The fly is perhaps one of the most annoying pests you will ever encounter. Many flies, such as the house fly, are associated with over 100 pathogens. These pathogens can cause disease in humans and animals, including: typhoid fever, cholera, bacillary dysentery, hepatitis, polio, and tuberculosis. Sanitation is a critical part of controlling these pests.

Flies belong to the Order Diptera and there are over 16,000 species of flies in North America alone. They are easily distinguished from other insects because they have only 1 pair of normal wings. The second pair is represented by 2 knobbed organs called halteres. The halteres are thought to be organs which help stabilize the insect while in flight.

Flies exhibit complete metamorphosis: egg, larvae (maggot), pupa and adult. The larvae of most species, called maggots, are soft, legless and headless. These maggots live in soil, decaying material, or as parasites of vertebrates, snails or other insects.

For every fly seen, it is estimated that there are 19 more hidden from view. That means humans don’t even see 95% of flies present at an infestation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that flies contaminate or destroy $10 billion of agricultural products each year.

Interesting Fly Facts:

  • Flies have some of the most complex eyes in the insect world. They have compound eyes with many individual facets, each representing a separate light-detecting unit. The eyes of a fly do not have eyelids, so flies rub their eyes with their feet to keep them clean.
  • Flies taste, smell, and feel with the hairs that cover their bodies. The hairs on the fly’s mouth parts and feet are used for tasting. Flies taste what they walk on. If they walk onto something tasty, they put down their mouth and taste it again.
  • Flies walk on smooth surfaces using sticky soft pads that act like glue. This allows them to walk on vertical glass surfaces and upside down.