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What Do Flies Eat? 14 Different Things (From Food to Feces)

Quick disclosure: this article can get pretty gross. Flies eat some nasty sh*t, but the purpose here is to help you eliminate any fly issue you’re having by eliminating the source of their food. That said, if you have a weak stomach, you might want to skip this one.

When it comes to pesky house flies, everyone wants to know what they’re eating. So Are they drawn to our food? Do they like to snack on feces?

What in the world could flies possibly eat that would make them happy and keep them returning for more?

As it turns out, there are quite a few different types of food that flies love – from food scraps and leftovers to pet droppings and even dead animals!

In this article, I’ll look at all the foods flies enjoy eating. I’ll also explain why it’s important to keep these pests away from your home and provide some tips on how you can do just that!\

So what do flies eat?

Below is a list of what flies eat, according to my experience and research. Remember, flies will eat just about anything, so this list aims to help you eliminate flies by eliminating their food sources.

Now that I’ve covered that, let’s jump to it:

1. Food scraps

I’m often asked why and how flies are drawn to and eat, food scraps. The answer is actually pretty simple: flies are attracted to anything that smells like food.

This is because their sense of smell is very acute – they can detect the odor of rotting food from up to miles away. Once they’ve located a food source, they’ll land on it and start eating.

Flies don’t have teeth, so they can’t bite into food. Instead, they use their sharp mouthparts to tear open the surface of the food and then suck out the contents.

In fact, a fly can consume three times its own body weight in just one meal!

Given their love of all things stinky, it’s no wonder that flies are often found near garbage cans or compost bins.

But as gross as it may be, there’s no denying that these little creatures play an important role in the decomposition process (I’ll talk about that more below).

2. Leftovers

Have you ever wondered why flies are so attracted to food leftovers? If you’ve ever had a fly land on your food, you know how pesky they can be.

Turns out, there’s a reason for their behavior:

Flies are attracted to food that is high in nitrogen. This is because they need a lot of protein to grow and reproduce.

When they land on food, they release saliva that contains enzymes that break down the food’s protein molecules into smaller ones that the fly can digest. The fly then sucks up the liquified food through its proboscis.


3. Pet droppings

You might not want to think about it, but those little flies buzzing around your dog or cat’s poop are doing them a big favor.

By eating their feces, these insects help to reduce the spread of disease and keep our furry friends healthy.

Here’s a closer look at why and how flies are drawn to and eat, dog or cat poop:

As anyone who has stepped in a fresh pile of dog poop can attest, flies are attracted to the odor of feces. In fact, they can smell it from up to six miles away!

Once they’ve located a potential meal, the fly will land on the feces and begin to feed. During the feeding process, the fly ingests both solid and liquid waste.

The solid waste is then regurgitated in fly specks, which helps spread disease-causing bacteria.

While it may not be pleasant to think about, flies play an important role in keeping our environment clean. By helping to break down organic matter, they help to prevent the spread of disease and keep our pets healthy.

So the next time you see a fly buzzing around your pet’s poop, take a moment to appreciate all the hard work they’re doing! (Haha!)

4. Dead animals

Okay, this one’s pretty gross too. But it’s a fact of life: flies eat dead animals.

In fact, they’re attracted to the odor of decomposing flesh from up to 20 miles away! Once they’ve located a carcass, they’ll land on it and start feeding.

The fly will ingest solid and liquid waste during the feeding process. And, as I mentioned with pet droppings, solid waste is then regurgitated in fly specks, which helps spread disease-causing bacteria.

While it may be gross, this is actually a good thing. By helping to break down dead animals, flies play an important role in decomposition.

5. Fruits

Y’all know who you are. Leaving fruits out (especially overly-ripe fruit) is bad if you want to avoid flies.

Fruit flies, in particular, are attracted to the sweetness of fruits. When they land on the fruit, they pierce the skin with their mouthparts and suck out the juice.

The fly then regurgitates some of the fruit’s contents, which helps to spread disease-causing bacteria. So if you don’t want flies in your home, make sure to put away any fruit that’s out.

6. Vegetables

Just like fruits, vegetables are also fly magnets. Once again, this is because of the sugar content.

However, many people don’t know that even though vegetables may not be as sweet as fruits, they still contain enough sugar to attract flies.

In addition, some vegetables release a gas called ethylene when they start to rot. This gas can actually attract flies from up to 20 miles away!

So, what vegetables should you be on the lookout for?

Any vegetable that is starting to rot or go bad. This could be old lettuce, carrots, celery, tomatoes, etc.

If you see any of these vegetables in your home, make sure to throw them out immediately. The last thing you want are flies feasting on your rotting vegetables!

7. Bread

Flies are definitely attracted to bread… but why? Well, it all has to do with the ingredients.

Flies love carbohydrates and sugars – both of which are found in bread. In fact, flies will often lay their eggs in flour because it’s such a great food source for their young.

If you’re noticing a lot of flies around your home and don’t want to use pesticides, try getting rid of any extra bread you have lying around. That should help to cut down on the number of flies in your home.

8. Grains

Common grains such as wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or other cereal grain are a major attractant for fly food.

They are attracted to the high starch content and any other small particles that might be found in these foods.

Because grains are such a common food, it’s important to ensure they’re properly sealed and stored so flies can’t get to them.

9. Sweets

Okay, this one isn’t that surprising. We all know flies are drawn to sweets. But have you ever actually wondered why flies like to eat sweets?

Well, it turns out that flies can taste sugars with their feet! Yes, you read that correctly – their feet.

Flies have taste receptors on their feet that allow them to detect different types of sugars. So, the next time you see a fly land on your food, it’s probably because it can taste the sugar in what you’re eating.

10. Meat

Alright, alright. This one isn’t mind-bending either, but YES – flies love to eat meat. Any type of meat, too – from chicken to pork to beef. If it’s got protein and it’s rotting, a fly is likely on its way.

This is one of the reasons you’ll find so many flies near garbage cans or dumpsters – there’s bound to be some meat in there that they can feast on (and trust me, they will).

11. Dairy products

Flies love to eat dairy products like milk, cheese, and sour cream. If you have any dairy products, a fly will find them and start eating them. The best way to keep flies away from your dairy products is to store them in the fridge.

Fair warning, the below are really gross things flies do eat. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

12. Blood

Yes, flies will eat blood. Flies eat blood because it’s a good source of protein. In fact, blood is actually one of the best things for a fly to eat.

That’s why you’ll often see flies hovering around bleeding animals or humans. They’re looking for an easy meal!

In addition to being a good source of protein, blood is also full of moisture – something that flies need to survive.

So, if you’re unlucky enough to get bitten by a fly, know that it’s not just trying to annoy you – it’s actually looking for a snack!

13. Vomit

This is gross to even write, but flies LOVE vomit. I do actually have a story about this one, but again **WARNING** it’s really gross, so skip ahead if you don’t want to be nastified…

Okay, so I was doing a pest control job for this family, which was just disgusting. Their problem was flies, and they were eating vomit that was all over the house. It was honestly one of the grossest things I’ve ever seen.

I’m not sure what made the family sick in the first place, but it resulted in a lot of vomit all over the house. And, of course, flies are sure to follow where there’s vomit.

I explained the issue to the homeowners (as I was stifling my own vomit), and recommended they hire a professional cleaning company to come in and clean up the mess.

They called me a couple of weeks later and told me they did, and the fly problem was solved. Thankfully that was the extent of my involvement, and they’re on my blocked list now!

As gross as it is, vomit contains many nutrients that flies need – including protein, moisture, and even some sugars. So if you have a fly problem and are unsure what’s attracting them, it could be vomit.

And the situation I described above is highly unusual, so I’d imagine this to be some kind of pet (or even baby) vomit that may attract the flies. Either way, clean it up, and it should solve the problem on its own.

14. Urine

Come on, you’ve noticed the flies surrounding porta-potties. We all have. It’s part of what makes us so tentative when using them!

But a big reason for the flies is that they love to eat (or drink, depending on how you look at it with flies) urine.

Flies love to consume urine because it is a good source of nutrients for them. It also contains a lot of moisture, which is something that flies need to survive.

Additionally, urine contains ammonia, which is another thing that flies find appealing.

And yes, flies will consume both human and animal urine. In fact, they prefer animal urine over human urine, as it is richer in nutrients. However, any urine appeals to flies because it contains a lot of moisture and ammonia.


So what do you do if you have a fly problem and want to get rid of them, but don’t know what’s attracting them in the first place?

Start by removing any food sources they might be going after. This includes garbage cans or dumpsters (where there’s likely meat), dairy products, blood, vomit, and urine.

If you have a pet, make sure to keep their litter box clean – flies love to eat pet waste!

Finally, if else fails, call a professional pest control company. They will be able to identify what’s attracting the flies and help solve your fly problem for good.