A good light will be required.
 
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Old 01-15-14, 03:01 PM
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Thanks for your input guys. I managed to get the flies Id'ed with some extreme close up shots and they are a type of phorid fly. Now to try and get rid of them

Many thanks,
 
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Old 01-15-14, 04:44 PM
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Thanks for keeping us posted; I kept checking back on this.

Check out the link in my first post for info on phorids.

When you find the larvae, you will have found the source. Most likely will be a putrid smell at the source.

Keep us updated and thanks again.
 
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Old 01-19-14, 02:23 PM
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Yeah I will do! My gut feeling is that they are breeding on the far wall, the other side of the bath where I can't get to, nor take a good look.

Today was a particularly bad day for them actually! It has been very bright and relatively warm! I would say at least 100 have found their way out from behind the bath panel and were casually chilling in the bathroom

Anyway I'll post back when I get anymore developments.
 
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Old 02-15-14, 02:46 PM
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Hi,

Just in case anybody is following this.

We had a pest guy come a couple of weeks ago! He was totally useless and just suggested we try things that we'd already tried. It was my girlfriend that spoke to him as I was unfortunately at work so I couldn't explain that his suggestions had already failed.

Anyway. We managed to stop the flies!!! Don't get too excited mind as we've just silicon sealed pretty much the entire bathroom. All around the bath panel, where the floor tiles meet the wall tiles, etc. To be honest it actually makes the bathroom look a whole lot neater and cleaner with all the silicon sealant so it's pleasing aesthetically and functionally.

Bit of a cop out I know but this definitely means that they were finding their way into our home from under the bath somewhere. It's a rented property so I'm not going to address the underlying issue. Out of sight, out of mind as far as I'm concerned

Thanks all for your suggestions and help!

James
 
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Old 02-16-14, 06:28 AM
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Tks for keeping us updated Jimbob. Glad you are getting relief. It is the landlords problem and responsibility; you are correct in that assessment.

I’m not conversant on landlord/tenant law but I do work with landlords and tenants frequently. There are others on here that know the laws well and maybe they will support/refute my following advice.

Tenants are to notify landlords of problems, especially subtle but chronic issues like this so as to minimize damage and expense to landlord. I know you’ve told your landlord, but can you document this in any way or at least have credible witnesses to that effect? He’s got a moisture problem that will cost him money and the longer it goes on the more expense he will have. He may even have a future tenant break a lease because of this. I don’t want this to fall back on you in any way. I would print out the page on “phorid flies” and make sure he acknowledges this somehow; I’d even leave a page there when you vacate. Keep the pest control guys contact info too. All and any evidence to show that you know what you are talking about and that you did notify landlord.

Again, tks for the update.
 
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Old 07-12-14, 02:15 PM
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Hi. I came across your thread as I appear to have similar problem in my downstairs toilet. A few flies similar to fruit flies hanging around the window but by late afternoon about 40 or so. Also tried to deal vents and sink holes to harvest but nothing. Just wondered if you did completely sort issue out with silicon. We only have sink and toilet so no obvious place they are coming from although did have new sink fitted recently but it was siliconed. Any suggestions gratefully received!!
 
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Old 07-13-14, 09:13 AM
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Small fly species differ greatly in habitat and control efforts so what we need is a proper identification. Can you post close up pics of them? Otherwise take specimens to a county agricultural agent or reputable pest control company for an ID. We can go from there.
 
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Old 01-12-15, 10:12 AM
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Flies via Bath exhaust fan

I read a one liner in this thread re: bath ceiling exhaust fans as a potential source of flies. I've got them in a bathroom that gets sporadic use (i.e., every other month). I've vacuumed up the flies - most of them alive and placed some sticky side up duct tape in the ceiling box. More to do? Is it likely they are coming in though the outside exhaust point or should I be looking for holes in likely inaccessible attic ducts?
 
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Old 01-12-15, 01:24 PM
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The only flies that get in through bathroom fans are typically the larger species. The smaller species will breed in decaying organic matter, or what I suspect in your case since you rarely use the bathroom is they are coming up a drain as the “p” trap has probably dried out due to lack of use.

Since flies vary greatly in their biology and harborage and food sources it is important to identify the specie so that our energies, efforts, and $$$ go in the correct direction.

Can you take a clear photo of some?

In any case, make sure to run water thoroughly in all drains in that bathroom. If you want to experiment a little, put sticky tape face down over the drain before you run the water to see if you catch some coming up. Keep us posted.
 
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Old 02-25-15, 01:54 PM
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Hi,

Just noticed that people were still posting on this thread. So an update...

The silicon seemed to work well but the actual issue was caused from a hair line crack in the bath. This crack was invisible to the naked eye but when showering, etc. the weight of me or the water would open this crack up, water would leak through to the concrete below and thus that was where the flies were breeding. Perfect habitat I guess. Warm, damp and dark.

Luckily, and I sorry this is not necessarily an answer as such but our landlord decided the bathroom was a little dated anyway so instead of just replacing the bath, everything from the old bathroom was stripped out, tiles, ceiling and all, then replaced. Ever since this happened things have been great Not one fly has been seen and this has also seemed to have solved issues with dampness.

But for those not as fortunate as ourselves, try looking for hair line cracks in pipes, porcelain , etc. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean one or more are not there.

Strangely though, when the plumber came round to fit our new bathroom, this was probably 3/4 months after sealing everything up there weren't that many flies under the bath. I was expecting a carpet of them... Not sure how this could have prevented them breeding, lack of oxygen maybe? I'm not sure.

Thanks,

Jimbob
 
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Old 02-26-15, 05:27 AM
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Thanks for the update and the insight. They do breed in moist soil and decaying organic matter.
 
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