So, the Amityville Horror was a bad book, a crappy movie, and all around bullshit.
But…some days at the Bug House, I can totally relate to the scene with the flies (video here; start at 3.00).

When we go out to get our mail right now, there are hundreds of cluster flies all over the front steps and yard.  They create a low droning hum and swarm all around as you walk.  cluster_flies1And it is very creepy.

Supposedly, the Amityville house was plagued by swarms of flies despite the winter weather  (December/January).   What that tells me is that they had Cluster Flies.  These flies get their name from their habit of clustering in attics or near windows. (Sound familiar, Amity fans?)

The Amityville house had been previously unoccupied for over a year. When the Lutz family moved in and turned the heat on, conditions were perfect to trigger a massive cluster fly emergence.

Cluster flies find shelter from the winter by crawling under your siding or in foundation cracks. When you turn on the heat that warms the flies up, and they find a way inside via electrical outlets, baseboards, or door.

No satanic mystery for the sudden fly emergence at all.  In fact, the flies might be the only real part of the Amityville story.

Oh, and if you want to asplode your head, read this Yahoo Answers page discussing “are flies linked to paranormal activity?”  URG.

So, back to the Bug House and our massive clusterfuck fly problem.

OMGWTFGHOSTS? Um, no. Worms, actually.
Although they are blowfly relatives, cluster flies are not carrion flies, but a type of fly parasitic on earthworms. They are harmless, and do not carry any human diseases.  They are, however, annoying as hell, and poop all over everything as well.

While I normally just vacuum them up, this year I might have to do something. I don’t want to scare potential home buyers away with a giant roaring wall of (harmless) flies.  I really don’t want to spray for something so cosmetic, though.  Sigh.

(thanks to for the image!)

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. Even though I know it’s crap, I still love that (original) movie! When Margot Kidder looks out the window and sees the two glowing, beady eyes? Classic! :) Is it weird that I’m a die hard skeptic and yet such an avid consumer of horror, sci fi, and fantasy?

  2. Sure, they’re annoying but are they any good with pesto?

  3. at least they weren’t deer flies

  4. Very cool blog entry. Thanks for the edjumication.

  5. This is a great entry. Very creepy.

  6. It seems as though this happens with ladybugs too.

    My parents had a place on Silver Lake in NY. There were only a few times we went out for several days in January and February (it was in the snow belt east of Lake Erie – ’nuff said) but every time there were a lot of ladybugs that became active. The same thing happened when we opened it up in early-mid March.

    I’m guessing that there’s probably a number of insects where this would happen. Are there Bug Girl?

  7. @ buzzybeegirl Agreed. Or horse flies. Talk about critters that can ruin a day of great fishing or hiking.

  8. I grew up in Toms River, NJ, where they actually filmed the Amityville Horror movie – our big claim to fame. My school bus passed the house used in the film each morning, and my fellow fourth graders were all convinced it must really be haunted. When they did the sequel, they actually moved the entire house from Toms River to someplace else. I still think of that movie every time I see a fly of any kind on a window.

  9. I recently saw a cluster fly trap for sale online. You might want to check into it as a spray-free alternative.,37-500,default,cp.html

  10. I actually have one of those–it works pretty well. I am trying to find more info and write about it (and get a couple more free, if I can :) )

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