Updated: June 6, 2023

Flies are one of the most common insects that we encounter on a daily basis. They can be found in our homes, offices, and outdoor spaces. Despite their prevalence, there are several myths and misconceptions about these buzzing pests that have been perpetuated over time. In this article, we will debunk some of the most common myths about flies.

Myth #1: Flies Only Live for 24 Hours

One of the most persistent myths about flies is that they only live for 24 hours. This myth likely originated from the fact that some species of flies have a very short lifespan. However, not all flies have such a short life span.

The lifespan of a fly depends on its species, environmental conditions, and availability of food. For example, fruit flies typically live for around 10 days, while houseflies can live up to a month in ideal conditions.

Myth #2: Flies Regurgitate Their Food Before Eating It

Another common myth about flies is that they regurgitate their food before eating it. This myth likely stems from the fact that flies have a habit of spitting out their saliva when feeding on solid food. However, this behavior is not the same as regurgitation.

Flies have a sponge-like mouthpart called a proboscis that they use to absorb liquid food such as nectar or blood. When feeding on solid food such as rotting fruit or animal carcasses, they secrete saliva to dissolve the food into a liquid form that they can then absorb with their proboscis.

Myth #3: Flies Carry Diseases on Their Wings

It is often said that flies carry diseases on their wings and can spread them by landing on surfaces. While it is true that flies can carry disease-causing bacteria on their bodies, it is unlikely that they spread these diseases through their wings.

Flies have a habit of regurgitating or defecating on surfaces when they land, which can potentially spread bacteria. However, the primary way that flies spread diseases is through their legs and mouthparts. When feeding on contaminated material such as garbage or feces, flies can pick up bacteria on their legs and mouthparts and then transfer them to food or other surfaces when they land.

Myth #4: Flies Are Attracted to Cleanliness

Contrary to popular belief, flies are not attracted to cleanliness. In fact, they are often found in dirty and unsanitary environments such as garbage dumps and sewers.

Flies are attracted to food sources, particularly those that are rotting or fermenting. They are also attracted to moisture and warmth, which is why they can often be found in kitchens and bathrooms.

Myth #5: Flies Bite Humans

While some species of flies such as mosquitoes and horseflies do bite humans, houseflies do not. Houseflies do not have the mouthparts necessary to bite humans, and they primarily feed on liquids such as nectar or blood from open wounds.

However, houseflies can still be a nuisance as they can contaminate food and surfaces with bacteria that they pick up from their surroundings.


Flies are a common pest that most of us encounter on a daily basis. While there are several myths and misconceptions about these buzzing insects, it is important to understand the facts about them in order to effectively control their populations.

By understanding the habits and behaviors of flies, we can take steps to prevent infestations in our homes and outdoor spaces. This includes keeping our living spaces clean and free from rotting food, sealing up any cracks or gaps in our homes where flies may enter, and using insecticides and traps as needed.