Musca domestica

An astonishment a day- 
drives your depression away...

Repsect for flies. 

We generally don't like flies, and there are reasons for this. They land where they're not meant to, and on top of this, they don't let themselves be killed. They always seem to be able to sense our intentions, and usually manage to escape from the frustrated hand or fly swat. We try to use chemical means, but victory is usually doubtful. The chemicals seem to act on both humans and flies, and who knows who it is affected worse. Up until now, after seeing the effects of DDT it would seem that people are more adversely affected, but this is all history. 

The fly is quite beautiful if one takes the time to look closely and carefully, it also has incredibly interesting behavior. It doesn't have any means with which to eat, only a tube that finishes with a type of sponge. Therefore, it cannot, for example, eat sugar that has been left out. It copes with this is an specific way, which is identical to that of a baby. It first salivates over the cube of sugar, and only then can it suck up the sweet liquid. It also has quite an ingenious way of deciding what is good to eat. Its sense of taste is located on the pads of its feet, therefore as soon as it lands, it can tell whether the substance is good to eat. 

The fly, similarly to all intelligent animals, spends a relitively short period of time on feeding, only 25 percent. A further 50 percent is used for lazing about and cosmetic purposes. For the remaining 25 percent, the fly sits quietly and redigests what it has already eaten. This mainly concerns the mixing of the eaten food with the appropriate enzyme for digestion. It is done in the following way: first the eaten food is retrieved from its digestive system, and drop by drop it is placed on the surface on which the fly is sitting. Only then is it sucked back up. The small black dots, that are left in various places, such as the ceiling, are not fly droppings, but actually the remains which are not sucked back up. This is usually as the fly has been disrupted in its activity, possibly by an angry housewife. This is often done on the ceiling, and as this method of retrieval, the bringing food back up, is similar to vomiting, it must be noted that the fly is the only creature that is able to hold itself on the ceiling, and while upside down to vomit above itself, onto the ceiling. 

And what about the droppings? This of course is done out the other end. The droppings fall to the ground and go undetected by humans. 

So ,what should we do with flies so that they do not bother us and do not spread the germs that they may have picked up in various places? Basically, we should try not to leave a mess that may attract them in the first place, and hopefully they will find somewhere else to go, and we will not need to resort to chemical means.

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(C) (selected from publications of 
 R. Antoszewski

Titirangi, Auckland, 
New Zeland

Jan.  2003

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