What Do Flies Eat? How Can We Avoid Attracting Flies To Food? | Kidadl

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What Do Flies Eat? How Can We Avoid Attracting Flies To Food?

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Flies are unwanted pests that generally feed on all types of dirt, garbage, waste, and feces.

Flies tend to grow in number when the weather is warm. Be it a home or a business property, most species of flies thrive in warm temperatures with a moist atmosphere.

Flies are pests who feed on rotting and decaying food matter, fermenting sugary fruits, nectar, wet garbage, meat, and organic waste left by animals and humans. This means that an adult housefly can just about survive on any waste food source and will tend to swarm into places that may have such waste lying around. If left free to breed and eat, they can infest the place in no time and become a major nuisance. Flies have a long straw-like organ called a proboscis, which helps them ingest liquids from the food that they eat. Flies have small hairs on their legs, which can carry harmful, disease-spreading, local bacteria. As flies land on various surfaces or substances, even feces, it is extremely unhygienic to let houseflies roam around freely.

Want to learn some more fun facts online with Kidadl? After you have read about the diet of a fly, do check out how long does a fly live and gnat vs fruit fly.

What do flies eat and drink?

There are several species of flies like houseflies, fruit flies, and blowflies. Most of these flies have a similar diet, which varies only a little for each species of flies. The common housefly, which we see every day, eat nearly everything that comes their way.

These species of houseflies settle near the food we eat but are mostly attracted to decaying matter, garbage, animal carcasses, organic waste which can be found in drains and puddles, any type of feces, any sugary food or drink, the nectar of flowers, sodas or alcohol.

Most female houseflies lay their eggs near rotting and decaying matter and under the surface of such waste so that the hatching larvae have a source of food to grow on. Fruit flies tend to feed on fruits or plant waste which is decaying or fermenting and contains a large number of yeast bacteria. Fruit flies feed on this bacteria, which is usually formed in fruits that are overripe or decaying. Fruit flies are attracted by the level of sugar in these foods, which is a staple for them.

How do flies eat?

Anatomically, houseflies or any other flies do not have teeth or tongues to chew or taste their food, unlike other animals. Rather, flies taste through their legs, as the taste receptors of flies are not in the mouth but on their legs. That is the main reason why we see a housefly walking around on food before having a bite of it.

Also, as flies do not have teeth, most of the food they eat is liquid. As everything these insects feed on cannot be liquid, these bugs have a special eating technique, wherein after they have decided to eat something after tasting it. Flies regurgitate a certain liquid (like saliva) from a small pipe-like structure which allows the liquid to settle on the food. This is a digestive juice that helps to break down the food molecules into smaller digestible pieces or turn them into liquids that flies can eat. The flies suck in the liquid food through their proboscis, which is an elongated straw-like organ. The proboscis helps them ingest all of their food sources.

Do fruit flies actually eat fruit?

Fruit flies are small flies that are usually seen hovering over sweet fruits and vegetables. These flies can be found almost year-round but are most active during summer or fall when there is an abundance of ripening fruits around.

Technically, it would be wrong to say that fruit flies eat fruit. Rather, fruit flies feed on the fermenting sugar which can be found in overripe fruits, typically yeast as their main diet. They are attracted to the yeast and sugar found in these fruits and vegetables, as it is a particularly good place to lay eggs. Fruit flies lay eggs in 100s beneath the skins of fruits or any decaying matter they eat. When these eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the surface of the fruit until they can fly away to look for food on their own. Fruit flies have a lifespan of hardly a month, yet surprisingly, they can lay up to 500 eggs in their lifetime. That is why we can see them gather in hordes if we make the mistake of leaving fruit uneaten. Fruit flies' larvae can be found in the rotten or overripe surfaces visible on the skin of fruits.

Baby flies are called larvae, but these bugs are also known as maggots.

What food attracts flies?

As houseflies generally consume whatever food comes their way, there are a lot of things that can attract flies to one's home, most of them being unhygienic. A housefly is attracted to rotting food, decaying organic waste, and animal and human feces. Keeping garbage bins open and smelling of wet garbage waste is an invitation for flies to come and spread diseases around.

The legs of flies have very short hairy projections for carrying pollen, but most of the time, these insects even carry harmful diseases, spreading bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli because of their tendency to sit on any surfaces, even animal feces.

Also, any fruit left to rot on counters and tables attracts fruit flies, who can easily infest your home if left on their own to breed and thrive. Similarly, any sugary treats or spilled juices, like soda, can also attract fruit flies due to their high sugar content. Further, any open drains, even closed drains, water puddles, and stagnant water sources can attract flies, especially mosquitoes, to breed on its surface.

We can conclude from this that most unhygienic conditions are enough to grab the attention of flies. It is necessary to control houseflies, as these insects tend to breed very quickly, and it does not take a lot of time for their numbers to get out of control. Hence, keep your surroundings and home clean from wet waste, liquid waste, and decaying or rotting produce. Regular fly control or pest control can ensure the prevention of infestation of flies in your home.

Feeding Habits Of Flies

All adult species of flies usually feed on waste and decaying matter, fermenting and overripe fruits, meat, and the nectar of flowers. Female flies tend to lay eggs under the surface or in the areas where these insects usually feed, like under the skin of fruits, between animal carcasses, in animal feces, and such surfaces.

This is done because, when the eggs hatch, the larvae have abundant access to food sources that help them grow and breed further.

Houseflies, fruit flies and all other species of flies are usually active and feeding when the temperature is warm, humid, and moist. It allows them to search for tasty foods because, during this weather, fruits and vegetables, which include wet waste and such, tend to decay at a faster rate, indicating a higher amount of bacteria present in such rotting waste. This bacterial matter becomes a feeding ground for such flies and fruit flies.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 'What do flies eat?' then why not take a look at 'How many eyes do flies have?' or 'Mayfly facts'.

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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