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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.

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