24 Different Types of Flies in North Dakota

Different Types of Flies in North Dakota
Photo by Chris Curry

There are many different types of flies in North Dakota that call the area home.

North Dakota has a diverse population of flying insects, from the common housefly to the more unique cranefly.

While many think of flies as an annoyance, they also play an important role in the environment. 

This blog post will look at the different types of flies in North Dakota and what attracts them to the area.

We’ll also discuss how to minimize the presence of flies in your environment and keep them from becoming a nuisance.

1. African Fig Fly

The African Fig Fly (Zaprionus indianus) is a fly species found in many North Dakota regions.

This fly is known for its bright orange and yellow stripes and long antennae. This fly feeds on various fruit, nectar, and decaying organic matter. 

It is the first of this list of the types of flies in North Dakota. While it is primarily found near fruit trees and orchards, it can also be found in gardens, fields, and other open areas.

It is a key pollinator for many crops, including tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash.

The African Fig Fly is particularly attracted to rotting fruit, which makes it a nuisance in some areas.

To keep these flies away from your garden or orchard, make sure to remove any overripe or rotting fruit. 

Additionally, planting certain flowers such as marigolds, lavender, and rosemary can help deter the African Fig Fly from your property.

Taking these simple steps can help reduce the number of flies in your area and keep your garden healthy and safe.

2. Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly

The Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly can be found almost anywhere except Mexico and a few southern U.S. states.

They are often orange overall with white markings on the underside of the wing, just like other Fritillary butterflies. Some people could have a more brownish-than-orange appearance. 

The pattern of white dots under the wings and black stripes on top is characteristic of the species, even though their overall color may range from orange to brown.

When the wings are extended, a row of white, triangular dots can be seen closely following the edge.

These little triangles are separated from the body by a broad band of yellowish color. Furthermore, the body and basal region of the wings are brown on the top side.

This region explodes into a brilliant yellow-orange color that spreads throughout the remaining forewings. Rows of black dashes, dots, and chevrons border the edges of the wings.

Look for these types of flies in North Dakota in meadows, roadsides, parks, and gardens. They like being close to a body of water. Adults sip nectar from numerous kinds of flowers.

Locate them close to violets, which are the larvae’s main food source. Great Starling Overwintering fritillary caterpillars consume the host plant in the spring.

3. American Bluet Damselfly

The American Bluet Damselfly is one of the most common types of flies in North Dakota. They are found in moist, low-lying areas such as wetlands, marshes, and ponds.

These small flies are an important source of food for birds and other wildlife, and they are also a beneficial part of the ecosystem, controlling populations of pest insects. 

The American Bluet Damselfly can be recognized by its black thorax and yellow abdomen, as well as its distinctive wings with a red tint along the edges.

These flies are attracted to decaying organic matter and often hover around compost piles or decaying plant matter.

They breed in temporary ponds and puddles and lay their eggs on aquatic vegetation.

4. American Hover Fly

The American Hover Fly is an important species of fly in North Dakota. These flies are usually found near riverbanks, ponds, or streams, where they feed on nectar from flowering plants and pollen.

They also consume various small insects, larvae, and other invertebrates. The larvae of this species have been found in moist soil, decaying vegetation, and even inside plant tissues.

These flies are considered beneficial to the environment as they act as pollinators, controlling pests and providing food for other organisms.

The adult hoverflies are easily recognizable by their black and yellow stripes, which serve as a warning to potential predators. 

They are attracted to flowers that produce lots of nectar, such as daisies, dandelions, buttercups, and sunflowers.

The female lays her eggs on plants, and when they hatch, the larvae feed on the sap or juices of these plants.

Aside from being types of flies in North Dakota, they are one of the most important pollinators there and can be seen buzzing around from flower to flower.

5. American Lady Butterfly

The American Lady Butterfly, or Vanessa virginiensis, is a type of fly found in North Dakota. This species is quite small, measuring around an inch in a wingspan.

The upper side of their wings is orange-red with brown veins and a black border. On the underside of the wings are white, yellow, and black spots.

They feed mainly on nectar and pollen, which can be found on various regional flowers. These butterflies also attract mates through visual signals, such as flying patterns and wing displays. 

They are types of flies in North Dakota that are typically active from late April to early August.

During this time, they can often be seen fluttering through fields and meadows in search of food sources.

It is important to note that American Lady Butterflies are considered threatened in some states, but their population is stable in North Dakota.

6. American Salmonfly

The American salmonfly is one of the most common types of flies in North Dakota. It can be identified by its small size and brown or black coloration.

Its wings are held over its body, which gives it a distinct, ‘flying saucer’ appearance. 

Moreso, it is an aquatic fly that prefers slow-moving water, making it commonly seen in rivers, streams, and ponds across the state.

This fly feeds on aquatic insects, often hatching from the water’s surface and collecting food from the water’s surface film.

The American Salmonfly is attracted to light, often gathering around porch lights or another outdoor lighting.

The larvae of this fly are important to fish diets, as they provide a valuable source of protein and are considered an important food source for many aquatic species. 

This type of fly is also used in fly fishing, as its small size and slow movement make it an attractive bait for fish.

While these flies are harmless to humans, their presence can be annoying, so it is best to keep them away with light and screen doors.

7. Anise Swallowtail Butterfly

The Anise Swallowtail Butterfly, also known as Papilio zelicaon, is a type of fly native to North Dakota.

It is usually found near wetland areas or rivers and feeds on nectar from flowers. Its upper wings are mainly black with white and yellow spots on the forewings. 

This butterfly species is commonly seen in the summer months between June and August.

As a species of butterfly that lives in the north, the Anise Swallowtail Butterfly has adapted to colder weather. Its main defense against winter is to migrate further south.

In the summer months, however, the Anise Swallowtail Butterfly can be found in North Dakota, flying around wetland areas and searching for nectar from flowers.

8. Aphrodite Fritillary Butterfly

The Aphrodite Fritillary Butterfly is also one of the many types of flies in North Dakota. This species is native to much of the United States, including parts of the Midwest and Great Plains.

They prefer open, grassy areas and are most active during the warm summer months. 

The wingspan of this butterfly typically ranges from 2-3 inches, and they have a unique orange and black color pattern.

To attract Aphrodite Fritillary Butterflies to your garden, you will want to provide them with various nectar sources such as purple coneflower, wild bergamot, and butterfly weed. 

As an added bonus, these plants also attract other beneficial pollinators like bees and hummingbirds!

Make sure to keep the area around your flowers and plants well-watered so that the butterflies have plenty of moisture while they visit.

9. Flower Fly

Of the different types of flies in North Dakota, good pollinators include flower flies.

They go to flowers to eat the pollen, and like other insects, such as bees, they collect pollen grains on their bodies and spread them to other flowers. 

Toxomerus genus flower flies have what appears to be a flat abdomen that can bend to almost unnatural angles. They are not harmful to people and do not sting.

This particular species can be found near garden flowers, maize, and sorghum plants.

10. Atlantis Fritillary Butterfly

The Atlantis Fritillary butterfly is a beautiful species that inhabits much of the Great Plains region, including parts of North Dakota.

This butterfly is bright orange and black, with distinctive markings on its wings that are easily recognizable.

It feeds primarily on nectar from flowers, particularly those of the daisy family, and can often be found in open fields and meadows. 

Meanwhile, it is one of the most adorable types of flies in North Dakota. They prefer warm weather and are most active during the summer months when they can often be seen fluttering through the air in search of food sources.

These butterflies are important to North Dakota’s native ecosystem as pollinators, helping to transfer pollen from flower to flower and contributing to the growth of local plant species. 

Additionally, their vibrant coloring makes them aesthetically pleasing to observe, adding beauty and interest to the landscape.

As their numbers decline, however, their presence may be lost from North Dakota’s ecosystem, and it is important to take steps to preserve this species and its habitat.

11. Band-Winged Crane Fly

Band-winged Crane Fly is a species of fly found in North Dakota. This species is known for its long and slender body, with two distinct wings with black stripes.

The band-winged crane fly is often seen in grassy areas and meadows and can be attracted to lights at night. 

They typically feed on the nectar of flowers and small insects like aphids, thrips, and caterpillars. These flies are not dangerous to humans and are mainly considered to be nuisance pests.

However, they can become quite numerous during the summer months and could become a problem if left unchecked.

12. Giant Swallowtail Butterfly

In North America, this species of butterfly is the biggest. When it comes to butterflies as one of the types of flies in North Dakota, the Giant Swallowtail is gigantic. Seeing one might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Going further, wingspans can reach 19 cm in width (almost 7.5 inches). The butterfly’s top (dorsal) side is predominantly black.

From tip to tip, a striking yellow strip runs across the forewings. A second diagonal band crosses it on each wing. 

When the wings are at rest flat, this remarkable pattern is evident. The underside of the wings is mostly golden in color.

A black line that runs down the middle of the wing is covered in bright blue crescents.

13. Band-Winged Hoverfly

The Band-winged Hoverfly is a species of fly found in North Dakota. It has distinctive yellow and black markings, and its wings are marked with white bands.

This species of fly prefers habitats near rivers, marshes, and ponds. They are types of flies in North Dakota that feed on nectar, pollen, and the occasional aphid or small insect.

The Band-winged Hoverfly is a great pollinator, so they benefit the environment. The Band-winged Hoverfly is attracted to light colors, such as white and yellow flowers. They are also drawn to water sources like streams, rivers, and ponds.

It’s important to be aware of these flies when you’re outdoors in North Dakota, as they can sometimes be annoying or even bite if provoked.

The best way to avoid them is to avoid their preferred habitats and food sources.

14. Flesh Flies

Sarcophaga adults have clear wings and red eyes. Their thorax (‘shoulder area’) contains alternating metallic-looking black and gray patterns.

The brownish-red tip and spiky hairs on the black abdomen’s end. The entire spring and summer, they remain active. 

Open spaces like fields, parks, meadows, and parking lots are where you can find them. In addition, woodlands and backyards may contain them.

This genus covers the whole of North America and has close to 80 species. Adult flesh flies may also visit dung heaps and consume animal fluids.

Some of the first insects to a dead animal are flesh flies. Their larvae (maggots) consume the deceased insects and the rotting, decomposing meat of vertebrates.

15. Bee Fly

Bee flies are found in North Dakota and are a common fly species. These flies belong to the Bombyliidae family and are characterized by their dark coloring, long legs, and wings. They have short antennae, a long proboscis for feeding, and large eyes. 

Bee flies, which are types of flies in North Dakota, can be found in many habitats, including grasslands, wetlands, forests, and deserts.

They are important pollinators of flowers, as they feed on nectar and help spread pollen between plants.

Bee flies also make up a major part of the insect food chain, providing an important source of nutrition for birds, mammals, reptiles, and other insects. 

They are attracted to bright colors, fragrances, and open flowers. They are mostly active during the day but can also be found in the evening and night when temperatures are warmer.

To attract these bees, you can set up bee houses or provide flowers with plenty of nectar.

16. Bee-Like Robber Fly

The Bee-like Robber Fly, or Laphria spp., is a type of fly that is commonly found in North Dakota. This type of fly is about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in length and has black bodies with yellow stripes.

They are also typically covered with yellowish-brown hairs and have long, beak-like mouthparts that they use to feed on small insects. 

These flies are often found in gardens, around flowering plants, and on the edges of forests, where they can find plenty of food.

These flies are known for their aggressive behavior and ability to kill other flying insects. They attack their prey by grabbing them with their powerful mandibles and injecting a paralyzing toxin into the insect. 

They then suck out the fluids from their prey before discarding the body. These types of flies in North Dakota are beneficial as they help to control the population of other pest species.

However, they can become a nuisance when they appear in large numbers around homes and businesses.

17. Coral Hairstreak Butterfly

An essential characteristic for recognizing this butterfly is a continuous row of coral-colored dots on the underside of the hindwings.

Coral is present there for other Hairstreak species, but not for this one. Spots are large, distinct, and vivid. 

This side of the wings likewise has little black flecks, but the wings are otherwise unmarked. Except for a sliver of orange peeking through from the spots below, even the top sides are plain.

Antennas of these types of flies in North Dakota are banded in black and white. Adults are frequently observed with their wings up, which is helpful for people seeking to identify them.

The chokecherry, wild cherry, and wild plum trees provide food for the caterpillar.

Adults consume nectar from various flowers; adults take nectar from various types of flowers, including those on dogbane and butterfly weed.

18. Black Firefly

The Black Firefly is an insect found in the North Dakota area. This type of fly is typically black or dark brown in color and is marked with yellow stripes.

The adult Black Firefly is usually active at night, while the larval stage can be found during the day in damp soil and vegetation. 

They are types of flies in North Dakota that prefer open, moist habitats, such as low-lying meadows, swamps, and wetlands.

The Black Firefly is an important pollinator in North Dakota as it helps transfer pollen from one flower to another. 

The Black Firefly feeds on nectar, plant sap, and small insects, such as aphids, which it captures by hovering above them. 

To attract mates, the male Black Firefly produces a yellow light from its abdomen at night that can be seen up to 20 feet away. By emitting this light, it can locate a female of its species and reproduce.

Therefore, it is important for conservationists to protect these habitats so that the Black Firefly can continue to thrive in North Dakota.

19. Filter Fly

Fuzzy and dark Filter On the walls and doors of the restroom stalls, flies are frequently spotted resting.

Numerous people had swatted at one to prevent it from landing on them when they were exposed and vulnerable. 

This sort of fly is not just seen in bathrooms and kitchens. It is frequently observed in nature next to foul ponds and other moist regions where degradation occurs.

However, most people connect this kind of moth fly with waste, filth, and trash. This tiny fly on our list of the types of flies in North Dakota looks like a moth because it has fuzz on its wings.

The Filter Fly has a hairy fringe around its spherical wings and is completely black. On the upper portion of each wing, there are two black spots.

20. Fishfly

The group of winged insects known as Dobsonflies and Alderflies includes fishflies.

They are types of flies in North Dakota that are typically identified by their size, dark color, and chaotic-looking flight approach.

They have long feathery antennae and jaws (mandibles) with teeth that resemble saws. When closed, their wings curl tightly over one another and are at least as long as their bodies.

The transparent wings are covered in veins and color blotches. Males wrestle for females by using their mouths. 

Females deposit hundreds of fertilized eggs on low-lying branches or bushes above the water. When they hatch, larvae fall into the water.

While adults can be spotted relaxing on land, they are typically found adjacent to submerged vegetation that is near running water. 

Most activity is visible at night in the late spring and summer. To consume aquatic insects like dragonfly naiads and water beetle larvae, adult fish flies fish them out of the water.

They also consume algae, worms, and tiny bivalves like clams and mussels. At night, adults are extremely drawn to lights.

21. Firefly

On this list of the several types of flies in North Dakota are the numerous species of fireflies in the genus Photuris.

These tiny beetles are perfectly safe for humans and are frequently captured for closer examination.

Chemicals in the insect’s yellow abdomen enable it to phosphoresce. While a few species flash orange or red, the majority of species glow in colors green or blue.

Each species has a unique blinking pattern that can be used to distinguish it from other nearby species.

22. Black Onion Fly

The Black Onion Fly is a species of fly that can be found in North Dakota. It is a small, dark-colored fly with a black head and thorax, and its abdomen and wings have a metallic blue or purple sheen. Its body is slender, and it has long legs. 

This fly is not left out of our list of different types of flies in North Dakota, and it’s often attracted to onions, hence its name.

It feeds on the nectar and pollen of plants and is an important pollinator in its native habitat. The Black Onion Fly also spreads plant diseases such as black rot, white rot, rust, and leaf spot. 

As such, taking measures to prevent them from spreading these diseases when possible is important.

They are attracted to light at night, so keeping lights off near potential breeding grounds can help reduce their numbers.

Good garden hygiene practices, such as clearing debris and removing old plant material, can help keep their population down.

23. Black-Tailed Bee Fly

The black-tailed bee fly is a species of bee fly found in North Dakota. It is a medium-sized fly, about 1 cm in length, and has a black body with a yellow head. The bee fly has wings with a white or yellowish fringe along the edges. 

Meanwhile, it is an important pollinator of wildflowers and cultivated crops, including clover and alfalfa. It is often seen hovering near flowers while looking for nectar and pollen.

The black-tailed bee fly is attracted to open, sunny areas with plenty of flowers, such as gardens and meadows. 

It can also be found in wooded areas where flowering shrubs and trees provide the necessary food source.

They are active during the day and are typically seen hovering around flowers in search of food.

24. Black-Horned Gem Fly

The Black-horned Gem Fly is a type of fly that is commonly found in North Dakota. They are often seen hovering around grassy and sandy areas and open woods and wetlands.

They have black heads with two large yellow eyes, and their bodies are mainly yellow with black stripes. 

The Black-horned Gem Fly has two distinct wings and thin antennae that it uses to detect prey.

This fly species feed on nectar and other protein sources, including small insects such as mosquitoes and aphids. 

They lay their eggs in moist areas, and the larvae then feed on aquatic vegetation. These flies are important pollinators of flowers and play an essential role in maintaining the health of local ecosystems.

Finally, we’ve reached the end of our list of the various types of flies in North Dakota.


North Dakota is known for its great outdoors, and its abundance of different types of flies is no exception.

Over 50 species of flies are found in the state, ranging from tiny midges to large, colorful horseflies.

In this comprehensive guide, we looked at the different types of flies in North Dakota that can be found there! 

We also explored ways to help prevent them from becoming a nuisance in your home or garden.

So if you want to learn more about the different types of flies in North Dakota, the article above is for you! All the best!

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