Q:

Why do flies bite?

A:

Quick Answer

Like mosquitoes, flies bite to take blood from the host. Also like mosquitoes, they insert anti-coagulants into the bite to keep the blood from clotting. Horse flies have a particularly painful bite.

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Why do flies bite?
Credit: Martin Cooper CC-BY-2.0

Full Answer

Biting flies are not only annoying, they can also be harmful. Some people have allergic reactions to the bites, especially horse flies and black flies. In addition, certain species of flies can transmit diseases. For instance, a type of deer fly in the United States is able to transmit tularemia, which is a type of bacterial disease. Similarly, biting midges can give the blue tongue virus to cows and other animals.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why do flies bite before it rains?

    A:

    Dr. Ken Paige, professor and Associate Head of the Department of Animal Biology at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, states flies bite before it rains due to the decrease in barometric pressure. As the barometric pressure drops, flies feed instinctively to increase the odds that they survive the upcoming storm.

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  • Q:

    Do fruit flies bite people?

    A:

    Common household fruit flies of the species typically found in kitchens and around ripening fruits do not bite. These insects, sometimes called vinegar flies, are attracted to fruit because of the vinegar released as a byproduct during the natural fermentation process.

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  • Q:

    Do fruit flies bite?

    A:

    Fruit flies cannot bite and have no teeth or mouth parts capable of puncturing skin. However, they are often confused with gnats, which can bite. Fruit flies are often found around rotting fruit, whereas gnats are typically found in wet outdoor areas.

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  • Q:

    What do flies symbolize?

    A:

    The exact meaning of the fly varies among different cultures, but the fly is often symbolic with death, rotting, pestilence and upcoming change. In nature, flies are decomposers and feed on dead, decaying animals, fecal matter and trash. This is one of the reason that flies are often associated with death or sickness.

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