Housefly facts

  • A fly beats its wings 200 times a second; 3 times faster than a hummingbird.
  • A fly can travel 300 times the length of its body in one second - a jet travelling at the speed of sound only travels 100 times its length
  • A fly's average speed in flight is 4.5 mph
  • A Fly's vision is only sharp for 24-36 inches.
  • A house fly's feet are 10 million times more sensitive than a human tongue.
  • A housefly can only ingest liquid material. They regurgitate their food to liquefy the food that they are going to eat. 
  • After studying 300,000 flies, researchers Dr Yao and Dr Yuan of China concluded that your average housefly carries 2 million bacteria on its body.
  • Beginning with one pair of house flies in April, there would be a total of 191,000,000,000,000,000,000 flies by August if all the descendants of this pair lived and reproduced normally.
  • Despite having 4000 lenses in each eye, flies have bad vision, but are good at detecting movement - move slowly and they don't see you as a threat.
  • Despite years of trying, no researcher has ever been able to teach flies anything - fish learn, ants learn, snails learn, cockroaches learn, even worms learn … but never flies.
  • Flies can "taste" with their feet.
  • One of the most dangerous insect in the world is the common housefly. They carry and transmit more diseases than any other animal in the world.
  • Flies can carry typhoid, cholera, diarrhea, amoebic dysentery, T.B, anthrax, gangrene, bubonic plague, leprosy, scarlet fever and yellow fever.
  • Flies can lay 200 - 3000 eggs in a life time.
  • Flies defecate every 4-5 minutes
  • Flies don't bite or sting … they stab.
  • Flies jump up and backwards when taking off, so if you swipe at them from behind they will generally jump straight into your palm.
  • Flies smell with their antennae.
  • Flies vomit on food before eating it, so as to soften the meal up - you don't need us to tell you that fly vomit swarms with bacteria.
  • Fly maggots only eat dead flesh, so specially bred sterile ones are sometimes used medically to heal septic wounds more quickly and effectively than conventional methods. The maggots devour the infected parts and leave the healthy tissue alone.
  • From Aug to Nov the warm winds in Australia blow swarms of flies from the North down into the South - the flies can be blown hundreds of km a day. This explains why in Oz hordes of flies seem to sometimes suddenly appear from nowhere.
  • House flies' feet are 10 million times more sensitive to the taste of sugar than the human tongue.
  • House flies walk upside down using glue-oozing toe pads.
  • If a housefly spots a group of flies, he will join them. That's why granny's sticky fly paper worked so well - a few flies got stuck and soon all the others were rushing over to check out the crowd.
  • If a pair of flies mated and all its descendants lived and bred without any losses to predators, then within one summer season there would be a million, million, million, million flies. That would be enough flies to cover the whole of Australia 11 m deep in flies.
  • In 1788 seven cows and bulls were introduced into Australia. Today these have grown to 20 million and each animal produces 12 pads a day - 2000 flies can emerge from each pad - do the maths … it could explain why Australia has fly problems
  • Long-legged flies' wings beat several hundred times per second- they achieve their highly complex aerial manoeuvres with only one pair of wings, the other having being converted into a gyroscope.
  • The average housefly lives for 21 days.
  • The bot fly shoots its eggs into sheep's eyes. When South African farmer, Willie Spargenberg was on a hunting trip, he felt something flick into his eye. Unknown to him, a bot fly had mistakenly selected him as a victim. Within hours the maggots hatched and bored in behind the retina. It took a week before he made it to a specialist who discovered the problem and tried to zap the worms with a laser - but by now they were older and wiser and would scuttle off to hide in the crevices of the eyeball whenever he tried to fry them. A month later the unfortunate farmer's vision was still blurred and he continued to suffer pounding headaches. He was lucky, claimed the specialist, without treatment the maggots could have burrowed into the brain. For disgusting photos of a similar incident Spiders eat an awful lot of flies - the cyrtidae family of flies however, get their revenge - the young larvae leap onto passing spiders and burrow through their cuticles - they then proceed to eat the unfortunate spider from the inside out
  • The favourite colour of house flies is red, followed by orange, black, violet, green, blue, white and yellow.
  • The housefly "hums" in the key of F and beats its wings over 20,000 times a minute.
  • The quantity and type of maggots and flies in a decomposing corpse can help a forensic entomologist estimate the time of death fairly accurately.
  • The term 'fly swatter' was first used in 1905 - however similar devices were in use beforehand and no one is quite sure who actually invented the first one, but the earlier versions went by the name 'fly killer" rather than "fly swatter"
  • There are 120,000 species of flies, ranging in size from 1/20th of an inch to 3 inches
  • To land upside down on the ceiling, flies grab it with their front legs and then somersault the rest of their body over.


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