House Flies Dying on Plants - Parasitic Fungus?

santoro718August 13, 2013

Here is a strange one:
My parents have a garden in Brooklyn NY, and in late summer, they seem to have a problem with house flies gathering around their plants to make a place for themselves to die. I think that they are being affected by some sort of parasitic fungus, but I am not sure which one. The problem has become a nuisance recently as the flies are now making their death beds in the Hydrangea - which my mother likes to dry out and use to decorate the house. I think that the problem may be associated with our rear neighbor's fig tree, as it seems that the problem has spread from that region to the rest of the garden.

Any ideas on how to get rid of these parasite ridden flies and prevent them from coming back? I have some pics attached.

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Here is another pic.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 12:35PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Why do you suspect they're parasitized?
Could they just be stuck on the leaf/stem?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 12:06AM
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The life span of most fly species is between 15 and 30 days, although that can be changed by applications of pesticides. Are you sure your neighbor did not spray a pesticide that might affect these flies?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 6:42AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

This was discussed a few days ago. Entomophthora muscae is probably the parasitic fungus in this case, too. It affects houseflies and a few other related species.

It is nature's way of controlling flies and is not an issue to be 'fixed '. Scientists would like to find a way to make this fungus in the lab in order to market it to those for whom flies are a problem.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 5:40PM
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