This Is What It Means When a Fly Lands on You

We have all seen the annoyance of a fly that just won't leave you alone no matter how many times you try to scare it away - Vice President Mike Pence certainly did at the Vice President Debate on Wednesday October 7th. But have you ever thought about the motivation behind the fly's stubborn persistence? Why would it expend so much energy, or risk a fatal knock so readily, only to land on your arm for a spell, when there are endless other places to do it with no imminent danger in sight? You have to make something of it - and in fact, they are. We spoke to entomologists to find out what happens when a fly lands on you and why they choose to land on certain people. For more information on bugs, see The Most Painful Sting You Can Get From an Insect.
Flies are scavengers and they are a source of food.
Dotted lantern fly
When a fly lands on something, it is almost always because it believes it is a source of food. And that's certainly the case when it comes to why they land on people, says Dr. Nancy Troyano, Certified Entomologist and Director of Education and Training at Ehrlich Pest Control.
"They have a good sense of smell and will investigate smells that could be a potential source of food," says Troyano. "Humans give off [carbon dioxide] and heat, both of which can indicate a potential source of food for a fly. Humans also emit body odors that are attractive to flies." And for more interesting insect information, this deadly pest could be hiding in your bedroom, experts say.
They absorb the moisture from your skin.
flies amazing facts
The attraction Troyano is referring to can be triggered for several reasons. "The initial attraction can be as simple as something we've eaten or drunk. When we sweat, the smell, faint as it may be, becomes a powerful draw for a fly's delicate sense of smell," says Mike Duncan, associate Certified Entomologist and National Technical Manager at Truly Nolen Pest Control.
Flies cannot digest solid materials. So when they land on you, they "suck up" the moisture from your skin, "says Duncan." This process is done with their spongy mouth parts. So when you're watching, they keep dabbing on the skin to collect as much moisture as possible. "
And they pick up your dead skin cells.
Botfly, botflies
Another reason you may find a fly on your skin is because of the dead skin cells that you are constantly removing from your body. "They will use the collected moisture to vomit up the medium they land on in order to be able to absorb the liquefied medium for nutrition," says Duncan. For more information on some additional pesky malware, please visit If You See This Error You May Need To Quarantine It.
So they can leave some gross things on you.
tsetse fly
Aside from what they get from landing on your skin, flies often leave you something behind after they move on. "The biggest concern a person should have is that if a fly lands on [you] it is likely to have expired beforehand," Tommy Olschewske, technical instructor at Arrow Exterminators, told House Beautiful. Yikes This can include fecal particles and other less than hygienic substances. If you'd like more helpful information delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to our daily newsletter.

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