FACTS: The common house fly flaps its wings about 200 times a second, creating one of the world's least sonorous sounds! But fortunately, their buzz is worse than their bite. With only spongy mouthparts and no stinger, the house fly can't prick you (though it's country-cousin, the stable fly, looks similar and can inflict a nasty sting – as can horse flies, and many other relations).
Nevertheless, house flies are much more than just annoying aural afflictions. With a partiality to garbage heaps and excrement, house flies routinely pick up and distribute hundreds of diseases. In fact, a single fly can carry millions of bacteria. You really don't want that fly in your soup!
With a life-cycle measured in weeks, a dozen generations of house flies can be produced in a single year. And since a female house fly can lay up to 1,000 eggs in her time, the numbers quickly become astronomical. (If all the off-spring of all the house flies survived for just the summer, the planet would be 50 feet deep in house flies!)
Fortunately, house flies are subject to a world of dangers, from frogs to flyswatters. Malnutrition dooms most of the rest. Which is just as well, since they feed by regurgitating part of their last meal, along with saliva, onto the fresh dish and then slurp it up. (Yum!) So remember: flies take off backwards – swat behind them.
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