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5 Facts You Didn’t Know About Flies

fly bluebottle

July 30, 2018 by Chris Chapman

Flies are an unpleasant and year-round nuisance. Not only are they annoying, but they can pose a severe health risk to homeowners and businesses alike. We doubt there’s anyone reading this who hasn’t been bothered by flies at some point, so it makes sense to learn a bit more about them so you’ll know what you’re up against. That’s why we’ve pulled together this list of fascinating fly facts – it’s best to know your enemy!

1, They Taste with Their Feet

flies taste with their feetFlies are pretty basic creatures. How, then, do they know whether what they’re sitting on is food? Well, as flies don’t have a tongue of any description, they have to taste it with their feet! Whenever a fly lands on a food source (which, for a fly, can be anything from a delicious steak to animal excrement), the taste receptors on their feet will let them know it’s edible. This is why you’ll always see a fly walking around on a food source when it first lands on it. Unfortunately, because of the germs that are all over flies’ legs, this means flies can quickly cover any surface in whatever bacteria they’re carrying, so don’t let them land on your food!

2, Flies Have Lightning Fast Reactions

facts about fliesFlies are notoriously difficult to swat, a fact that’s so well-known it’s even been the subject of countless TV shows and cartoons over the years. You can creep up on a fly like a ninja and swing that slipper as hard as you can, but the fly you’re after always seems to buzz away. This is because flies have much faster reaction times than humans as their brains can process images much faster. Humans can process around 60 images a second but flies average around 250. Compared to a fly, we’re living in slow motion! That means swatting a fly isn’t the way to get rid of them – instead, make use of electric fly killers or fly paper to lure them in and keep your house a no-fly zone.

3, They Poo… A Lot

cluster fliesIt’s an unpleasant one, but this fact is one you should definitely aware of if you have a fly buzzing around your kitchen! Flies leave droppings virtually every time they land. This is because they liquify food before they eat it, meaning it passes through their digestive system quickly. If a fly lands on a food source, it’ll not only spread bacteria all over it from its legs, but it’ll instantly defecate on it. Disgusting! Make sure you keep any potential food sources covered up and keep your bins as far away from your house as possible to discourage flies from leaving microscopic presents all over your home.

4, They Have 360-Degree Vision

fly eyesYou probably knew that flies have huge eyes that are made up of thousands of tiny lenses to help them see well. What you might not have realised is that these lenses help the fly see behind itself, giving it complete 360 vision. This is another reason why sneaking up and swatting a fly is so tricky. You can use this to your advantage, though – if you use an electric fly killer and place it somewhere its UV bulbs are visible to the fly, you can lure it in and let the fly dispose of itself!

5, There are Flies in Space

flies aboard the ISSDon’t worry, we haven’t discovered a new species of cosmic fly! In 2014, NASA sent a batch of fruit flies up to the International Space Station to study how they adapt to low gravity and space flight. As flies have such short life cycles (around 30 days), it’s possible for scientists to study how flies adapt, mutate, or evolve in a much shorter time than with other creatures. This research could tell us a lot about the long-term effects of living in space.

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