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Posted by on Feb 4, 2015 in TellMeWhy |

How Does a Fly Eat?

How Does a Fly Eat?

A fly cannot bite or chew because it cannot open its jaws. So how does a fly eat? Reaching down the front of a fly’s head is a tube like part called a proboscis.

The fly uses its proboscis as a straw to sip liquids. When a housefly lands on a piece of sugar or other solid food, it turns some of the food into liquid by spreading saliva on it. It then sops up the liquefied food with spongy pads at the tip of the proboscis.

“Biting” flies have needle-like mouth parts hidden in the proboscis. These flies stab their sharp points into a victim’s skin and then suck up the blood. So now you know how does a fly eat.

Can I eat my food if a fly landed on it? A compound in their saliva and vomit breaks down the food so the fly is able to slurp it up. The longer a fly is on your food, the higher the chance of harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites being transferred to it. If a fly lands on your food and you swat it right away, the food will likely be safe to eat.

What does the fly eat? Adult flies feed and harvest their larvae on organic decaying material. This includes, fruit, vegetables, meat, animal, plant secretions and human feces. Both male and female flies suck nectar from flowers as well.

Can you get sick from a fly in your drink? The saliva liquefies the food for them to drink. But if fly vomit isn’t bad enough consider this: Flies enjoy eating more than what’s on your picnic table. They feast on nasty things like feces and rotting meat, which can be teeming with harmful, infectious bacteria. This bacteria can get in, and on, the fly.

Content for this question contributed by Joyce Brooks, resident of Hampden County, Massachusetts, USA