Entomology, Department of
Date of this Version
Circular No. 10
INSECT PEST AND PLANT DISEASE BUREAU OF NEBRASKA, ENTOMOLOGY DIVISION, AND OFFICE OF STATE ENTOMOLOGIST
"Of what use are flies, anyway?" This and similar questions have frequently been asked of the writer by persons who seem to think that each and every living thing has been created solely for some special benefit to man.
Primarily the common house fly (Musca domestica), together with several of its allies which habitually frequent human habitations, are scavengers. In this role they assist in the removal of filth and litter of various sorts that too often are permitted to accumulate in the vicinity of our homes, schools, offices, and ' places of business or pleasure. These flies lay their eggs upon such materials as manure, decaying vegetable matter, sewage, and other filth. The resulting maggots devour these substances, hence are, to a considerable degree, beneficial. The house fly has become so widely and generally disseminated in its distribution over the earth's surface that it may be considered cosmopolitan. Although primarily a denizen of human habitations, it seems to be present also in such out-of-the-way places as uninhabited localities in dense forests, wide prairies, and wild mountain fastnesses. In localities like these latter it is very quickly attracted by the odor of different foods upon which it congregates along with several other kinds of dies possessing similar food-habits. Since the life-history of several different species of these flies is somewhat similar, that of one of them will answer for all, so far at least as present purposes are concerned.