A sudden invasion of flies has struck across the West Midlands, prompted by an early spring that saw temperatures approach the 60s.
The sudden appearance of the insects has prompted a run on insect repellent, with some stores in the region even selling out.
But help is at hand in the shape of a new cold spell, which will take temperatures plunging below zero and help kill off the pests.
Shops say they have been inundated with people looking for help in ridding their homes of flies.
Sainsbury’s in Oldbury has reported a surge in sales of fly sprsay, while Wilkinson on West Bromwich High Street says it has sold sold out.
The problem has affected the whole region, but appears to be a particular issue in Sandwell, where it has even reached the attention of West Bromwich MP Tom Watson.
He said: “I am aware of a number of complaints. We have talked to the council’s environmental health department and we are asking staff there to act swiftly to identify the source of this mysterious swarm.”
Semi-retired Bob Woods, from Bache Close on The Lyng, and his neighbours have been bothered by the bugs.
He said: “I woke up on Wednesday morning and there were lots of little black flies in the house. It wasn’t quite Amityville Horror, but it’s something we are just not used to. I thought maybe the cat had done some mess and I had missed it.But then I discovered through contacts that I wasn’t the only one.
“It seems to be especially localised to us, as I’ve spoken to people in Halesowen and Dudley that haven’t had the problem as bad as we have.”
Swimming coach Jackie Guy, 49, who lives on Turks Head Way in West Bromwich, said: “I first noticed the flies on Tuesday. They were everywhere. Dozens in the kitchen and living room.
“I went to West Bromwich to get some spray but everywhere had sold out. Even the local shop by us had sold out. I’ve phoned environmental health and they say they knew where the source was but they could not tell me.
“They said they hoped the problem would be sorted by the end of this week. I have never known anything like it. They are everywhere.”
Environmental health bosses at Sandwell Council today blamed any swarms on recent changeable weather conditions.
Damp conditions over the last few weeks have been the ideal breeding conditions for the flies, and then the unseasonably warm weather on Tuesday meant they all hatched.
Councillor for neighbourhood services Ian Jones said: “It would seem the recent warmer few days, following a particularly damp season created ideal conditions for the emergence of flies, reminiscent of the annual day when flying ants emerge.
“Fortunately the return today to rain has resulted in less fly activity.”
That view is backed up by Sandwell Valley nature reserve’s Chris Edwards.
He said: “The warm weather always brings things out - when the sun shines the birds start singing more. It’s just nature, they hatch when they are going to survive the weather.
“I can’t remember it being like this before, but maybe it’s because it’s been so cold and wet over the last month, and then all of a sudden we had a burst of warm weather, so it was great conditions for the flies to hatch.”
The Met Office confirmed the second half of February was particularly cold, but that was followed by a temperature of 15C (59F) was recorded on Tuesday in the West Midlands.
It will drop to -2C (28F) by tomorrow, with sleet and snow showers across the region. The fresh cold snap is expected to curb the breeding of the flies.