Fly Facts



  • Flies are one of the biggest groups of insects, common nearly everywhere – there are over 90,000 species.
  • Unlike other insects, flies have only one pair of proper wings.
  • Flies include bluebottles, black flies, gnats, horseflies, midges, mosquitoes and tsetse flies.
  • A house fly flies at over 7 km/h – equal to flying 350,000 times its own length in an hour. If a jumbo jet flew at the same speed relative to its length for an hour, it would get almost right around the world.
  • Alaskan flies can stand being frozen at temperatures of -60°C and still survive.
  • Mosquitoes can spread dangerous diseases and their bite is painful. They have a sharp tube (proboscis) with which they pierce their victim’s skin. Saliva then mixes with the blood to prevent it clotting.
  • Flies suck up their food – typically sap from rotting plants and fruit. Houseflies often suck liquids from manure. Blowflies drink from rotting meat.
  • The larvae (young) of flies are called maggots, and they are tiny, white, wriggling tube-shapes.
  • Flies resemble or mimic many other kinds of insects. There are wasp flies, beetle flies, ant flies and moth flies.
  • Many species of fly are carriers of dangerous diseases. When a fly bites or makes contact, it can infect people with some of the germs it carries – especially the flies that suck blood. Mosquitoes spread malaria, and tsetse flies spread sleeping sickness.
  • The buzzing of a fly is the sound of its wings beating. Midges beat their wings 1,000 times a second.