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Posted by on Oct 15, 2016 in Tell Me Why |

Do Flies Hibernate?

Do Flies Hibernate?

During winter flies will hibernate, sometimes in large groups, in any available dry and warm space such as an attic. The reason there are so few houseflies in winter is that their eggs will hatch only at temperatures between 24 degree Centigrade and 35 degree Centigrade (75 degree Fahrenheit and 95 degree Fahrenheit).

Meanwhile their numbers steadily diminish owing to insecticides and natural causes. This is a good thing since flies often carry diseases.

It’s the larger flies that attract our attention on sunny winter days when they bask on tree trunks or buzz at our windows. Many of these flies are muscids, which include the blowflies or bluebottles, and their relatives such as the common house fly (Musca domestica).

Most spend the winter as adults in cracks and crannies and wake up in spring to lay their eggs on decaying matter.

House flies delight in unhygienic places, and their maggots feed on rotting food and other human waste. Some of the common bluebottles lay eggs on decaying flesh and, while we may be squeamish about their choice of diet, we should be thankful that they dispose of animal corpses so efficiently.

One winter fly that often attracts attention is the cluster fly. Cluster flies often enter houses in large number and spend the winter in large huddles in the corner of a spare room or loft. They are rather stocky flies, grayish but with a coat of golden hairs on the thorax.

Like all insects they don’t truly hibernate, but enter a state of diapause, which slows down their development and appetite, until temperatures rise and they become active again. Unlike their relatives, cluster flies don’t lay their eggs on rotten flesh or excrement, but instead have a surprising taste: earthworms.

In autumn, the flies lay their eggs in the soil and, on hatching, the maggots search for a host. Once inside the earthworm, they eat their way from one end to the other and back again, and pupate in the shell of their hollowed-out victim.

Content for this question contributed by Edwinn Camaya, resident of Burlington, Boone County, Kentucky, USA