27 Different Types of Flies in Wisconsin

Different Types of Flies in Wisconsin
Photo by Erik Karits

If you live in Wisconsin, you will know that flies can be a nuisance. There are many types of flies in Wisconsin, including house flies, stable flies, and fruit flies.

They come in swarms and can cause a variety of problems. But don’t worry; there are ways to get rid of them.

In our blog post, we’ll discuss the different types of flies in Wisconsin and how to get rid of them once and for all.

Let’s get started!

1. Yellow Jacket Fly

The Yellow Jacket Fly(Spilomyia longicornis ), being the first on our list, lacks a stinger. Still, the traditional bee colors and the striped pattern on its abdomen give the impression that it does.

The Yellowjacket Fly has wide eyes that are likewise yellow and black with little dots arranged in a striped pattern. 

These types of flies in Wisconsin can be distinguished from a bee or wasp, thanks to their small antennae.

Their black front legs can occasionally extend forward, giving the impression that their antennae are longer, which can be confusing.

The black thorax of yellowjacket flies is also marked with a yellow-shaped mark. This non-harmful fly visits asters, goldenrod, and other blooming in natural and manicured gardens, where it can be seen sipping nectar. It operates from early spring through late summer.

2. Scorpionfly

Scorpionfly(Panorpa Spp) is also on our list of types of flies in Wisconsin. A male Scorpionfly’s curled “tail” has a protrusion that resembles a stinger at the tip. 

Although the relationship is only aesthetic and not practical, its resemblance to scorpion tails is what gave rise to their common moniker.

The male’s reproductive organ is located at the protruding end of his “tail.” The insect cannot sting with it because it is not a stinger. 

After pursuing a willing female with an acceptable gift of food and enticing her with his pheromone, it is employed during mating to fertilize eggs inside of her. The hump at the tip of the abdomen is absent in females. 

The wings have dark bands and markings on them, and both sexes are brown with large beaks.

The female types of flies in Wisconsin deposit fertilized eggs either in the soil or inside decaying wood. The larvae consume any dead insects they come across and resemble caterpillars. 

They undergo a full metamorphosis to develop into winged adults. While some overwinter as pups, others do so as adults.

Adult types of flies in Wisconsin consumed both alive and dead insects as food, occasionally sipping from flowers. In wetlands, woods, and forests, look for them resting on flowers and near the ground.

3. Robber Fly

Robber fly (Laphria Grossa) is next on our list of types of flies in Wisconsin, a good substitute for a typical bumble bee. The locations of the black and yellow color bands are comparable. 

The amount of yellow on the body may vary by place, but yellow hairs are present on the face, thorax, upper legs, and upper abdomen.

The antennae are short, as may be seen by a cursory glance; bees have longer, elbowed, or bent antennae. When the brown wings pass over people, they buzz audibly because they flap quickly.

Robber types of flies in Wisconsin plunder the air for their food. They frequently take a nap on a tree branch, fence post, or other perch as they wait for flying insects. The Robber Fly can ambush and grab insects in flight thanks to its speed.

4. Red Admiral Butterfly

Red Admirals (Vanessa Atalanta) types of flies in Wisconsin are easily recognized and are difficult to overlook because of their size, striking color, and pattern.

The vivid crimson line that runs across the underside of the black forewing is where the “red” in its name originates from. 

With white patches close to the wing tips, the wing’s top surface is orange and black. It is available all year long in warmer states and Mexico but only during the summer in the north.

During their stay in the north, these migrants can have one or two broods. The harsh winters exterminate any survivors. In warm climates, adults hibernate all winter.

The following year, large numbers, particularly in the eastern half of the continent, travel north once more, allowing the species to

5. Question Mark Butterfly

The Question Mark(Polygonia interrogationis) hindwings are primarily black, with orange and black tips. Dark brown and gray make up the underside of the wings, which is a very contrasting color. 

Observing the Question Mark with its wings up and down could give the impression that it is two distinct butterflies.

Its wings’ edges are gracefully carved with flowing curves. The tips of the hindwings bear short tails. 

On the underside of the forewings, a small, unfinished white question mark can be seen, but the curve and dot are distinct.

Depending on their level of maturation, their bodies have a mixture of orange, red, black, and white speckles. 

All caterpillars are covered with spikes that have a vicious appearance and branch out amid other spikes. They appear to be barrel cactus spines.

6. Picture-winged Fly

One of Wisconsin’s most prevalent Picture-winged(Delphinia picta) types of flies is also in central and eastern North America.

The majority of its wings are black. However, they are covered in solid white dots and stripes. 

In contrast, the body is a paler shade of brown or flesh. It has pinky-rose-colored eyes. A female’s ovipositor, which resembles a syringe, is used to lay hundreds of fertilized eggs. 

The eggs are laid in rotten fruit, vegetable, or floral debris. Eggs hatch after a week, and the larvae (maggots) eat the remaining plant materials around them.

Even though most larvae pupate and become adults within the same year, some late-season larvae can overwinter in deeper earth and finish developing the following spring.

7. Pearl Crescent Butterfly

Although Pearl Crescent butterfly (Phyciodes tharos)species frequently vary in color, they always seem to adhere to the same orange and brown color scheme with black patterns.

The little white crescent mark is visible when the butterfly’s wings are raised. 

This symbol stands out because dark brown patches almost entirely encircle it. Each black and white banded antennae has an orange ball or club at the end. 

The Pearl Crescent is widespread and well-known in eastern North America, although it is also present there.

Larvae consume asters. The brown caterpillar has a lot of spiky hair and yellow rings all around it. 

Adult types of flies in Wisconsin are typically visible in fields, along roadways, clearings in the woods, close to streams or creeks, and in gardens and backyards.

When in flight, they glide and flap their wings alternately. They fly close to the ground.

8. Northern Crescent Butterfly

Many butterflies have similar hues and characteristics, but occasionally the Northern crescent butterfly (Phyciodes coctya) and Pearl Crescent are identical.

While most Pearl Crescents have significantly more black than a standard Northern Crescent. 

Some, especially older, fading Pearls, make it impossible to distinguish between the two species. Some researchers contend that they might not even be different species. 

The photographs shown for this post may be Pearl Crescents because some people’s likenesses are so close. The Northern Crescent is typically more orange than its relatives.

9. Mourning Cloak Butterfly

Like all of its Brush-Footed relatives, the Mourning Cloak Butterfly (Nymphalis anitopa) has relatively small front legs. It is coated with short hairs that resemble hair brush bristles. 

The wings are almost entirely covered in the prevailing black hue, yet a sharp yellow edge creates a stunning contrast. Young butterflies easily identify the blue spots above this yellow margin.

Adult types of flies in Wisconsin are most active in the spring, summer, and occasionally the fall (if a second generation is born in that year).

One of the few species that hibernates during the winter is this one. As a result, it ranks among Wisconsin’s first types of flies to emerge in the spring.

It favors sunny locations close to flowing water. Willows are the primary food source for the Mourning Cloak Butterfly caterpillar. 

Its body is covered in many black bristle clusters and is almost entirely black. The body is covered in tiny white and red dots.

The caterpillar also consumes the leaves of poplar, elm, cottonwood, and birch trees.

10. Mydas Fly

Some of the biggest flies in North America belong to this family. The Mydidae family includes species that can grow up to 60mm in length (2 inches). 

Despite occasionally being mistaken for wasps, large black Mydas (Mydas clavatus) types of flies in Wisconsin are harmless.

When resting, the large, light-glinting purple-black wings are frequently folded over one another.

Mydas fly females deposit fertilized eggs underground. In woodlands, larvae can be found close to decaying and dead wood.

Young consume various in-the-dirt insects and grubs, including chubby June Bug larvae.

This type of fly is considered advantageous since it eliminates hazards to plant health and yields thanks to the predatory diet of larvae.

Mydas types of flies in Wisconsin larvae eventually pupate in tiny chambers they make in the soil and become winged adults.

Adult types of flies in Wisconsin can be found almost anywhere (parks, gardens, meadows, open lots, forests, etc.). 

They may also consume nectar and eat various other insects, caterpillars, and flies. Though it may not appear so at first, they are excellent flyers.

They often appear a little awkward when flying. The summer is when they are most active.

11. Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly

Both gardens and the margins of forests are home to this butterfly species. However, its coloring is similar to that of the Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly and the Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio Troilus). 

These types of flies in Wisconsin have two rows of orange spots on the underside of the hindwings (visible when the wings are closed) as opposed to the Pipevine’s single row.

Fortunately, the Pipevine Swallowtail is an unpleasant meal for birds, arachnids, and other insects. 

Therefore the Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly has some protection from predators thanks to its similarity in appearance.

The wings of the Spicebush Swallowtail are generally tinted green. Like all Swallowtails, it also has elongated “tails” at the tips of the hind wings.

When the wings are spread flat, the base of the hindwings of females has a blue stripe that is apparent.

Instead of a blue band, males have a greenish-white one. Although its distribution extends as far north as southern Ontario, it is most frequently observed in the warmer southern regions of the United States.

The spicebush plant, a shrub with a spicy lemon-like aroma that is best savored by crushing a few leaves in your hand, is connected with it.

12. Repetitive Tachinid Fly

Many people might not realize how crucial flies are to ecology. Despite their strange look, hairy tiny Tachinid flies are crucial biological controllers.

Each species serves as a parasitoid for a specific kind of moth. Because their caterpillars have such ravenous appetites, moths can harm plants.

An insect like the Repetitive Tachinid Fly(Peleteria iterans) helps control the population of caterpillars, protecting plants that produce food.

This black fly with orange wings has spiky hairs that cross its body and surround the sides and back. 

A row of black dots forms along the center of its body. Black makes up the face, head, legs, and wings.

Female types of flies in Wisconsin place a fertilized egg on or in front of a moth caterpillar, which eats the egg after it has been laid. 

The fly larva, also known as a maggot, emerges from the egg and begins to devour the caterpillar from the inside out until it dies.

As a result, the fly larva is a parasitoid, unlike a parasite, which kills its current host before moving on to another. 

Adult types of flies in Wisconsin consume flower nectar, particularly that of asters and plants related to them.

They can be found in various environments, including woods, open fields, marshes, beaches, meadows, parks, and forests. They are most active in the summer and into the fall.

13. Long-legged Fly

Long-legged Flies(Condylostylus Spp) are predators of smaller plant insects like mites and aphids and are frequently seen darting from leaf to leaf on a plant.

They have long legs that resemble mosquitoes more than they do brilliant, metallic colors that are vivid and bright. 

The wings of this genus have smoky, black patterns. Males have tufts of fur on their feet, most noticeable when they dance in courting. 

It is necessary to act in a refined manner to appeal to women. Larvae may eat rotting plant debris or the larvae of other insects. The life history and diet of this species still warrant further study.

14. Giant Eastern Crane Fly

The giant eastern crane fly( Pedicia albivitta) is next on our list of types of flies in Wisconsin. Although crane flies resemble enormous mosquitoes, they are not. This fly neither bites nor stings. 

Due to misidentification and misunderstanding, its size and resemblance to the little, annoying, blood-sucking mosquito frequently result in its death.

It frequently rests on window screens, plant branches, or tree trunks. Long wings can extend to 80 mm (over 3 inches).

Although transparent, the wings are patterned with dark bands resembling triangles. Triangular dark-brown streaks go along the top side of the lengthy abdomen.

Although it should have six legs, it is typical to see one with fewer due to how fragile they are. Legs are easily amputated and do not regrow.

Giant Eastern Crane types of flies in Wisconsin larvae are known as maggots, much like all other fly larvae. 

The worm-like maggot remains buried in moist soil close to creek and stream banks.

The maggot may consume debris and decomposing plant matter as food. Winged adults spend their time trying to reproduce after emerging as pups. 

They are reputedly omnivorous. Pay attention to them in forests and woodlands, especially at night. Twice a year, in the spring and the fall, are the times when activity is at its peak.

15. Dogwood Sawfly

The antennal tips of the Dogwood Sawfly (Macremphytus tarsatus) black body are where you may most easily see some little white patterns. Despite being a form of a wasp, sawflies do not sting. 

The females use an accessory with teeth resembling a saw blade to make slits in stems or twigs where they place their eggs.

This sawfly’s larva resembles a caterpillar quite a bit. It consumes dogwood tree leaves, eating like a caterpillar. 

The immature larva has a yellow belly and is white overall. It appears to have white lint or fluff covering its entire body.

The powdered coating covers the dark skull. The fuzz fades with age, but the smooth body keeps its yellow belly. 

However, the top of the caterpillar grows black squares divided by a thin white line. It is sometimes observed with its siblings, coiled up in a little pile on a leaf.

On dogwood leaves, where they gnaw from the margins inward, keep an eye out for these non-caterpillar larvae.

16. Feather-legged Fly

Feather-legged Fly(Trichopoda lanipes) larvae are little flies that hatch from other insects as hosts.

Plant bugs’ females lay eggs. When the juvenile maggot hatches, it takes on the shape of a stink, leaf-footed, or squash bug and begins to eat the host organism from the inside out, eventually killing it. 

A gardener may view the presence of a Feather-legged Fly as advantageous because Stink and Squash Bugs attack produce. In this genus, male and female flies have diverse appearances. 

Females types of flies in Wisconsin are entirely black, whereas males typically have orange abdomens.

The back legs of both sexes have long, black hairs that have the appearance of being feathery. 

Some species’ dark, iridescent wings contain white veins that extend from the body. They all have large, round eyes and short antennae, which are traits of flies.

Despite being widespread across the continent, several species of feathered flies are local.

As the females search for a suitable host, look for them among vegetable plants. Adults go to flowers as well to get nectar

17. Giant Stonefly

Giant Stoneflies(Pteronarcys species) have long, narrow bodies and distinctive, heavily veined wings.

When folded at repose, these extraordinarily long wings pass over the body, covering the entire body of the Stonefly and even reaching beyond it. 

On either side of the head are their eyes. The long, slender antennae of giant stoneflies stick out in front of their eyes.

The appearance of bodies can be gray, brown, or black. On or around the neck collar, an orange or red hue may be present (thorax).

Young Giant types of flies in Wisconsin spend their early years in water, where eggs are laid, and hatching occurs.

Naiads are the offspring, and these young animals are extremely vulnerable to pollution, rapidly dying off in dirty waterways.

18. Giant Swallowtail Butterfly

In North America, this species of butterfly is the biggest. When it comes to butterflies, the Giant Swallowtail ( Papilio cresphontes) is gigantic.

Seeing one might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 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.

The center of the wing has a rusty red spot. At the inner margin of each hindwing is an orange and blue eyespot.

Each hindwing of the Giant Swallowtail bears an extension, or tail, like those of all Swallowtails. It has a little yellow oval at the tip and is made of black.

19. Compton Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Unlike their close relatives, the Compton tortoiseshell butterflies (Nymphalis l-album) have jagged wing margins that are softer and less harsh.

They may all be distinguished by carefully examining the topside design; however, the undersides are considerably more similar. 

The phrase “tortoiseshell” refers to a vague pattern of dark, mottled colors that are also present on tortoises.

On the tips of the wings of the Compton Tortoiseshell, there are numerous black, yellow, and red-orange spots. 

Near the wing tips and on the top, outside the hindwings are white, rectangular markings. A golden border surrounds the underside of the hindwings. 

The wings’ undersides are tan and brown and patterned with striations. Darker than the edges is the area close to the head and body.

The lines are wavy, and some of the sharp edges are mirrored in them. The hindwing may have a very tiny white spot that resembles a comma.

Caterpillars consume a variety of deciduous trees, including willow, birch, and aspen.

Although it can occasionally move into the northern United States during the year, this species of tortoiseshell is primarily found in the southern provinces of Canada and New England.

Look for it where host trees are present in wooded regions.

20. Coral Hairstreak Butterfly

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

Other hairstreak species have coral in the same location, but the spots on this species are distinct, vivid, and bold. 

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 are banded in black and white.

Adult coral hairstreak butterflies(Satyrium Titus) 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 drink nectar from various flowering plants, including dogbane and butterfly weed.

This species is present in the southern Canadian provinces and has a wide range in the United States. Look for adults in bushes, chaparral, scrub, and wooded places.

21. Rabbit Bot Fly

Rabbit bot fly(Cuterebra buccata is next on our list of types of flies in Wisconsin. No one gets bitten by the Rabbit Bot Fly. It doesn’t hurt. 

The fly is large for its species and is black, white, and gray. It has huge, black eyes with a crimson stripe in the middle that can be seen occasionally.

The bottom half of the face is white with black dots, and the top portion of the face is black with white dots. 

Adult types of flies in Wisconsin are rarely seen because they do not feed and only concentrate on reproduction. The species’ larval form, or maggot, receives all the attention.

Since Rabbit Bot Fly eggs can contact any mammal, it is possible to find warbles on domestic pets and small animals like squirrels and rodents.

22. Northern Caddisfly

Despite their similarity to moths, northern caddisflies(Pycnopsyche Spp) are unrelated to them.

The life cycle of a caddisfly is more like that of a dragonfly. Female caddisflies lay fertilized eggs immediately in the water or on vegetation above the water line.

Great ecosystems include creeks, streams, lagoons, ponds, and lakes. 

When the eggs hatch, the worm-like larvae dwell underwater for up to a year. They can breathe thanks to their feathery gills.

When it’s time to pupate, they construct tiny cases or “homes” for themselves that they carry around wherever they go. They consume aquatic insects and submerged plant matter in the interim.

23. Meadow Fritillary Butterfly

The Meadow Fritillary(Boloria Bellona) does not travel to the drier south of North America as most butterflies do.

Its range includes Canada and the American states north of the Deep South and Southwest. 

This species has different color variations: some are orange-yellow, while others are more burned orange.

On each of them, the pattern is the same. The wings of each are covered in a plethora of dots and circles and are usually laid flat at rest.

Each year, three generations can be created. Caterpillars have spines and a dark purple color. They consume violets.

Since its larval host plant grows in woodland margins and gardens, adults are active throughout the summer.

24. Green and Black Soldier Fly

Despite the Green and Black Soldier (Pselliopus hieroglyphics) types of flies in Wisconsin having an amazing resemblance to a bee, its short antennae, spherical eyes, and absence of a stinger help distinguish it from bees.

It’s unusual to see a black body with green stripes, so it’ll probably draw attention when one does appear.

Moist, wet, or damp environments are home to soldier flies. Accordingly, habitats can be as natural as an old forest with decaying leaf litter or as purely man-made as a waste-water treatment facility. 

The soldier fly larvae is an extraordinary consumer of rotting and decomposing organic substances.

This diet includes algae, decomposing leaves and logs, rotting fruit, and animal excrement.

25. Virginia Flower Fly

Virginia flower fly (Milesia Virginiensis) is one of those types of flies in Wisconsin and mimics bees, wasps, and hornets. The black and yellow striping prevents wary predators from attacking. 

Predators still have another compelling reason to avoid this species because it flies like a Yellowjacket and is known for its aggressive defense (and offensive) stinging behavior.

The Virginia Flower Fly can hover like a wasp over petals. However, because it is a fly, it is harmless to humans and does not sting.

It’s typical for flies to create a loud buzzing noise when they fly. It seems broken because of its exceptionally flat abdomen, which can bend downward.

There are several different settings where adult Virginia Flower types of flies in Wisconsin can be found, including parks, backyard gardens, meadows, and forests.

During the summer, adults are most active and can be seen near flowers or relaxing on low bushes and plants.

In rotting wood, larvae (maggots) will most likely be discovered where they will feed until they mature into flying adults.

26. Woodrat Botfly

Oestridae is a family of flies that includes woodrat bot flies(Cuterebra Americana). These enormous bee imitators neither sting nor bite.

However, this species parasitizes hapless pets as well as small woodland creatures. Around the edge of a rodent or rabbit’s den or hole, the female fly lays fertilized eggs. 

When the mouse passes by and sniffs around, it picks up an egg in its mouth or nose. The egg goes to the animal’s exterior body, beneath the skin, and now it is within.

The most frequent landing spots are the stomach, legs, and back. There, the egg grows, and the animal develops a swelling that resembles a tumor. A warble is the name of this growth.

27. Moth Flies

Lastly, on our list, Moth flies, often known as “drain flies” or “filter flies,” are a rare problem in houses, most frequently found in and near sink and bathtub drains.

The adult types of flies in Wisconsin are tiny (2 mm) flies that frequently have a grayish appearance and superficially resemble tiny moths. 

The larvae grow by feeding on the bacterial gel that frequently coats the plumbing interior, which is always damp.

Moth flies may also breed in moist filters in swamp coolers, fish tanks, and other similar structures. 

Where there is an issue with faulty or leaking drain pipes, the flies can breed in large numbers. Moth flies can reproduce in various places outside, and outdoor lights may draw them there.


Wisconsin is home to a variety of different fly species. While some of these types of flies in Wisconsin are harmless, others can be quite a nuisance.

Knowing what types of flies are present in Wisconsin and how to eliminate them can help keep your home and outdoor areas pest-free.

Our blog post has helped you discuss the various types of flies in Wisconsin and provided helpful tips on how to get rid of them.

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