Common Flying Insects

There are millions of types of flying insects in the world. Some will bite or sting, some are pests and some like to invade our homes. The flying insects you might find in your home or yard include the house fly, gnats, flying ants, mosquitoes, moths, butterflies, flying beetles, dragonflies, fruit flies and bees.

Insect Pests
Insects that fly may be pests, such as the house fly and fruit fly. These insects won't hurt you, but they're not pleasant to have around. Other flying insects are pests because they destroy clothing or infest food, such as the moth. Flying insects typically develop from larvae that hatch from eggs.

Insects may bite, like the mosquito, causing an itchy reaction and possibly spreading disease. They may sting, like the bee, causing allergic reactions that can be life-threatening for some people.

  • Flies: The common housefly is a pest, spreading germs and diseases, and landing on and consuming anything. To get rid of them, you must destroy their breeding sites, which may be garbage cans, rotting food or a decomposing animal. It's not unusual for a single fly to get into a home, but if you see a lot of them in an area, you should find out where they're breeding.
  • Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes breed where there is standing water. They don't need a lot of it; a bucket, a wheelbarrow or even an old tire can hold enough water to create a mosquito nursery. While their itchy bites are annoying enough, the real risk with mosquitoes is the diseases they carry, including West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encaphalitis, which can be fatal. Mosquitoes are a common summertime nuisance; you'll see them from late May until the first killing frost in most parts of the United States. The best way to keep them away from your home is to eliminate any sources of standing water around your yard.
  • Moths: Moths will get into your home at night if doors or windows are open. They're attracted to light and will follow it to the source. Moths don't bite or spread diseases, but they can be a pest if eat your favorite clothes or start breeding in the pantry. Moth balls will keep them out of closets. If they infest food, getting rid of the food will get rid of the moths. 
  • Bees: Bees, wasps and hornets are all stinging insects. They sting to defend themselves and their hives. Beehives can have tens of thousands of bees, while wasp and hornet nests may only have a few residents. These insects will nest in the eaves of houses, in walls and even in the ground. If you see a lot of bees or wasps near your home, it's a good idea to figure out where they're coming from and try to locate the nest, but be sure to stay away from it. Stings can cause deadly allergic reactions in some people, and they're painful and unpleasant for everyone. If you find a nest or think you've found one, it's best to have a pest professional remove it.
  • Beetles: Although they spend most of their time on plants and trees, beetles are quite capable fliers. Japanese Beetles will fly for more than a mile to locate a mate. Beetles won't hurt people and they're lovely to look at, but they're an unwelcome sight in the garden. Beetles have a voracious appetite and breed rapidly. Some species, like the Asian Longhorn Beetle, can kill trees. If you see beetles in the garden or in your yard, it's a good idea to find out where they're coming from. Pesticide may be needed to eliminate them.

Enjoyable Winged Insects
Not every insect that flies is a menace. Butterflies, dragonflies and ladybugs are pretty to watch and beneficial for the garden. Dragonflies and ladybugs both eat pest insects, making them a friend to the gardener. Butterflies themselves are lovely, but the caterpillars they come from can do damage to plants.

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