All living creatures need sleep, and flies are no exception. While most of us may never have seen a fly ‘sleeping,’ they do, in fact, need sleep just like us, and their hunt for a safe and comfortable sleeping spot begins soon after sunset.
So where do flies go at night? Like us, flies are usually asleep during the night. Also, like us, flies will take naps during the day. What’s more, is flies will sleep anywhere they can instead of finding a place that does not have predators. As such, you might see a fly sleeping anywhere in your home – on the wall, ground, countertop, leaves of plants, or anywhere else. They simply don’t care where they sleep.
While flies do generally sleep at night, they may flutter around in the dark and find unique ways of getting through the night during the winter. Read on to learn more.
Do flies sleep?
The simple answer is yes; flies do sleep at night. They will find themselves a cozy spot once it starts getting cooler and take a rest. Flies sleep deeply as well as lightly, just like humans. Flies need sleep when they use up a lot of energy, and while many would think this energy is needed mostly for flying around, this is not true. Flies also use up a lot of energy in brain activity. When the learning pathway is activated in the fly’s brains during the day, their need for sleep becomes much greater, and will most likely sleep deeper than normal. However, despite deep sleep, they will wake up if they sense predators approaching.
Surprisingly, flies don’t just sleep at night; they also take naps during the day! They will do this in shady places, to escape the afternoon heat. If they stay out in the sun for too long, they will get thirsty, overheat, and might die. Most often, they will not search for a place that is predator-free and will sleep wherever they are. This could be on leaves, walls, or even on the floor. However, they also have a good grip to keep them from falling while they’re sleeping.
In fact, fly sleep is much more like human sleep than we’d think. Their sleep cycle is just as affected by the food they consume as ours. For example, if they happen to consume caffeine or cocaine, they will stay awake, and antihistamines and alcohol will make them drowsy. Flies usually tend to sleep more in warmer temperatures than in cooler ones, and if they are unable to fulfill their required sleep at night, they will sleep more the next day to make up for it. This is what scientists call sleep rebound.
Sleep deprivation also affects flies just like it affects us, and can be detrimental to their memory as well. Researches also found that baby flies usually need more sleep than adult flies since it is necessary for their brain development.
Do flies fly in the dark?
Most species of flies, from house flies to flesh flies, are active in the daytime and become inactive during the night. This is because they need polarized light to be able to see, and the lower temperatures at night will cause them to become slow and lethargic. As darkness falls, many flies take refuge under leaves or on tree trunks where they will rest until the sun comes up again. Flies don’t have a nest or colony and will sleep wherever they find a place. Most species of flies follow this pattern, but some exceptions like sand flies and fruit flies prefer cooler temperatures and will be more active during dawn and dusk.
Where Do Flies Go In The Winter?
Flies are unable to handle cold temperatures. Not only does the slow, laziness make them unable to look for their own food, but it also makes them vulnerable to predators.
Most flies, when the weather gets too cold, will migrate to warmer regions, where they are more likely to find food and be able to survive. In fact, most flying insects choose to migrate during the colder months.
Overwinter means to survive the entire winter season in a specific form.
Sometimes, flies will spend the entire winter in the larvae stage. They will hide behind a layer of leaves and survive the cold. In fact, in some cases, they replace all the water in their body with glycerol, which is a form of antifreeze to protect themselves. In other cases, larvae dig into the soil and stay warm. Sometimes, if larvae have hatched in fecal matter, the heat as a byproduct of the decaying process will keep the larvae warm and alive.
For species of flies that have nymphs, one option is to spend the entire winter season under the ice in water bodies. There, they can grow and feed until the warm weather returns, and they can emerge as fully grown flies.
Some flies will lay their eggs close to the winter, and these eggs will remain unhatched until the cold weather is gone.
Some flies will choose to remain in their cocoon during the pupa stage until the winter passes. These can often be found attached to branches of plants that produce food.
Diapause is a condition where the metabolism of a living being slows down drastically. Flies use this to survive the cold winter months – their metabolic activity is reduced until it is only just enough to keep them alive and nothing else. At this time, all their activity, growth, and development is halted and doesn’t resume until the cold passes. It is similar to hibernation but does not involve any sleep.
In some cases, where the cold is very severe, and the flies have grown to adulthood, they may simply die of the cold. In places where human inhabitation is widespread, it is not uncommon to find many flies in your home during the wintertime. Naturally, this is because the flies are looking for a warm place to stay in.
However, regardless of how irritating flies can be, they can also be carriers of potentially dangerous diseases, so it is best to get rid of them as soon as possible.
How Long Do Flies Live?
While the irritation lasts forever, the flies themselves don’t. In fact, adult flies can live for only about 15-30 days if predators don’t eat them, and while that is long enough to be annoying, it’s a miserably short lifespan. And yet, they don’t seem to reduce in population! The answer to that is that they have a very high rate of reproduction. During a fly’s life, there are three main things: food, breeding, and death.
On average, female flies will lay up to 75-150 eggs at one time, and during her entire lifetime, about 500 eggs. That means that every female fly you see could have about 500 flies behind her – which is why you never see the number of flies go down.
Flies will usually look for disgusting areas to lay their eggs, such as garbage bins, fecal matter, and sometimes in the soil or leaves.
The next stage is maggots – this is where they are hungriest. Larvae look a lot like worms, and their characteristics usually depend on the species of fly. After this, they will develop into pupas, and the fly becomes dormant. It forms a cocoon around itself and doesn’t feed or move. Most of the changes occur during the pupal stage, and this is where the fly develops into the adult flies we are so familiar with.
These three stages can take up to 10 days of a fly’s life. From here on, it will search for food, breed, and eventually die.
Where do flies nest?
Flies do not build nests. They do not live in colonies and are solitary creatures who will look only for their own sustenance. When they have to sleep, they will do so on any available surface.
Do flies bite?
The most common species of fly is the housefly, and because it has sponging mouthparts, it is physically unable to bite. However, other species of flies may bite, and while the occurrence is not a common one, they may do so for the purpose of sucking your blood, which provides them with nutrients.
Do flies do anything useful?
Flies are extremely annoying creatures to us humans, but they do have their own role to play in the ecosystem. They are natural decomposers and help in the breakdown of organic matter, which will release important nutrients into the soil for plants and bacteria to use. Flies are also important in pollination for flowers. In fact, the only known pollinators for the cacao bean, which is used to make chocolate, are flies.