What Are Robber Flies & Its Infestation (2023)

What Are Robber Flies?

The robber flies are also known as assassin flies (isn’t the name scary?). These flies have a powerful build and are extremely bristly. They are pretty short and have a sharp hypopharynx. The robber flies have aggressive nature, especially when it comes down to their predatory habits. They are highly likely to feed on other insects and will wait in the ambush and catch the prey during flight. The robber flies have spiny legs, stout, and three eyes stuck on top of their head.

In addition, they have a dense mustache on their face, which is particularly called mystax. The mustache, as we quote, is meant to protect the face and head whenever the fly is struggling with the prey. They have the capacity of attacking an array of prey, such as butterflies, beetles, flies, damselflies, dragonflies, ants, bees, spiders, grasshoppers, wasps, and moths. When they are attacked, they won’t hold back from defending themselves from the probs. 

For the same reason, they will bite people who handle them inappropriately. They have shorter antennae and three segments and also have a bristly structure, known as an arista. They are often confused with therevidae family, but their overall characteristics are very different. As far as stabbing is concerned, the robber flies will attack the pretty by stabbing them with strong and short probs and also injecting them with saliva. The saliva has proteolytic and neurotoxic enzymes that can paralyze the attackers. 

Robber Flies

Get to Know Robber Flies: Egg Laying & Life Cycle

Some of these flies also have tapering and long abdomens, while some of them look like bumblebees. On the other hand, the females are likely to deposit the whitish eggs on grass and low-lying plants. In addition, they are likely to lay eggs in the crevices of wood, bark, and soil. The habits related to egg-laying will largely depend on the species as well as their habitat. However, the majority of them will lay the eggs in larger quantities, which also have a protective coating – it will be chalky. 

Once hatched, the larvae of robber flies will live in leaf mold, soil, and rotting wood. In addition, these larvae have predacious nature, which means that they can feed on the soft-body infects. As far as the pupation is concerned, it happens in the soil, and it will emerge as an adult, leaving behind the pupal casing. As for the full-range development, it ranges from one year to three years, respective to the environmental conditions and species. 

Why Do Robber Flies Cluster Up In Your Home?

The robber flies tend to enter the pupal stage when they get mature, and within one to two weeks, they get out from the pupal phase. For the most part, this process happens during the summer or spring season, and when the fall season comes on, these flies will start heading indoors because they are in search of shelter during the harsh winter season. For this reason, they are seen inside the homes and will be throughout the winter season. In addition, they are highly likely to group whenever they settle in your home. 

Truth be told, the robber flies are larger as compared to other house flies, but that doesn’t stop them from getting into your home through small crevices and cracks. When they reach inside your home, they will stay in unused or untouched areas, such as the attic, because it creates the right environment for them to hibernate. As far as the warm climates are concerned, they become active and will be seen moving around the home. 

How To Get Rid Of Robber Flies?

When it comes down to the gardens, the presence of robber flies is not problematic at all, especially if there is a need for pest control. However, if you are simply annoyed by the presence of robber flies, you should target the larvae that are dwelling in the soil. In addition to this, they are highly likely to hide under surfaces that keep the soil moist or under the wood. Moreover, bacillus thuringiensis will have a better capacity of destroying the larvae but skimming the soil will result in vulnerability to other pests. 

The adult robber flies must not be sprayed with full-range or broad-spectrum pesticides because the pesticides will destroy the insects that are good for the insects. This is the prime reason why various gardeners let them go, even if they are attacking a few bees and butterflies. However, pest control is pretty extensive. Now that we have shared this information, let’s check the steps to ensure the robber flies are eradicated from your place, such as;

  • The first step is inspection, which is why you need to switch to a professional inspection. With the professional inspection, you will need to check out the spaces and look for the presence of robber flies. You can also locate the damages done by them 
  • The second step is implementing the control plan. With the control plan, you need to apply the short-spectrum insecticide or pesticide into the cracks and holes. As a result, when robber flies come in contact with the insecticide, they will lose their lives upon contract. Once they are dead, you can seal the holes, and you can also apply aerosol spray for controlling the flies 

Where Do Robber Flies Come From?

When it comes down to their availability and presence, robber flies are not very common. This is because the robber flies can exist only in the narrow band (yes, the weather band). Honestly, there are over 1000 species of robber fly in the U.S., but the majority of them will be seen in sunny areas. In addition, some of their species will also be seen in the forest edges, woodland settings, and grasslands. 

Will Robber Flies Sting Or Bite Me?

The robber flies are not termed pests. However, they are highly likely to bite humans when they are attacked. It is important to understand that flies don’t feed on blood and will only bite you if they are provoked. It is important to add that they can feed on other pests and insects, which makes them extremely beneficial. 

How Bad Is The Sting Of A Robber Fly?

Even if they bite occasionally, their bites are extremely painful. When they bite a human, they will inject saliva into their body which can paralyze the victim. 

Are Robber Flies Destructive?

The adult robber flies can be pretty aggressive, but they can attack grasshoppers, beetles, wasps, butterflies, dragonflies, and bees. They can bite if they are provoked but don’t carry any diseases. As far as the infrastructural damages are concerned, they won’t happen with flies. 

Do Robber Flies Get Attracted To Water?

No, the robber flies will not get attracted to water. However, they are attracted to sunflowers and zinnias. In addition, they will be attracted to oregano and thyme plants to offer space for hiding. 

How To Get Rid Of Robber Fly Bites?

If you have just been bitten by robber flies, you need to apply ice for over 15 minutes. This is because it helps reduce itching and swelling. Once the icing is done, you can apply topical steroids and make sure you wash the area with water and soap before applying some ointments. 

Why Is Robber Flies Bad?

The flies have pretty mixed feelings. This is because they can kill the bad pests in the garden. On the other hand, if they bite humans, it will be a painful bite. For this reason, if they are in the garden, they are fine, but you need to opt for professional robber fly removal services when they are in your home.

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