Scorpion Flies

Facts, Identification & control

Insect Name

Order Mecoptera


What do they look like?

Scorpion flies are so called due to the males of one family (Panorpidae) having enlarged abdomen and genitalia, which resemble a scorpion’s tail and stinger.

  • Stinger: Scorpion flies are so called due to the males of one family (Panorpidae) having enlarged abdomen and genitalia, which resemble a scorpion’s tail and stinger.
  • Wings: Scorpion flies have two pairs of wings
  • Legs: Strong pair of hind legs, which they use to catch prey.

However, despite their double set of wings, scorpion flies generally fly slowly and in erratic patterns.

How Did I Get Scorpion Flies?

This insect species lives near but not in water and needs moist, cool, vegetative habitats to breed and develop. These insects usually don’t enter homes, but residents near lakes or marshes may see one fly indoors accidentally. Scorpion flies do not infest houses and spend most of their time on low-hanging leaves and branches, looking for insect prey.

How Serious Are Scorpion Flies?

Despite its frightening appearance, a scorpion fly does not bite or sting humans. Males use their curled, scorpion-like tail for reproduction, and their cone-like long mouthparts for feeding, plus these insects are not venomous. Scorpion flies do not cause harm or damage to homes.

How Do I Get Rid of Them?

The Orkin Man™ is trained to help manage flies and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.

Keeping flies out of homes and buildings is an ongoing process, not a one-time treatment. The Orkin Man™ can provide the right solution to keep flies in their place…out of your home, or business.

For more information or to schedule an inspection, please contact your local Orkin branch office.

Signs of a Scorpion Fly Infestation

Scorpion flies do not infest indoors and therefore would have no indoor signs. They usually are encountered as adults outdoors. They may be seen in vegetation.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Do they bite?
Although scorpion flies appear alarming, they are not known to harm humans. They also seldom breed in large groups, preferring instead to live in single, mated pairs.

What do they eat?
Depending on the species, some scorpion fly larvae may be predatory. Others feed on moist, decomposing organic matter, which can include carrion.

Reproduction & Life Cycle

Larvae resemble small caterpillars, with compound eyes and short antennae. During pupation, the scorpion fly buries itself into loose soil, emerging as an adult fly.

Scorpion fly mating and feeding rituals are of interest to the scientific community. Females select their partners based on gift offerings of prey. Scorpion flies are also known as hanging flies, as they sometimes hang suspended from a plant branch in order to blend into their surroundings. They then pounce on smaller insects.