With Covid-19 confining us within our homes, most people have more free time than they could have ever imagined. While we try our best to keep ourselves busy with official work, some cooking, and other house chores, we always find some time to think about the weirdest things possible.
What do flies eat is one of them. Not so weird if you think about it.
After all, you’re trying to find answers about the diet of the unwanted guests in your home. Maybe next time you would make sure not to keep the favorite foods of flies lying around.
Here, we take a look at the things that flies feed on.
What are the feeding habits of flies?
Before we start discussing what flies eat, it is important to understand the feeding habits of flies. Firstly, organic material that has started to decay is what adult or fully-grown flies feed as well as harvest their larvae on.
Some examples of these materials are decaying animals, fruit, meat, vegetables, human feces, and plant secretions. Another habit of flies, both male, and female, is sucking flowers’ nectar.
The time of the year when flies are most active in the summer, or when it is warm. This is the time of the year when the majority of larvae start to hatch.
Lastly, due to the odors and heat they emit, buildings also attract flies to them.
What do flies eat?
Now, we come to the most important question: what do flies eat? Firstly, you need to understand that many different species of flies exist today.
Each species of flies feed on different kinds of food. While most flies are attracted to the same types of things like those mentioned above, they vary greatly in their eating habits based on their species.
To give you an example, while horse flies feed on a blood meal, house flies need organic matter that is rotting to survive. Here, we will look at the diet of seven different species of flies.
What do house flies eat?
House flies feed on a whole range of things from food to fecal matter of both animals and humans. However, this species of flies feed only on liquids due to its sponging mouths.
As a result of this, food is liquified by house flies using a process called regurgitation. Several substances attract house flies including:
- Sugar-based substances
- Feces of animals
- Overripe vegetables and fruits
What do blow flies eat?
Also known as bottle flies, blow flies have a black, metallic blue, bronze, or green sheen and they are pretty big in size as compared to the other types of flies.
What is this species of flies best known for? They are best known for burrowing inside their food to develop.
After an animal dies, blow flies are usually the first flies and insects to arrive. What does this species of flies feed on?
It feeds on the following:
- Carcasses of animals
- Meat that is either fresh or is decaying
What do fruit flies eat?
So, we know what house flies and blow flies eat. Now, we will discuss the diet of fruit flies, which is another common species of flies.
Generally, liquid sources and fermented food are two things that fruits flies get attracted to. This is the reason this species of flies is increasingly common in the food industry and in our homes.
The types of foods that fruit flies typically get attracted to include the following:
- Sugar-based substances like sweets and candies
- Many kinds of liquids including cider, beer, vinegar, and beer
- Many different kinds of fruits and vegetables including onions, bananas, potatoes, grapes, mustard pickles, peaches, tomatoes, and pineapples
What do horse flies eat?
You may feel a lot of pain if you get bitten by a horse fly. This is because horse fly is one of the rare flies’ species with a razor-sharp mouth that can cut and cause bruises.
Using their jaws that cut likes scissors, horse flies can tear flesh.
So, we know that horse flies are dangerous, but what do they feed on? The preferred food is different for male and female horse flies.
The latter can only lay eggs if it has enough protein to do so. Therefore, it goes looking for blood mean, which is a good source of protein for the female horse fly.
They get their blood mean by drawing blood from humans or cattle.
On the other hand, foods that male horse flies eat include plant juices, flower nectar, honeydew, and other plant-based liquids. Lastly, the larvae of horse flies feed on tiny insects that reside close to their area of breeding.
What do drain flies eat?
As the name suggests, drain flies are found mostly inside the drainage system. However, the more important question is, what do they eat?
They eat sewage and organic matter that has started to decompose.
Since they do not have any mouth that they can use to chew stuff, drain flies feed on slime and semisolid gelatinous residue inside the drainage. As for the larvae of drain flies, they feed on vegetation that is decaying as well as on extremely tiny animals and plants found inside the drainage.
What do cluster flies eat?
Another species of flies that we will look at here are cluster flies. Not as common as other flies on our list, cluster flies survive on the nectar of flowers and other plant-based juices.
In case there is no flower nectar or plant juice in sight, cluster flies will look for organic matter that has started to decompose to feed on. Soil cracks, moist soil cracks, in particular, are where eggs are laid by cluster flies.
Parasitic behavior is exhibited by cluster flies in the larval stages. For instance, after entering earthworms’ body cavities, cluster fly feed on them.
What do crane flies feed on?
The seventh and final species of flies that we will discuss is crane flies. Generally, the lifespan of adult or fully-grown crane flies is extremely short, no more than a few days.
For this reason, after they become adults, crane flies have only two purposes: mating and laying eggs.
Therefore, you will rarely find crane flies eating. However, there are occasions when this species of flies can be seen feeding on flowers’ nectar and pollen.
While adult crane flies have very little time to eat, the crane flies in the larval stages eat a lot. The larvae of crane flies will eat everything from the roots of grass to tiny insects.
Additionally, as they are herbivores, some crane fly larvae will feed on the roots of plants, seedlings, wood that is decomposing, flowers, and even fungi. On the other hand, larvae of crane flies that are carnivorous eat the larvae of mosquitos, tiny insects, etc.
How do flies eat?
In addition to what flies eat, you also need to know how flies eat to discourage flies from feeding on things inside your home. Since they don’t have a mouth to chew food, most species of flies use proboscis—a unique mouth part—instead of teeth to eat.
What is proboscis? Flexible and tubular, the proboscis is a very long mouthpart for sucking.
Flies drink liquids using their proboscis. Now comes the interesting and for some, the gross part.
Flies belch out their digestive enzymes over solid food to be able to eat it. The solid food is broken down into smaller parts by the digestive juices vomited over the food.
These small pieces are then slurped up by flies using their proboscis. So, maybe next time a fly lands on your food, you’d be better of throwing the food away instead of digging out the fly and then eating the food.
How to keep flies away
You will find a lot of information online on how to keep flies away from your home. Some recommend natural or DIY remedies to get rid of flies and discourage them from entering your home.
Others advise getting help from professional insect or pest control services.
However, in my opinion, the best thing you can do to keep flies away from your home is by eliminating sources of food for flies inside your home. I’m not asking you to throw all sugary items as well as the fruits and vegetable items that attract flies out of your home.
Instead, I’m asking you to keep your home clean so that they are no leftover candies or sweets, spilled fruit juices, rotting vegetables or fruits, and other foods that flies feed on your kitchen counter, dinner table, living room chairs, beds, etc.
In this article, we looked at the seven different species of flies, what they eat, and how they eat. With this information, you will know what type of foods you must not keep lying around to discourage flies from entering your home and living there.