How high can a fly fly? It becomes an important question. There is no definitive answer; however, house flies may travel up to two miles with ease.
The majority of the time flies lay their eggs outside before entering our homes through weak points in the structure, such as ripped or damaged weatherstripping or window and door screens.
Flies can lay their eggs anywhere in the house, including in garbage cans, compost piles, feces, and rotting organic matter.
Female flies can lay between 75 to 150 eggs at once, which, when gathered together, only sum up to an approximate pea-sized size, making them quite challenging to distinguish.
Because they reproduce swiftly and in great numbers, houseflies are a common pest.
They occasionally go up to 20 miles from the location of their hatching, although they typically stay within one mile of their birthplace.
Due to their propensity to food waste like overripe or rotten vegetables, fruit flies—another prominent fly species—are typically seen inside homes.
Usually, they hitch rides on produce and other items carried in from outside inside the house.
Horse flies are rarely seen indoors and do not eat there, but they occasionally inadvertently enter homes through unlocked windows and doors.
How High Can a Fly Fly?
There is no definitive answer, however, house flies may travel up to two miles with ease.
Longer distances are feasible but necessitate special conditions and often only involve a few insects.
Low oxygen levels and temperature immediately come to mind when considering how high altitude would affect an animal, especially a fly.
Since little insects have a hard time thermoregulating, the temperature may be a significant factor.
In essence, an insect would have to work harder to maintain its flight the higher it is.
How Flies Set their Cruising Altitude
According to the researchers, the flies usually fly at the same height as nearby horizontal edges after establishing an altitude set point based on those features.
According to Michael Dickinson of the California Institute of Technology, “flying at a horizontal edge formed by local features — the top of a bush or a tree, say — could be a good way to lead into the perch.”
Prior studies had hypothesized that insects could regulate their cruising altitude by keeping the so-called “optic flow” beneath them at a constant value.
Imagine how quickly the ground moves beneath you during takeoff in an airplane and how that motion slows as you ascend higher into the air to get a sense of what this means.
How High Can Insects Really Fly?
Air density, temperature, and oxygen content are the three main factors that limit the height to which all living flying creatures can soar, whether they are birds, insects, or bats.
The air becomes thinner as you gain altitude.
Additionally, flying becomes more difficult as fewer and fewer air molecules are able to push against a bird’s or insect’s wings.
The same is true for oxygen, which is required for breathing and functioning in insects and whose levels drop to half that at sea level once you reach an altitude of 6,000 meters (20,000 feet).
The temperature lowers to roughly -20°C at that altitude.
The air is -50°C when you are 10,000 meters (40,000 feet) above sea level. Flies and bees’ small muscles that keep their wings beating at such temperatures stop working.
The discovery of some flies and butterflies at almost 6,000 meters, the greatest altitude at which scientists have ever discovered insects, is therefore not surprising (20,000 feet).
The termite responsible for this record was solitary, and it was caught in 1961 using insect traps mounted on a Super-Constellation aircraft.
The termite was the only bug they could detect when the plane traveled over 186,000 kilometers (116,000 miles) at a height of about 20,000 feet, therefore it is safe to assume that the ceiling for insects is at or near this level.
Stoneflies, mayflies, and locusts have been gathered by weather balloons a little lower, at around 5,000 meters (16,400 feet).
Alpine bumble bees were placed in a chamber that replicated the low air pressure of high altitudes as part of an unusual lab experiment conducted in 2014 by researchers under the direction of Michael Dillon, a researcher with the Department of Zoology and Physiology at the University of Wyoming.
The researchers discovered that some bumble bees could theoretically fly at elevations of roughly 9,000 meters (29,500 feet) in simulated settings, which is higher than Mt. Everest.
The researchers discovered that the bumblebees were forced to adjust by modifying the motions of their wings, swinging them across a broader arc to make up for the decreased air drag.
The authors do acknowledge that bees are unlikely to fly that high in the actual world, especially given the chilly temperatures that harm their muscles.
In any case, insects can soar into the sky without the use of wings. According to British researcher Jason Chapman, 3 billion insects can fly above in the UK during a breezy summer month.
The air traffic of insects rises as you descend toward the equator.
The wind disperses the majority of these insects, including numerous creatures without wings.
They are capable of traveling tens of thousands of kilometers and landing in an entirely new region of the globe.
Surprisingly, most insects make it through the arduous trek unscathed despite the choppy ride.
Astonishing Facts about House Flies
The most frequent insect we come across is probably the housefly, Musca domestica.
How much do you really understand about the house fly, though? Ten amazing details about house flies are provided below:
1. House Flies are Relatively Young Insects in the World
True flies are a primitive order that first formed on Earth more than 250 million years ago, during the Permian epoch.
However, compared to their Dipteran counterparts, house flies appear to be quite young. The oldest Musca fossils that have been found are barely 70 million years old.
This data implies that the earliest housefly relatives appeared during the Cretaceous period, just before the notorious meteorite that some believe caused the extinction of the dinosaurs dropped from the sky.
2. House Flies Live Almost Everywhere there are People
House flies are thought to have originated in Asia, although they are now found almost everywhere in the world.
House flies are found everywhere that people live, with the possible exception of Antarctica and a few islands.
Because house flies are synanthropic species, they gain ecological advantages from living alongside us and our domesticated animals.
House flies have accompanied humanity on their voyages to new regions throughout history, whether they were transported by ship, airplane, rail, or horse-drawn wagon.
House flies, on the other hand, are rarely encountered in the wild or in locations where there are no humans.
House flies might share humanity’s demise if it happens.
3. House Flies Multiply Quickly
We’d have a house fly infestation if not for the environment and predators.
Musca domestica has a brief life cycle that, under ideal circumstances, lasts about 6 days, and a female housefly typically produces 120 eggs at a time.
Researchers once made calculations to predict what would happen if a single couple of flies could reproduce indefinitely without any restrictions or risk to the offspring.
The outcome? In just 5 months, the two flies would create 191,010,000,000,000,000,000 house flies, enough to cover the entire planet to a depth of several meters.
4. House Flies Don’t Travel Far and Aren’t Fast
Do you hear that buzzing? A housefly’s wings may beat up to 1,000 times per minute, which is how quickly they move.
It wasn’t a typo. The fact that they typically fly slowly, at a speed of around 4.5 miles per hour, may surprise you.
When the environment requires it, house flies will move.
House flies have small territories and can only fly up to 1,000 meters in urban areas where there are many people living close to one another and there is a lot of trash and other filth to be found.
Rural house flies, on the other hand, will travel up to 7 miles in search of manure. The house fly’s recorded flight distance is 20 miles.
5. House Flies are on an All-Liquid Diet
House flies have mouthparts that resemble sponges, which work well for soaking up liquids but not for chewing on solid foods.
In order to find food, the house fly either look for food that is already in puddle form or devises a method of transforming the food source into something it can consume.
Things start to get quite disgusting at this point.
A house fly will regurgitate onto food when it finds something tasty but solid—which, if it’s buzzing around your barbecue, might be your food.
The digestive enzymes in the fly’s vomit attack the target snack, quickly predigesting and liquefying it so the fly can gulp it down.
6. House Flies Make their Living in Filth
The things we detest—garbage, animal dung, sewage, human waste, and other disgusting materials—are where house flies live and breed.
Most likely the most well-known and widespread of the insects we generally refer to as “filth flies” is Musca domestica.
House flies are especially prevalent in suburban and rural locations in fields fertilized with a fish meal or manure, as well as in compost piles that collect grass clippings and rotting vegetables.
7. House Flies Taste with their Feet
How can flies determine whether something is tasty? They trample it! House flies, like butterflies, have taste senses that are constantly alert.
Chemosensilla, or taste receptors, are found near the tips of the fly’s tibia and tarsal bones (in simpler terms, the lower leg and foot).
They begin walking around and tasting things as soon as they come across something of interest, whether it be your trash, a pile of horse manure, or possibly your lunch.
8. House Flies Transmit a Lot of Diseases
House flies have a nasty habit of bringing disease-causing substances with them from place to place because they thrive in environments that are loaded with viruses.
A house fly will land on a mound of dog waste, thoroughly inspect it with its feet, fly over to your picnic table, and then spend some time walking around on your hamburger bun.
They already have breeding grounds and food sources that are teeming with bacteria, so they add to the mess by vomiting and defecating on them.
At least 65 illnesses and infections, including cholera, dysentery, giardiasis, typhoid, leprosy, conjunctivitis, salmonella, and many more, are known to be spread by house flies.
9. House Flies Can Walk Upside Down
You undoubtedly already knew that, but do you know how they manage to defy gravity?
A house fly may be seen in slow motion video performing a half roll as it moves toward a ceiling before extending its legs to make touch with the substrate.
The house fly can hold practically any surface, from smooth window glass to a ceiling, thanks to the sticky pad on each of its tarsal claws.
10. House Flies Poop a Lot
Never poop where you eat is a proverb. sage, advice, most would say. Since house flies only consume liquids, food passes through their digestive systems fairly swiftly.
A house fly flies in almost constant feces.
The housefly nearly always feces where it feeds, in addition to puking on anything it thinks would make a nice meal.
The next time one lands on your potato salad, keep that in mind.
The easiest way to keep flies out of the house is to practice strict sanitation, which includes taking out the garbage every day, keeping all counter surfaces spotless, making sure all windows and screens are properly screened, and properly discarding any food that has gone bad.
If you have pets, keep up with waste removal by cleaning out the litter boxes and checking the yard for dog feces.