One of the best-loved bits on Sesame Street involves the mustachioed Muppet, Mr. Johnson, trying to explain to Grover the waiter that there is a fly in his soup. Grover searches over the soup, under the soup, anywhere but in the soup. When the exasperated Mr. Johnson finally persuades Grover to take the soup back, Grover returns with a bowl of “Cream of Mosquito.” In real life, a fly in your soup in your soup may truly feel as unappetizing as a bowl of mosquitoes, but what really happens when a fly lands on your food? Here are some things you need to know when those pesky insects swoop in for a landing on your plate.
7. Flies Eat Garbage
The common house fly lives on a diet of human food and waste. They enjoy our fresh fruits and vegetables as well as the decaying scraps in our compost piles and garbage cans. Flies will not hesitate to make a meal of feces. Sugary sodas, juice, beer, and fermenting liquids are all fair game when it comes to flies. In addition, flies lay their eggs on food so their larvae can begin feasting as soon as they hatch. Larvae, more commonly known as maggots, will feast on rotting vegetables, decomposing animals, and fungus. Sharing your plate with critters that also enjoy making a meal of feces and rot can be a very unappetizing proposition.
6. Flies Spit Up Enzymes to Digest Their Food
Flies don’t have teeth, so you won’t catch them taking a bite out of your sandwich. Instead, flies vomit up enzymes from their stomachs to begin the digestive process. Amylase is a digestive juice found in the stomach of flies. When this enzyme comes in contact with your food, it begins breaking it down into smaller parts. After this digestive process has begun, the fly is able to drink the food up through its tube-like mouth part, called the proboscis. This means that if a fly lands on your food, it is likely leaving behind some fly puke.