General Question

likipie's avatar

What do houseflies eat?

Asked by likipie (1454points) January 28th, 2012

My little sister just turned 5 and she got a bunch of bug catching gear for her birthday. She woke me up this morning to show me that she caught a housefly! I told her after she looks at it for a while, she should let it go so it doesn’t die in her little “bug box” but she wants to keep it. I told her if she keeps it she has to feed it and such so we’re trying to figure out what houseflies eat.

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12 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Well, some species eat flesh. Some eat shit. They prefer a liguid diet.

To eat solid food: “The fly vomits saliva and digestive material onto its meal, and after a few seconds pass for the juices to break down the food, the fly sucks everything back up.”

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likipie's avatar

@marinelife she couldn’t have picked a bug that’s easier to feed?!? well thank you for your help!

Zaku's avatar

Poop seems to be a favorite of flies. Rotting food probably works too. You could experiment with food scraps.

I saw something incredible (and extremely gross!) last year, which was a fly trap designed to lure flies into a plastic bottle with water, which was hard for them to figure out how to escape, so more and more flies would end up inside it, eventually drowning in the water… well it had been there for a summer month or more, accumulating flies… so the water got an inch-deep layer of dead flies on it, under a swarm of living flies. Well, beneath the dead fly layer, it became THICK with little wormy spider larvae, eating the dead spider layer from below, apparently.

likipie's avatar

@Zaku as interesting as that is it is disgusting! It’s one of those things I wish I could see but after I see it I wonder why I looked in the first place! It is quite fascinating though. I tried to explain to my little sister that flies are NOT good pets to keep but she’s stubborn and insists on keeping it. But thank you for providing good information and some interesting things to think about while I eat my lunch!!

Zaku's avatar

@likipie Yeah, I thought about taking a photograph of it, but I didn’t because it was horrible.

Coloma's avatar

I’d be happy to send off some goose, horse, sheep, llama, mule, and donkey doo to help get you started with your little sisters fly keeping endeavor. A custom mixed bag of the finest fly feasting ingredients. ;-)

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Zaku Wormy spider larvae??

creative1's avatar

feed and and soon you will have maggots soon after…. which then will make more flies

samantha360's avatar

Everything… LOL

Zaku's avatar

@dappled_leaves Yeah, they were whitish and about 1–2cm long and 1–2mm wide if I remember correctly, packed side by side pointing up at the layer of dead flies. I assumed they were fly larvae, that is to say, fly maggots, laid by the flies and feeding on the fly corpses, and I think I am right from the pictures I see on the web. They looked about like this: http://bogleech.com/nature/fly-maggots.jpg

likipie's avatar

@creative1 Yeah, you’d think my mother would have thought of that before she agreed to let my sister keep it! Oh well, it’s not my fault if we end up with flies all over. I tried!

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Zaku Ok, that I could see. :)

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