Facts on the Fly

Video highlights from Going Deep With David Rees

Frustrated by flies ruining every summer BBQ, but not ready to invest in a cork hat? Learn all you need to know about swatting the pests synonymous with Australia - Going Deep With David Rees.

  •     Flies belong to the order Diptera, which means “two wings” in Latin. That means insects like butterflies and dragonflies are not true flies since they have four wings.
  •     North American and European deer nose bot flies are some of the fastest flying inspects, reaching speeds of up to 50 miles per hour!
  •     Robert R. Montgomery of Decatur, Illinois filed the first patent for a fly swatter (or “fly-killer”, as he called it) in 1899.
  •     The term “fly swatter” comes from a 1905 pamphlet written by Kansas Board of Health secretary Samuel Crumbine. He was inspired by a chant (“swat the fly!”) he overheard at a ball game.
  •     Phorids are a type of parasitic fly that preys upon fire ants and lays its eggs inside of them. An egg will hatch into larvae, which crawls through the ant’s body and up the head causing it to fall off.
  •     The cheese skipper, which is also sometimes called the ham skipper, is a species of fly that infests meats and dairy products. The fly gets its name from the fact that its larvae will jump.
  •     Casu marzu is a Sardinian delicacy that’s made by gorging cheese skipper larvae on pecorino, which ferments into a creamy goo during the digestion process.
  •     A report issued by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization endorsed eating insects as long-term solution to world hunger and reducing the pollution caused by widespread livestock farming.
  •     Americans inadvertently eat flies on a regular basis. The FDA classifies the fruit fly eggs as a “natural or unavoidable defect” in canned fruit juices and some tomato products because they “present no health hazards for humans”.
  •     While humans take in flavor via taste buds on the tongue, flies have “gustatory sensilla” located all over their bodies, including groupings on their proboscis (nose), wings, and ovipositor (egg-layer).
     

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