When Is a Fly Not a Fly?

Listen to this post as a podcast.

Did you know there are 925,000 species of insects that creep, crawl, fly, jump, (and I hear that ants march) their way across Planet Earth? 

And that’s just the number of species (different kinds of insects). Multiply 925,000 times ‘kajillions’ of eggs per year, and – you get the idea! But, Bug Scientists, (finding a hissing roach makes their day!) have devised a taxonomy (a way of classifying these endless creatures) that abound around us.

Will the ‘True Fly’ Please Stand Up?

There are 120,000 species of flies. Taxonomists classify these small living creatures into two groups: 

  1. ‘True flies’
  2. ‘Not true flies’

In each group, there are the ‘good, the bad, and the unusual’. (helpful, destructive, and flyvery interesting).

Most flying insects have two sets of wings (four wings). The true fly (Diptera) has one set of wings – two wings. Also, the spelling of true flies will usually be two separate words: house fly, horse fly, fruit fly. 

Many insects can fly, but they are not flies. Butterflies, damselflies, dragonflies are spelled in one word; also, sawflies, mayflies, dragonflies, and butterflies (they have four wings.) And to make it more complicated – gnats and mosquitoes (yes) are true flies. 

Plan to go to school a lot if you are going to be an entomologist!

Flies Smell With Their Feet (and Some Gross Fly Facts)

flyfoodSo many types of flies! It may seem confusing to us people, but the flies don’t seem to have any problem finding a mate of their own kind and producing their little maggots. 

Any pile of poop or rotting garbage will do. 

The sticky feet and bristles of their bodies collect the filth. When they land on your ‘drive-through lunch’, flies will wipe their feet on your taco like a doormat. 

Flies ‘smell’ with their feet. That’s why they stomp around in your food to determine if it’s edible. Then they will spit or vomit on food to soften it so they can suck it up the liquid in their spongy, ‘straw-like’ mouths.  

Flies can carry two million units of bacteria on their bodies and feet.

Shoo, Fly, Don’t Bother Me!

Besides being unsanitary, flies are annoying. With all the innovative capacities of our brain, it is still frustrating to try to smack a fly. It becomes like a challenge to our giphy (3)intelligence. 

With their two wings, they have undeveloped nubs of wings beneath that serve as air movement detectors. They can feel the approaching air movement and actually calculate the angle of a swatting hand or newspaper. Within a 100 milliseconds of time, they can create an alternate flight plan to escape the destructive force coming at them.

Flies seem to know they are tormenting us humans. They can see 360-degrees. They can swerve, dodge, fly backward, upside down, side to side, and then, seemingly – disappear, leaving us standing there with our deadly swatter poised in air.

Unlike the common bothersome little house fly – the swamp fly, horse and stable flies, the deer fly, and mosquito ‘fly’ will bite. Their mouthpiece is made to cut your skin. Besides painful, these flies also carry disease.

How To Swat a Fly

Here are some tips on getting rid of that pesky fly;

  • Use the ‘high-tech’ hand fly swatter that has holes to lessen air flow movement.fly2 (2)
  • Don’t aim your weapon directly at the fly. Position the swatter in front of the fly.
  • Try to guess which way the fly will try to escape.
  • Bring your swatter down quickly within a 100 milliseconds of time.
  • If, at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again – and again – and again – and again….

Have a great Summer/2020! It’s a Bug’s World.

Categories: Bugs

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