29 Different Types of Flies in South Carolina

Different Types of Flies in South Carolina
Photo by Juan Pablo Mascanfroni

South Carolina is a beautiful and diverse state, and its insect population is no exception.

Flies are one of the most common insects in South Carolina, and many different types of flies call the state home.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the various types of flies in South Carolina and the fascinating facts about them. 

From the unique habits of crane flies to the wide variety of hoverflies, there’s something for everyone to learn about the many types of flies in South Carolina.

So, let’s take a closer look at the different types of flies in the Palmetto State.

South Carolina is home to various fly species, many of which play an important role in the ecosystem.

From small and innocuous to larger and more noticeable, flies can be found all over the state.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most common types of flies found in South Carolina and discuss their characteristics and behaviors.

So whether you’re trying to identify a fly or want to learn more about the species that inhabit the region, keep reading to learn more about the different types of flies in South Carolina.

1. Coffin Fly

The coffin fly (Ephemera guttulata) is a type of fly that is native to South Carolina and the surrounding states. It is typically found in moist areas near rivers, streams, and other water sources.

The coffin fly, the starter of our list of the types of flies in South Carolina, has a body length of about 15-20 millimeters and has reddish brown or black wings. 

Moving on, the upper side of the wing is generally darker than the lower side, and the head and thorax are also darker.

This fly species is known for its long, slender abdomen, which often curves upwards at the tip.

The Coffinfly feeds on algae and other organic matter found in decaying vegetation and other water sources. 

Furthermore, they lay their eggs near these sources, which hatch into larvae after a few days. The larvae live in the water until they emerge as adults, usually in late summer or early fall.

The adult coffin fly lives for about 10 days, during which time it mates and lays more eggs for the next generation.

2. Deer Fly

Deer flies (Chrysops vittatus) are medium-sized, brightly colored types of flies in South Carolina. They are most active in early summer and are commonly seen near lakes, rivers, and streams.

Deer fly adults feed on nectar and pollen from flowers and can be identified by their yellowish bodies, black spots on the wings, and striped legs. 

The female deer fly has a habit of biting humans and animals for blood, leaving itchy welts behind. While their bites can be painful, they are generally not considered dangerous.

To help reduce the presence of deer flies, people should avoid spending too much time outside during peak activity hours or wearing light-colored clothing.

3. Crane Flies

Crane flies (Various spp.) are a type of fly found throughout the United States, including South Carolina.

These long-legged insects on our list of types of flies in South Carolina are easily recognizable due to their large wings and slender bodies.

Most crane flies are harmless and not known to bite humans, but some species can be considered pests due to their presence in agricultural fields and crops.

In South Carolina, there is a variety of crane fly species that inhabit different habitats. Some of the most common species are Tipula abdominalis, Tipula cilipes, and Tipula oleracea.

Tipula abdominalis is known for its yellowish-brown body and dark-brown wings, while Tipula cilipes is most easily identified by its distinctive red body and transparent wings. 

Tipula oleracea is a pale green cranefly with a pattern of dark markings on its back.

In addition to these types of flies in South Carolina being found in open areas, some crane fly species can also be found in moist, wooded areas.

Species like Nephrotoma appendiculata and Nephrotoma flavescens thrive in these environments and can often be seen flying near ponds or streams.

Although crane flies are generally not harmful to humans, they can sometimes become an issue when they congregate in large numbers around homes.

If this happens, it’s best to contact a pest control professional for help getting rid of the infestation.

4. Flesh Fly

Flesh Flies (Sarcophaga spp.) are one of the most common types of flies in South Carolina.

They are often seen around areas with decaying material, such as garbage and compost piles. These flies are most likely to be seen during the year’s warmer months.

Flesh flies are relatively large and can reach up to 1⁄2 inch in length. They are usually grey in color with three black stripes on their back.

Unlike other types of flies, flesh flies do not have sponging mouthparts. Instead, they have a long proboscis that feeds on carrion and other decaying organic matter.

Flesh flies breed in materials such as animal carcasses, decomposing food, and even human feces.

Females typically lay their eggs in these materials, where larvae will emerge and feed for up to 10 days. The larvae are small, creamy white grubs with brown heads.

To control these types of flies in South Carolina, removing any potential breeding sites, such as garbage and compost piles, is important.

In addition, keeping these areas clean can help to reduce the attraction of these pests. It is also important to ensure that all food sources are properly sealed and stored to prevent any unnecessary attraction of flesh flies.

5. Firefly

The firefly (Photuris spp.) is a species of fly that is common in South Carolina. The firefly is a small insect with wings, and its size can range from 8 to 20 millimeters.

This species of fly is characterized by its bioluminescent body, which emits a yellow-greenish light. 

The firefly’s light emission occurs when an internal reaction combines chemicals with oxygen, such as luciferin and luciferase.

Fireflies are nocturnal and often found in moist areas like wetlands and streams. The males of this species will fly around searching for a mate, and the females will remain on vegetation and release a scent to attract the males. 

Once they have mated, the female will lay her eggs on damp soil or leaves. After hatching, the larvae will feed on small insects and worms before pupating and eventually emerging as adult fireflies.

Fireflies are an important part of the ecosystem, as they help to control populations of other insects, such as moths and beetles. 

Additionally, fireflies, one of the many types of flies in South Carolina, provide an important food source for many animals, such as bats, birds, and frogs.

The light they produce is also important in signaling mates during their mating season.

6. Filter Fly

Filter Flies (Clogmia albipunctata) are small, dark-colored flies found in the Southeast United States.

They are approximately 5-10 mm long, with a black body and yellow or white dots on their wings.

They are most commonly found in moist areas, such as damp basements or near-standing water. 

Filter Flies are usually found in clusters of hundreds and can often become a nuisance to homeowners.

Although Filter Flies do not bite or transmit diseases, they can be bothersome and create an unpleasant odor.

The best way to control Filter Fly populations is to eliminate the moisture and rotting food sources that attract them.

7. Feather-Legged Fly

The Feather-legged Fly (Trichopoda lanipes) is a species of fly native to the southeastern United States. It can be found in South Carolina and other states in the region.

This fly species is easily identifiable by its distinctive long legs, which are fringed with long, feather-like hairs. It is typically black or brownish and grows up to 8 millimeters in length. 

The Feather-legged Fly feeds on flower nectar and is an important pollinator of plants.

These types of flies in South Carolina can also be found near ponds or other water sources, as they are attracted to damp areas.

They are harmless and rarely seen indoors, but they can become annoying when they come into contact with humans.

8. European Drone Fly

The European Drone Fly (Eristalis arbustorum) is an insect commonly found in South Carolina and across the southern United States.

The fly is a member of the Syrphidae family and is a slender, dark-brown insect with two bright yellow stripes running down its abdomen.

This fly species is typically seen hovering around flowers and other vegetation in search of nectar and pollen. 

As adults, the European Drone Fly feeds on nectar and pollinates flowers while its larvae feed on decaying matter.

They can be seen hovering around gardens, parks, fields, woods, and other natural habitats. Equally important to note, these are types of flies in South Carolina!

The European Drone Fly plays an important role in the environment by helping to pollinate flowers and disperse seeds.

They are also beneficial predators of small invertebrates such as aphids, larvae, and caterpillars, which help keep garden pests under control.

9. Elm Sawfly

Elm sawflies (Cimbex americanus) are a type of fly found in South Carolina and across much of the United States. They get their name because they typically feed on elm tree leaves.

Although they don’t cause significant damage to the tree, their presence can be annoying as they consume large amounts of foliage.

These sawflies are black or dark gray in color with white stripes and measure around 3/8 inch long.

As larvae, they are often covered with white and yellow stripes and resemble tiny caterpillars.

They feed on foliage by scraping off the tissue from the leaf’s surface, leaving behind large patches of destroyed foliage.

Since these sawflies do not cause significant damage to the tree, there is no need for special treatments to control them.

If necessary, insecticidal soaps or other insecticides can be used, although this should be done with caution.

Hand-picking of larvae can also be an effective means of eliminating them if they become abundant in a specific area.

10. Eastern-Tailed Blue Butterfly

The Eastern-tailed Blue Butterfly (Cupido comyntas) is a species of lycaenid butterfly found in the southeastern United States.

They are commonly seen in South Carolina and one of the state’s most common butterflies.

Compared to other types of flies in South Carolina, it is easy to identify these butterflies due to their distinctive blue color and white spots on their wings. 

This butterfly species prefers open habitats such as grasslands and fields but can also be found in forests, parks, gardens, and residential areas.

The larvae of the Eastern-tailed Blue Butterfly feed on different legumes, including clover, vetch, and alfalfa. Adult butterflies feed on flower nectar and often visit flowers in yards and gardens.

The Eastern-tailed Blue Butterfly is an important pollinator for many plants and provides a great resource for natural habitats in South Carolina.

11. Eastern Phantom Crane Fly

The Eastern Phantom Crane Fly (Bittacomorpha clavipes) is a type of fly found in South Carolina. This fly is known for its long slender body and long wings that have black and white stripes.

These flies prefer to live in moist, wooded areas and can often be seen near streams, swamps, and ponds. 

They are known to feed on nectar and the larvae of other insects. They can often be found near flowers or grasses as they search for food.

The Eastern Phantom Crane Fly is a beneficial insect because they help control the population of other pests such as mosquitoes, aphids, and leafhoppers. 

Meanwhile, they are one of the types of flies in South Carolina, are also important pollinators, and can help increase crop yields.

These flies do not cause any harm to humans and can be beneficial in the garden if you let them stay around.

12. Dogwood Sawfly

The Dogwood Sawfly (Macremphytus tarsatusis) is a type of fly found in South Carolina. The fly’s body is black with gray or yellow markings, and its wings are transparent.

It can reach up to 12 millimeters in length. This type of fly is an agricultural pest, as it attacks crops like corn and tobacco. 

These types of flies in South Carolina also have been known to damage ornamental plants like azaleas and dogwood.

The larvae of the Dogwood Sawfly are small, green worms that feed on the foliage of the plants they inhabit.

They can be controlled by applying insecticides or handpicking the larvae off the plants.

13. Dobsonfly

Dobsonflies (Corydalus cornutus) are a large and impressive insect found in South Carolina.

These creatures typically have three to four inches wingspan and are easily identified by their large mandibles.

Dobsonflies are often seen near streams, ponds, and other water sources, where they hunt for food.

They are wild flies in South Carolina that usually feed on small invertebrates such as mosquitoes, midges, and mayflies.

The males of the species are particularly aggressive and will fight with each other over territories and mates.

In terms of their physical characteristics, Dobsonflies are known for their long tails and leathery wings.

They come in various colors, including browns, grays, and black, and their bodies are covered with small hairs. 

While the males are more colorful than the females, both sexes possess large mandibles that can be used to defend themselves against predators.

In South Carolina, Dobsonflies typically emerge during late summer and early fall. During this time, they can be seen flying around their preferred habitats in search of food.

Although these are types of flies in South Carolina that are not considered to be a threat to humans, they can bite if handled carelessly.

As such, it is best to admire these creatures from a distance and leave them to their own devices.

14. Diana Fritillary

The Diana Fritillary (Speyeria Diana) is a striking butterfly in South Carolina. The butterfly is deep black with orange markings on the wings and upper body.

This butterfly is typically found in woodlands and meadows and is usually seen during late spring and early summer. 

They are types of flies in South Carolina that have a fast flight pattern and can often be spotted flitting through meadows and fields.

The caterpillars of this species are also found in South Carolina, typically feeding on wildflowers. The adults feed on nectar from flowers and can be a colorful addition to any outdoor space. 

15. Common Drone Fly

The drone fly (Eristalis tenax) is a widespread fly on the continent that is excellent at imitating bees.

The stingless male bees are called drones, and they seem different from ordinary bees because of their huge eyes and distinctive banding on the abdomen. In those respects, the drone fly resembles the bee drone.

Although it is common to observe adults gleaning nectar from flowers, larvae prefer aquatic habitats, particularly foul-smelling, stagnant water.

The maggot develops a breathing tube from its back and breathes through it while the remainder of the larva stays below the water’s surface. They belong to the group of hoverflies called Rat-tailed Maggots. 

It is one of the types of flies in South Carolina that can feed on decomposing aquatic debris thanks to its tube.

Adults may be found close to established landmarks, puddles, ditches, or other wet areas that could act as a nursery

16. African Fig Fly

The African Fig Fly (Zaprionus indianus) is one of the many types of flies in South Carolina. This species is a small, dark-colored fly with distinctive yellow markings on its head and thorax.

It is commonly found around fruit trees, as its larvae feed on ripe figs. Adult flies are attracted to light sources and are active during the day.

They can fly long distances in search of food and suitable habitats, making them a widespread pest for home gardeners.

These flies have been known to transmit disease pathogens to humans, such as those that cause diarrheal illnesses. 

This is why taking precautions when handling or consuming fruit from trees with African Fig Fly infestations is essential.

To help control this pest, gardeners should use insecticide sprays and apply cultural practices. These include removing overripe fruit from trees or using sticky traps near infested trees.

17. American Bluet Damselfly

The American Bluet Damselfly (Enallagma spp.) is a tiny, brightly colored insect found throughout South Carolina.

This damselfly species is found in various habitats, including ponds, swamps, marshes, and rivers.

The adults have a wingspan of up to 2 inches and can be seen flying around their breeding sites, typically from April through October. 

The larvae are bottom-dwellers and feed on small invertebrates and algae in the water. Bluet Damselflies prefer still or slow-moving bodies of water and are often seen perching on plants and rocks near the water’s surface.

These damselflies are an important part of South Carolina’s aquatic ecosystems, helping keep the food chain balanced by preying on insects that could otherwise damage vegetation.

Bluet Damselflies, which are types of flies in South Carolina, also provide food for fish, amphibians, and birds. In turn, their larvae provide nutrition for various other aquatic life.

Conservation efforts to protect this species should focus on preserving healthy wetlands and waterways in South Carolina. 

18. American HoverFly

The American HoverFly, also known as Eupeodes spp., is also on this list of the types of flies in South Carolina.

This type of fly has an unmistakable yellow and black coloration, with a distinct white line running along the abdomen.

The American HoverFly feeds primarily on flowers, pollen, and nectar, often hovering around gardens and meadows. 

This species is not considered a nuisance, but it can sometimes be found in large numbers in residential areas, where it can become a nuisance.

These flies are beneficial to the environment as they help pollinate plants and aid in spreading beneficial fungi.

They are also important predators of various pests, such as aphids, thrips, and caterpillars. 

While they are not typically considered problem insects, they can become pests if too numerous. If this happens, various strategies can be used to reduce their numbers and control them.

19. American Lady Butterfly

The America Lady Butterfly (Vanessa virginiensis) is one of the most common butterflies of the types of flies in South Carolina.

This butterfly species is easily recognizable due to its bright orange wings dotted with black spots. They can often be found fluttering around fields and gardens in search of nectar. 

These butterflies usually lay their eggs on various plant species, such as the thistle and nettles, which serve as food for the caterpillars once they hatch.

The American Lady Butterfly is not only a beautiful insect, but it also plays an important role in the ecosystem. 

They are pollinators, meaning they help spread pollen from flower to flower, which is essential for the reproduction of plants.

Also, they serve as a food source for other animals, such as birds, frogs, and lizards. All in all, this butterfly is an integral part of the South Carolina ecosystem.

20. American Salmonfly

The American Salmonfly (Pteronarcys californica) is a fly native to the Southern United States, including South Carolina.

This fly species is characterized by its large size and distinctive yellow-and-black coloration.

The American salmon fly feeds on various aquatic invertebrates, making it an essential part of the food chain. 

In addition, these fly species are known to play an essential role in pollination. In South Carolina, the American Salmonfly can be found in most freshwater bodies such as streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes.

This species is often seen during the warmer months when it actively seeks food sources and pollutes flowers. 

The American Salmonfly also makes its presence known through its loud buzzing noise.

Although these particular types of flies in South Carolina are not dangerous to humans, they can be pretty annoying when they invade your space.

21. American Snout Butterfly

The American Snout Butterfly (Libytheana carinenta) is a member of the Nymphalidae family of butterflies and is found throughout much of North and South Carolina.

This species is also known as the “Buckeye” due to its prominent eyespots. The American Snout Butterfly typically has a wingspan of about 1.5 to 2.75 inches and is usually a light brown or tan color with orange and white markings. 

Its most recognizable feature is its long ‘snout-like’ proboscis which helps it feed on flowers and other nectar sources.

In South Carolina, the American Snout Butterfly can be found in rural and urban habitats, typically in areas with plenty of wildflowers, such as meadows, fields, gardens, and parks. 

They can often be seen fluttering around in large numbers during the summer months as they search for nectar sources.

This butterfly species is also a migratory species, so they can often be seen traveling in large groups during their migration periods in the late summer and fall months.

22. Aphrodite Fritillary Butterfly

The Aphrodite Fritillary Butterfly (Speyeria aphrodite) is native to North America, particularly South Carolina.

These colorful creatures have a wingspan of 2.5-4 inches, and their wings are predominantly brown with a creamy orange coloration around the edges.

The body is black with yellow spots, and the antennae are black with white tips. 

It is not unusual to see these butterflies in gardens or wooded areas where they feed on nectar and pollen. They are active during the day and can be seen flitting from flower to flower.

The Aphrodite Fritillary butterfly can be found throughout South Carolina near streams and rivers or in open meadows and fields. 

While these flies in South Carolina may be seen flying around in large numbers during the spring and summer, they usually spend the winter in the southern portion of the state.

They are an important pollinator species and are essential for the health of many plants in South Carolina’s ecosystems.

23. Atlantis Fritillary Butterfly

The Atlantis Fritillary Butterfly (Speyeria atlantis) is a butterfly found in the Southeastern United States, including South Carolina.

It is considered a moderately common species and one of the region’s most colorful butterflies.

The adult butterfly has an orange-brown upper wing with large spots of yellow and orange-red in the center and a deep orange color in the marginal area of the hindwing. 

These butterflies are usually seen during the late spring and early summer months and are often found along roadside edges and in disturbed areas.

The larvae of the Atlantis Fritillary Butterfly feed on various host plants, such as wild violets and plantains. The adults feed on the nectar of various flowers, including aster, thistle, and clover. 

This species on the list of the different types of flies in South Carolina is essential for its role in pollinating wildflowers.

The presence of the Atlantis Fritillary Butterfly can indicate healthy, diverse habitats in South Carolina.

24. Bee Fly

The bee fly (Systoechus vulgaris) is a fly commonly found in South Carolina and across the United States.

These tiny flies measure just 3-6 millimeters in length and have a unique appearance, with a long proboscis and short antennae.

The bee fly is one of the most important pollinators of flowers and other plants in the region, helping to keep ecosystems healthy and productive.

The bee fly is also known as a flower or hoverfly due to its habit of hovering around flowers to feed on the nectar.

While the bee fly may not look like a bee, it does provide similar pollination services as a bee, helping to spread pollen from flower to flower.

It is also essential for controlling insect populations in the area and feeding on other insects, such as caterpillars, aphids, and beetle larvae.

25. Black Blow Fly

The black blow fly (Phormia regina) is a species found in South Carolina and is one of the most common types of fly found in the area.

These flies are usually seen around animal carcasses and, as such, can be considered an important scavenger species.

They are typically about a centimeter in length and can vary in color from light gray to dark brown or black. 

Further, the larvae of the black blow fly feed on the decomposing matter, which helps to keep the environment clean.

The black blow fly is also known to help spread disease, as it can act as a carrier for various diseases and parasites.

In addition, they can be a nuisance to humans as they are attracted to our food and waste materials.

As such, it is important to practice good hygiene when dealing with these flies in South Carolina.

By keeping food covered, disposing of waste properly, and using insect repellent, one can help to keep these flies away.

26. Black Firefly

The Black Firefly (Lucidota atra) is a species of beetle that can be found in South Carolina. They are typically black or dark brown and are about 5-8 millimeters long.

They are most commonly seen during the summer months. These insects have large eyes and emit bright yellowish light during flight, which is how they got their name.

The Black Firefly is an integral part of the South Carolina ecosystem, as it helps to control populations of other insects, such as aphids.

These beetles also provide food for other animals, such as birds, bats, and frogs. 

Meanwhile, the presence of these beetles is a sign of a healthy environment, as they need healthy vegetation and soil to survive.

If you want to know the various types of flies in South Carolina, here’s a good one to study.

27. Black-Horned Gem Fly

Next on our list of numerous types of flies in South Carolina is the Black-horned Gem Fly (Microchrysa polita), an insect native to the area.

This fly is typically found in meadows, gardens, and fields and feeds on pollen and nectar from flowers.

It can be identified by its black body, white head and wings, and two long horns on the thorax. 

The Black-horned Gem Fly is a widespread species among entomologists, as it is the only one in its family with two distinctive horns on the thorax.

The Black-horned Gem Fly is often mistaken for other species due to its similarities with other members of its family.

However, the Black-horned Gem Fly is easily distinguishable by its black coloration and the two long horns on the thorax. 

The adult fly usually has a wingspan of 10–13 millimeters, while the larvae are 1–2 millimeters long.

The Black-horned Gem Fly plays an important role in South Carolina’s ecosystem by providing pollination services to many plants.

This species is also beneficial to humans, as it helps to control the populations of pests such as aphids and moths. 

Overall, the Black-horned Gem Fly is an important insect species in South Carolina and should be protected for its ecological and economic benefits.

This list of types of flies in South Carolina is not complete without the black-horned gem fly.

28. Black-Tailed Bee Fly

The Black-tailed Bee Fly, also known as Bombylius major, is a bee fly found in South Carolina.

These flies are typically found in the spring and summer months, feeding on nectar and pollen from flowers.

They are black with a pale yellow stripe running down their back and a yellow tuft at the end of their abdomen. They are considered a beneficial species because they help pollinate flowers.

The larvae of the Black-tailed Bee Fly feed on small insects and can be found in the soil around plants.

The adult flies are strong fliers and can often be seen hovering near flowers in search of food.

These bee flies do not sting or bite humans, so they can be safely enjoyed by anyone in the South Carolina area looking for something interesting to observe in nature.

29. Blue Blow Fly

The Blue Blow Fly is last on this list of the types of flies in South Carolina. These flies are usually dark blue to black, and their abdomens have a metallic sheen.

These insects are considered beneficial as they help to decompose dead organic matter and provide food for other animals. 

The Blue Blow Fly has short antennae and two wings, roughly 1/8 of an inch in length. They can be found near garbage and decaying vegetation, as well as in the presence of livestock and other animals.

The Blue Blow Fly is often mistaken for house flies, though it is much smaller and more colorful. 

While these flies do not pose a significant health threat, they can spread bacteria and viruses if they come into contact with humans or animals.

It is essential to keep any food sources covered and to clean up any potential breeding grounds.

Additionally, it is a good idea to use insecticides to keep these flies away from your home or garden.


South Carolina is home to various fly species, from the common housefly to the more exotic species.

While some may think of flies as pesky pests, they play an essential role in the environment by helping to break down organic matter and serve as a food source for other wildlife.

Above, we took a closer look at the different types of flies in South Carolina and their roles in the local ecosystem.

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