MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: Why do houseflies light on people and constantly harass them?

Date: Mon Sep 10 16:09:52 2001
Posted By: Gil Stoewsand, Faculty, Food Science & Technology, Cornell University
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 999617621.Zo

Houseflies, similar to all insect pests, locate their hosts, humans and 
animals, by way of the hosts' odors and the flies' visual stimuli. 

After locating their hosts, houseflies and other insects make contact and then
operate by taste, thermal and tactile stimuli. That is, if they like the
human's taste, warmth or feel, they will just hang around and annoy them. 
Insects have somewhat different tastes than humans do...
Sensitivity to stimuli may be optimal if people are dirty, sweaty, or just 
simply warmer than usual.

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