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House Fly

Summary: Diptera may be interesting to scientists, but to the average citizen flies are gross. Even the word “maggot” makes me gag, so thinking about what a house fly does when it lands on my plate really sends me into a tailspin.

You can never tell what we are likely to talk about in these articles. It's always an adventure! This time we're going to bash that oft-repeated “factoid” that claims that flies up-chuck as soon as they land on the food on your plate and give you some real house fly facts.

Number one on our house fly facts list is flies don't vomit when they land on food.  It's true that house flies secrete saliva whenever they attempt to feed, but they don't try to feed every time they land. They only “spit” when they are looking for nutrients. When they are seeking nourishment the chemical sensors on their feet and antennae tell them


that they may be standing on a food source. And presto! They spew.

They never really vomit. Strictly speaking, vomiting is the regurgitation of stomach contents and house flies never regurgitate their stomach contents. They spit saliva.

Here's some more house fly facts. House flies don't spread disease by spitting on your food, disgusting as that sounds. Sure, they are capable of spreading diseases such as conjunctivitis, poliomyelitis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, anthrax, leprosy, cholera, diarrhea and dysentery, but you don't get these illnesses from their saliva. If you are going to catch some type of disease it will come from their feet when they land on your food. These guys have no manners. Just before they landed on your plate they may have been feasting on manure or the innards of some road kill or other bacteria-laden goodies.

“Pass the pickled pigs feet, please.”

Click here to watch my short video on how to control flies.

Ask Rick A Question


12 Jul 2009, 22:51
I have a problem with fly manure on my vynil siding. Even a pressure washer will not remove the manure. Any suggestions ?
23 Sep 2009, 21:20
We have a pest problem. Not only do we have the regular house fly, but also these tiny flies that look like baby flies. They seem to multiply in large groups. One day there were gone and now they are back. How are they surviving? How do we get rid of them?
Julia Sandor
26 Sep 2009, 16:54
I need to eliminate those baby flies from my house as soon as possible.
Any suggestions please?
louise gill
16 Dec 2009, 05:05
I have very small flies in my bathroom and they are now in the kirchen. They are as small as a fruit fly but on close inspection they appear to have a stripey body. They originally started in the bathroom and are now in the kitchen and getting in to bread and cupboards. They are easily killed with fly spray but keep coming back. Any ideas please!
Sarah S
15 Apr 2010, 15:01
I live in the Redwoods in Mill Valley and a few months ago I had a roof rat infestation that my landlord solved by putting rat poison chunks in the walls and sealing off areas that they were able to access into my apartment. I haven't smelled a dead rat in at least 2 months. A few days ago I came home to find swarms of flies, about 30 in my main room, bedroom and kitchen. I had to kill them all manually but plan to install disposable fly traps today. Every day I wake up and find that there are 20-30 new flies in my place and my step dad thinks that they'r being drawn in by perhaps diseased rats in the walls. I used to live and work on a ranch with an apartment attached to the stables and never have I seen a fly infestatin like this! Please let me know what to do.
25 Oct 2012, 19:40
I see all sorts of questions here, but no ideas or even a hint of solutions here
Ask the Exterminator
06 Nov 2012, 15:46
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