23 Different Types of Flies in Pennsylvania

Different Types of Flies in Pennsylvania
Photo by Surya Prakash

Flies can be found in homes and businesses across the country. No matter where they reside, they are a nuisance, and they prefer densely crowded areas.

Flies are a particular issue in cities such as Pittsburgh, Cleveland, New York, Pennsylvania, and others. Now, there are many types of flies in Pennsylvania that you may not know.

Different fly species, such as the house fly, fruit flies, and drain flies, are more frequent than others in this state.

Some flies, such as the bluebottle fly, flesh fly, and sand fly, are exclusively attracted to surroundings that are conducive to their natural activities and life cycles. 

Understanding the habits, seasonality, and life cycle of the various types of flies in Pennsylvania can aid in determining the most effective preventative and fly control strategies.

Without further ado, let’s get to know the several types of flies in Pennsylvania!

1. Bluebottle Fly

Bluebottle flies (Calliphora vomitoria), also known as blow flies, are so named because of their iridescent colors that resemble colored bottles.

They are frequently observed hovering near garbage cans and are drawn to dog feces and dead animals.

The blue bottle fly has been linked to diseases such as typhoid, E. coli, and tuberculosis, among others.

The life cycle of the first of this list, a bluebottle fly, is rather brief. The eggs hatch in around 0-18 hours, and the larva stage lasts about 2-3 days.

The pupae stage lasts about two weeks, while adults mature in about two weeks, breeding largely in meat-derived items or occasionally in cheese.

2. Aphrodite Fritillary Butterfly

Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, joy, and beauty. The Aphrodite Fritillary (Speyeria aphrodite) is a gorgeous summery butterfly with only one brood per year.

It has numerous near relatives that look extremely similar to it, making identification difficult. 

To make matters more complicated, men and females have various sizes, and coloration varies across the continent.

The yellow-green eyes of the Aphrodite Fritillary provide a quick technique to remove practically all relatives.

The Great Spangled Fritillary and Atlantis Fritillary share Aphrodite’s range and have yellow-green eyes, although they are much larger and smaller (respectively) than the medium-sized Aphrodite.

Adults of these types of flies in Pennsylvania are primarily orange with black patterns on the wing tips.

Light brown hairs cover the body and extend to the tips of the wings. The undersides of the wings are light brown, with a paler border along the bottom margin.

It is one of the types of flies in Pennsylvania that is covered in white dots of varying sizes. They can be seen sipping nectar from many wildflowers.

Flowering plants that nourish adults include milkweed, dogbane, thistle, and Joe Pye weed.

The Aphrodite Fritillary can be found in various habitats, including meadows, fields, woodlands, marshes, bogs, prairies, and barren terrain.

This butterfly prefers higher heights; therefore, high ranges and mountains are suitable habitats.

3. Cluster Fly

Cluster flies (Pollenia rudis), often known as attic flies, are commonly found in peaceful, undisturbed areas of your home.

They assemble in vast numbers and require warm places to hibernate during the chilly winter months.

On sunny winter days, you may see a huge group of cluster flies congregating near a window in your attic as they are drawn to light.

Cluster fly eggs are laid on the soil in late summer or early autumn. The larva develops in earthworms and molts and pupates in the soil.

The growth time from egg to adult is approximately 27-39 days. Above all, it is not excluded from our list of the different types of flies in Pennsylvania!

4. American Salmonfly

American Salmonflies (Pteronarcys dorsata) are the largest stoneflies in North America and are most active from late spring through late summer. The American Salmonfly, like other Stonefly species, is a good bioindicator.

The aquatic larvae of the American salmon fly reside underwater during these early life stages and are very susceptible to pollution. The larvae will die if the water contains chemicals. 

As a result, the presence of many adults indicates that the water supply and the environment it supports are both healthy and clean.

American Salmonflies on our list of types of flies in Pennsylvania is a welcome sight for anglers.

Adults do not consume food and live for less than a month. They are tall and slender, with dark wings that wrap around their body firmly. 

Their black eyes protrude from the sides of their heads. A dark pronotum (‘neck collar’) is bordered at both ends by bright orange and a fading orange line that virtually links both ends.

Long, black antennae and legs mimic beetle legs. They spend their days resting on rocks, reeds, and trees near or above water, waiting for opportunities to reproduce. 

Adults who are attacked can emit a chemical irritant from their legs to scare off an attacker.

If that fails, they may pretend to be dead. There are more types of flies in Pennsylvania coming up on our list. Don’t stop reading now!

5. Fruit Fly

Fruit flies (Drosophila species) are a major problem for homeowners and business owners. They are a major annoyance and can be found in homes, grocery stores, and restaurants.

Fruit flies frequently infest fruit or lingers over fermenting wastes in pubs, fruit orchards, vegetable gardens, and breweries. They are commonly spotted anywhere fruits and vegetables rot. 

Fruit flies, as you might guess, breed in rotten fruit, filthy drains, and even cleaning tools. The larval and egg phases of these types of flies in Pennsylvania endure about eight days.

Pupae mature in around six days and evolve into adults in 7-30 days, living for 2-9 weeks.

6. Band-Winged Crane Fly

Adults of this insect (Epiphragma fasciapenne) do not consume food and live for less than a month.

They are tall and slender, with dark wings that wrap around their body firmly. Their black eyes protrude from the sides of their heads.

A dark pronotum (‘neck collar’) is bordered at both ends by bright orange and a fading orange line that virtually links both ends. 

These types of flies in Pennsylvania have long, black antennae and legs that mimic beetle legs.

They spend their days resting on rocks, reeds, and trees near or above water, waiting for opportunities to reproduce.

Adults who are attacked can emit a chemical irritant from their legs to scare off an attacker. If that fails, they may pretend to be dead.

7. Bee-Like Tachinid Fly

Tachinid Bee Fly (Hystricia abrupta) larvae are fatal predators of insects that people find bothersome. Most of these fly larvae feed on the caterpillars of pesky moth species.

Because of their food, some Tachinid Flies have been purposefully brought from other places to decrease harmful moth populations. 

The female Bee-like Tachinid Fly lays a couple of fertilized eggs on or near a moth caterpillar.

The caterpillar of these types of flies in Pennsylvania may accidentally devour the eggs while chewing on the leaf where the eggs were found. A caterpillar’s larva will eat on its internal organs until it dies.

The fly larva will then fall to the earth and dig a tunnel, where it will pupate and develop into a flying adult.

Adults of these types of flies in Pennsylvania have crimson bodies that darken near the tip of the abdomen. Individuals have different color preferences.

Some are yellow or orange, while others are redder. A dark line goes through the center of the body. 

Furthermore, it is coated in black, spiky hairs. Transparent wings spread out to the sides at an angle.

Tachinid species During the summer and autumn, flies can be found on flowers or in marshy places. Adults consume nectar.

8. Big Dipper Firefly

Fireflies are well-known for their nightly displays during the summer. With their bioluminescence, these friendly insects enchant both children and adults.

Their abdomen gives out a yellow-green glow. Chemical reactions within the firefly produce visible light without generating heat. 

Meanwhile, nature rarely allows for such a thing. The firefly’s neurological system controls the light’s intensity and frequency with which it flashes.

This kind of firefly will flash its strongest light and then fly upward in a “j” curve as the light fades.

The Big Dipper Firefly (Photinus pyralis), which is next on this list of types of flies in Pennsylvania, has a black body.

A narrow golden margin entirely surrounds each elytron. The pronotum resembles a shield covering the head. It is also yellow with a crimson patch and a black dot in the center. 

The abdomen is black and yellow on the ventral (belly) side. It resembles the Pennsylvania Firefly. They can be found in open fields, meadows, parks, gardens, front yards, and backyards.

They begin to light up when the sun sets and eventually turn off for the night. Their larvae eat earthworms, slugs, and snails, but adults are not known to eat anything.

9. Black Horse Fly

Black Horse Flies (Tabanus atratus) are roughly an inch long, making them very noticeable and fairly entertaining to observe.

Despite their size, these types of flies in Pennsylvania are swift fliers. Females eat on blood and will take it from anything that possesses it. Their mouthparts cut open flesh, enabling blood to pour out. 

Moreso, these types of flies in Pennsylvania sponge up the blood with a proboscis, leaving an open wound behind.

These wounds might become infected, endangering the health of the livestock. They are also quite painful bites for humans. Males do not bite and do not sip blood. 

Furthermore, males actually drink flower nectar and spend their days hunting for ladies to mate with.

Males and females are entirely black, but males have large eyes that contact in the center of their faces, while females’ eyes are separated. The size of the eyes piques the interest of most people who see them. 

Depending on the illumination, the hue of the eyes of these types of flies in Pennsylvania may vary.

Because the facets of each eye reflect light, their eyes seem black at times, silver at others (see photo gallery), and shades of their surroundings at others.

Additionally, this species is only found in the continent’s east. Females deposit fertilized eggs near or on water sources. Larvae of maggots feed on other aquatic insects and worms.

To repel the presence of Horse Flies, chemicals, home treatments, and specific collars are available.

10. Brown Mantidfly

One of the prominent types of flies in Pennsylvania, Brown Mantidflies (Climaciella brunnea), may be mistaken for wasps at first glance.

The alternating yellow, black, and brown bands on the abdomen and the hairless body appear to be obvious clues. Even the vein pattern on its wings resembles that of a wasp. 

The Brown Mantidfly has a bit more physiology, and a closer look reveals a fascinating blend of traits not commonly seen in one insect.

They have long, broad prothorax (‘shoulders’) and the Praying Mantis’ famed forelegs. It has a single claw for collecting tiny insects.

The female has an ovipositor, which is a syringe-like tube used to lay eggs at the tip of her abdomen.

The Brown Mantidfly, one of the various types of flies in Pennsylvania, is a natural adversary of the Wolf Spider.

Brown Mantidfly larvae make their way inside a female Wolf Spider’s egg sac while it is still being built after hatching from their eggs. Once inside, the Mantidfly larvae begin feeding on spider eggs. 

Adult Brown Mantidflies emerge from the spider’s egg sac once they have fully developed.

Brown Mantidfly sightings are uncommon, but when they do occur, they create an impression. They are most active from spring to summer and enjoy marshes, meadows, woodlands, and open fields.

11. Burrower Mayfly

Burrowing Mayflies (Hexagenia spp.) have large yellow wings with a net-like vein pattern. Their bodies are yellow with brown diagonal stripes on each abdomen segment.

The tubular abdomen is separated from the head by a lengthy neck. Two huge eyes border the sides of the head. 

Moving on, the front pair of legs can be elevated like antennae. Female Burrowing Mayflies lay fertilized eggs in water (lakes, streams, creeks, ponds).

The offspring are known as nymphs and live underwater for a few years. Even trace amounts of pollutants in the water they reside in can kill them.

Gills on the sides of the bodies of these types of flies in Pennsylvania allow them to ‘breathe’ underwater.

They feed on aquatic plant materials and hide in the silt to avoid being eaten by fish. When the larva crawls out of the water, it molts and sprouts its first wings. 

This first stage of maturity is known as the subimago stage, and another molting follows. A second molt will result in a more vibrant body color.

The mature adult is known as an imago, and it is fertile but short-lived. In fact, at the imago level, the lifespan may be as short as one day. They only survive long enough to mate and lay eggs for the next generation.

Burrowing Mayfly larvae are an important food source for fish and are utilized as live bait by anglers.

Anglers frequently employ artificial lures that resemble their body form and color to capture fish. If you want to know about different types of flies in Pennsylvania, read on!

12. Cabbage White Butterfly

Cabbage White larvae (Pieris rapae) eat cabbage, nasturtiums, and other mustard-related plants. It is covered with hair and has 5 yellow lines running down its length.

Because the caterpillar has a ravenous appetite and usually has siblings nearby, the leaves of cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, can be devoured in a couple of days. 

Because of their destructive dietary requirements, they are considered garden pests and require population management to save harvests.

When adults of these types of flies in Pennsylvania are present, using row coverings can limit egg-laying on host plants.

This approach can help reduce chemical use on vegetables and labor in the garden.

13. Sand Fly

Sand flies (Spiriverpa Lunulata) are typical insects you may encounter at the beach at night with your feet in the sand.

They also inhabit sandy riverbanks with open habitats devoid of trees that provide shade.

Adult sandflies are visible from April to September, and their bite can spread diseases such as sandfly fever.

Their eggs hatch about two weeks after being deposited in damp soil with organic materials or water.

Larvae take around three weeks to mature, and pupae can take one to two weeks. Adults of these types of flies in Pennsylvania normally emerge at night.

14. Common Drone Fly

The Drone Fly (Eristalis tenax) is a widespread fly across the continent and an excellent bee mimic.

Drones are stingless male bees with huge eyes and a distinct banding pattern on the abdomen. In those aspects, the Drone Fly, one of the types of flies in Pennsylvania, resembles the bee drone.

Adults frequently drink nectar from flowers, while larvae prefer watery habitats, particularly stinking, stagnant water.

The maggot grows a breathing tube from its back and uses it to breathe while the remainder of the larva remains below the water’s surface. 

They belong to the Rat-tailed Maggot hoverfly family. This tube lets it feed on decomposing debris in the water. Adults can be found near long-standing trees.

15. Yellowjacket Fly

The Yellowjacket Fly (Spilomyia longicornis) does not have a stinger, although it appears to have one due to its distinctive bee colors and striped pattern on its abdomen.

The Yellowjacket Fly’s spherical eyes are also yellow and black, with little spots packed together in a striped pattern. The small antennae can help distinguish the fly from a bee or wasp. 

Sometimes their black front legs stretch forward, giving the illusion of longer antennae, which can be confusing.

Among the numerous types of flies in Pennsylvania, Yellowjacket Flies have a yellow-shaped mark on their black thorax. 

This friendly fly feeds on nectar and can be seen visiting asters, goldenrod, and other wildflowers and developed gardens.

It is active from spring to early October in various settings such as parks, backyards, forest margins, and meadows.

16. Yellow-Fly

Yellow Flies (Diachlorus ferrugatus), which are sometimes confused for Deer Flies, are equally undesirable by humans and animals.

The female goes after exposed flesh to have a rapid blood meal. Males are not biting. Human heads and ears are prime targets. 

These particular types of flies in Pennsylvania frequently target horses’ and livestock’ faces, backs, and legs.

Because repeated bite attempts are common, these enormous animals use their tails to swat and kill the Yellow Fly.

The fly bite is painful, turning red and irritating over the next day or two and frequently resulting in an allergic reaction with painful blisters. 

To keep insects at bay, humans can apply insect repellents containing DEET. Using fly traps in stables and barns is supposed to minimize the number of flies in certain places.

Male and female Yellow Flies drink flower nectar and ingest pollen, but females supplement their diet by consuming animal blood. 

In a muddy region near a lake, creek, pond, or stream, she can lay 50 or so fertilized eggs. Before becoming a winged adults, larvae (maggots) hatch and molt multiple times.

These types of flies in Pennsylvania eat decaying matter and spend some time in the water feeding on garbage before migrating to land.

In the southern states, May and June are the busiest months for biting. The fly is most active between the hours of noon and dusk.

Large groups of them usually congregate near water, which is required for a portion of the larval life cycle.

17. Green Horse Fly

The Green Horse Fly (Chlorotabanus crepuscularis) is a huge and colorful fly with red, white, or green eyes.

Males have eyes that are close together, while females have a tiny gap between their eyes. This is useful to know because men, unlike females, do not bite.

Females require horse, cow, and even human blood for egg production, and the bite is a painful nip. 

Because the female fly can smell traces of carbon dioxide, the gas that mammals naturally exhale, hiding from the fly is challenging.

This species’ habitat is primarily moist. Larvae develop in muddy pools in forests, and adults are usually nearby. 

The Green Horse Fly, on this list of different types of flies in Pennsylvania, is active most of the year in the warmer southern states of the United States and Mexico.

Its activity is limited to late spring and most of the summer in the cooler northern states.

18. Green and Black Soldier Fly

The Green and Black Soldier Fly (Psellidotus hieroglyphicus)’s likeness to a bee is striking. Still, its small antennae, round eyes, and absence of a stinger help distinguish it as a fly.

Because the combination of a black body and green bands is unique, it will likely draw notice when it appears.

Solider flies, asides from being on this list of types of flies in Pennsylvania can be found in moist, wet, or damp conditions.

That means ecosystems can be as natural as an old forest with decomposing leaf litter or as man-made as a waste-water treatment plant.

The larva of the soldier fly is a voracious consumer of rotting and decaying organic substances. This diet consists of animal feces, rotting fruit, decaying logs and leaves, and algae.

19. Gold-Backed Snipe Fly

The Gold-backed Snipe Fly (Chrysopilus thoracicus) is a little-known species of the various types of flies in Pennsylvania.

It belongs to the Snipe Fly family, which consists of big insects found in woodland environments.

The larvae of this species have been observed on rotting wood, but nothing is known about their life cycle. It resembles a wasp and is assumed to be a predatory bug. 

Females have more substantial physiques than males and more space between their eyes. Males have larger eyes that are close together and smoky wings on the outside borders.

Both sexes are black, with five shining, metallic bands of golden hairs on the abdomen and a prominent metallic gold patch near the head.

20. Giant Mayfly

Giant mayflies (Hexagenia limbata) are abundant in the Eastern United States and can appear in great numbers throughout the summer months.

They are one of the largest Mayfly-type insects in North America and live in and around water sources.

Adult Giant Mayflies are distinguished by their twin filament tails, darker wings, and a yellow and brown pattern on their bodies.

What’s more? They have very short life spans at this mature stage of life, literally days, so they focus all of their energy on reproduction before dying.

The greatest method to ensure good mating opportunities is for them to hang around in huge groups for the rest of their lives.

Though these types of flies in Pennsylvania are harmless, swarms can cause traffic problems due to onlookers’ wide eyes. 

Females lay their eggs on soft sediment in the water, allowing the larvae to burrow into the bottom silt for protection. The larvae hide in the sand and dirt.

These kids have a three-pronged tail and resemble their adult counterparts; however, they appear more like a hybrid between the adult and a mini-lobster. 

The larvae of the Giant Mayfly range in color from yellow to brown to black. These particular types of flies in Pennsylvania feed on algae and submerged plant debris.

Fish eat them, and when they reach the subimago stage (not quite adults), fishermen typically use them for their fishing requirements.

21. Giant Eastern Crane Fly

The Eastern Giant Craneflies (Pedicia albivitta) may resemble a massive mosquito, but they are not. This fly, on this list of several types of flies in Pennsylvania, is neither stinging nor biting.

Because of its size and resemblance to the little, annoying blood-sucking mosquito, it is frequently killed due to misidentification and misunderstanding. 

Moreover, it is frequently spotted perched on tree trunks, plant branches, and even window screens. Long wings can extend to 80 mm in length (over 3 inches).

They are transparent but have dark bands on the wings that form triangles. Dark brown triangular bands go around the top of the lengthy abdomen. 

Though it should have six legs, it is usual to observe one with fewer due to its brittleness. Legs are readily broken off and do not regrow.

Giant Eastern Crane Fly larvae are known as maggots, like all fly larvae. The wormy maggot lives underground near creek and stream banks.

The maggot may consume debris and decompose plant stuff. Following pupation, winged adults spend their time attempting to reproduce.

These specific types of flies in Pennsylvania are not known to consume food. Look for them in wooded areas and forests, particularly at night. Peak activity occurs twice a year, in the spring and in the fall.

22. Goatweed Leafwing Butterfly

When its wings are closed, the huge Goatweed Leafwing (Anaea andria) mixes in smoothly among tree trunks, leaf litter, and wood heaps, striking a remarkable similarity to a dried-out leaf.

When this rapid flier is in flight, the tops of its wings blaze bright orange. It is most appealing when resting with its flat wings, although it is rarely so cooperative. 

Like other butterflies that are also types of flies in Pennsylvania, the edges of the wings are not circular. Instead, they appear almost beautifully sculpted, with each hindwing having a short tail.

This butterfly’s gray-green caterpillar feeds on goatweed and crotons such as hogweed and silver croton. 

Two broods per year are conceivable, with more possible in the southern portion of its range.

Look for adults in open woodlands and near streams. Adults sip tree sap and liquid from rotting fruit and fresh excrement. 

23. Small House Fly

Swarms of male Small House Flies (Fannia spp) form in the summer. Females lay their eggs in the feces of animals and humans and on dead and rotting animal tissue. As a result, one species, F. scalaris, is known as the Latrine Fly.

It is thought to be a possible disease carrier since it settles on food after landing on excrement, transferring pathogens through touch.

Despite being half the size and much thinner than a typical House Fly, the Small House Fly exhibits many of the same characteristics. F. scalaris has a well-studied life cycle, and its maggots are frequently seen on dead bodies.

Forensic experts utilize their understanding of the fly’s life phases to determine how long a corpse has rotted. 

When a body is discovered, determining which stage of the life cycle the maggots and flies are in provides an accurate estimate of the time of death. This wraps up our list of the various types of flies in Pennsylvania!


Flies are frequent pests, and infestations should not be treated lightly.

When it comes to the different types of flies in Pennsylvania, they cause unimaginable damage to both livestock and crop plants.

However, an Ehrlich specialist can assist you in getting rid of flies in your house or company. 

Your professional will determine what type of fly is entering your home, adopt a control approach to resolve the issue, and give you prevention suggestions.

Control tactics vary depending on the situation; however, they may include bioremediation, baiting, and pest control product application.

With the tips in the guide above, you need not worry about the types of flies in Pennsylvania!

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