I had been wondering the same since childhood…Why do flies sit on me? What do they want? They don’t even suck blood like mosquitoes. They love to sit on fecal matter, dead and decaying things. Are we same as them? Some of you must be feeling like throwing up thinking of the same. First, let me discuss their role.
Role of flies to the environment
Some flies feed on dead and decaying organic matter (detritivores). For example, Muscidae or the Sphaeroceridae. They are very useful to the environment as they speed up the nutrient cycling, thus leading to a richer soil(indirectly though). They play the largest role in serving as food for birds and fishes in wetlands. Flies consist of the most biomass in wetland fauna(Great!).
They also serve as food for migrating waterbirds, who need more energy. They are especially more important in salt lakes, where only brine flies or any other salinity-adapted flies form the largest portion of protein. Flies are also very beneficial in controlling potential eutrophication(growth of algae that leads to deoxygenation of the water and death of aquatic life) with their numbers, they reduce algae proliferation, even if there occurs very high algal productivity.
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So, next time you say Flies should be eradicated, think twice! If they disappear, the number of birds and fishes will decrease at an alarming rate.
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Why do they sit on you?
Houseflies are scavengers. Just because they obtain a sense of warmth and nourishment, like their favorite food sources like feces, food and rotting flesh, they love to sit on the human body. They can’t bite us, but they can easily suck salt, dead skin and oil. All these wastes from our body are edible for them.
They vomit on solid food to liquefy it and make it edible. The flies are always in search of warm places to defecate, vomit and breed. They carry a lot of germs along with their hairy legs, germs from dung heaps and all those shabby things.
I don’t say that you should allow them to breed, my intention was to answer why they alight on us. You should definitely stop them from breeding in your houses. They are vectors of various infectious diseases, like typhoid, dysentery, tuberculosis etc.
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Why do they rub their hands and legs?
Flies have compound eyes, antennae, and legs to sense the world around them. Yes, you got it right! They need to clean them in order to fly with precision. Interesting, isn’t it?
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