Have you ever swatted a fly away and watched it buzz off into the sky until you can no longer track the tiny speck as it goes higher and higher up into the sky for safety?
Have you ever wondered exactly how high a fly can reach before the atmosphere swats it away harder than you did?
Flies seem to go up as high as the sky allows, but they must run into a ceiling at some point.
We cover everything about how high can flies fly.
How High Can Flies Fly?
If it’s 50 degrees outside, flies won’t be able to fly very high at all before freezing to death.
If it’s 70 degrees, flies should be able to reach 3,000 feet in altitude.
If it’s 90 degrees, flies should be able to reach 5,000 feet.
Some flies have made it as high as 6,000 feet into the atmosphere, but that’s rare.
Altitudes of 5,000 and 6,000 feet may seem extremely high up there, but the mile-high city of Denver, Colorado, rests at about 5,279 feet, making flies extremely rare there.
Flies are much more common in warm, low-altitude locations.
Flies can thrive in temperatures around 50 degrees.
At 40 degrees, they start to experience serious physical failure.
At freezing temperatures, they die.
They can survive in shockingly hot temperatures up to 105 degrees.
As we get higher and higher up in altitude, the temperature gets colder.
Flies freeze to death before they die as a result of atmospheric conditions.
At What Altitude Do Flies Usually Fly?
Flies tend to stay close to the ground since most of the food and shelter can be found low in garbage cans, pipes, and houses.
Most flies fly at the human level, which is what contributes to how much of a nuisance they cause us.
What Insect Can Fly The Highest?
How do flies stack up compared to other insects?
Well, flies can actually reach the same altitude as most other insects.
Butterflies, however, can reach the highest heights.
Some butterflies have been found higher than 20,000 feet in altitude.
Butterflies also boast to be insects with the ability to travel the furthest (up to 4,000 miles).
Anatomy And Life Of A Fly
Flies have extremely complex compound eyes that act as the fly’s greatest defense mechanism.
They process multiple images at once from all directions.
Flies also have antennae that allow the insect to liquefy and consume its food.
The six legs and the hairs on the body of the fly give it the ability to taste food before eating it.
These hairs can also help the fly determine when a threat enters the area.
Naturally, flies also have wings to help them escape when a predator comes into the area.
Once flies reach maturity, they procreate rather quickly.
Breeding season varies based on location and the type of fly.
Around the world, flies breed throughout the year.
Some flies only procreate once, while others can procreate multiple times throughout their lives.
Flies lay eggs in compost but do not tend to them afterward.
Luckily, the eggs hatch quickly, where they emerge in the form of maggots and quickly develop into mature flies.
Do Flies Have Teeth?
Flies do not have teeth.
Since flies don’t have teeth or a tongue, flies use their legs and the hairs on their abdomen to taste items before eating them with their antenna.
Flies that bite don’t bite you with their teeth.
Rather, they bite you with scissor-like parts connected to their mouth.
Do Flies Sleep?
Flies do sleep.
Most of the time, flies sleep at night, but they may take naps during the day, too.
They do not need much time to sleep before waking up and feeding again.
Do Flies Poop?
Flies poop often, and they poop everywhere, including food, faucet handles, and even your skin.
The waste flies leave behind is the most dangerous part of having flies in the home.
Always rinse off the area after a fly lands on you.
Ideal Conditions For Flies
Warm, moist conditions are the best for house flies to breed and survive.
There are more flies in the South in areas with high humidity, such as Florida and Louisiana, compared to dry cold places.
However, flies are relatively resilient, and you will find them in all 50 states, especially in the summer months.
Flies thrive in both rural and urban areas.
Urban conditions attract house flies and drain flies more often, while rural areas attract more horseflies and sand flies.
As flies seem to live to procreate and die, when conditions are ideal, flies complete their life cycle more quickly.
When conditions aren’t ideal, it takes flies longer to procreate, and the life cycle takes longer.
Why Do Flies Fly Upwards?
If flying upward can lead to fatally freezing temperatures, why do flies do it?
There are several reasons a fly will fly upwards:
1. Crowded Conditions
When flies find themselves competing for food and shelter with other flies in a marsh where numerous flies laid eggs, they may choose to fly upward in order to get away from the competition.
2. Better Living Conditions
Flies like certain conditions conducive to happy lives with plenty of food and comfortable shelter.
Sometimes, flies find ideal conditions at higher altitudes than expected.
They won’t only move upward out of necessity if they notice a particularly appealing tree or rooftop.
If a fly is confronted by predators, such as humans, it may fly upward to avoid hazards.
In most cases, the fly won’t need to fly too high to feel safe again and come back down to feed again.
Different Types Of Flies
There are more than 100,000 different types of flies.
Knowing the fly you are encountering can help you take the proper action to remove it.
We can’t cover all of the different flies, but we can cover some of the most common flies found in the United States.
1. Drain Fly
A drain fly is a small fly only 1/16” in length that lives in plumbing and wet logs.
They thrive in conditions with high moisture levels, so you may notice them coming up from your kitchen drink or bathroom drain.
They are a serious nuisance, but they don’t bite humans.
Drain flies live for about two weeks.
However, they can start mating at about three days, giving them plenty of time to lay eggs before you kill them.
2. House Fly
House flies are usually a medium-sized 5/16” in length, and they feed off of decaying matter and garbage.
This is the most common fly you experience inside the home.
House flies do not bite, but they will leave their mark.
In the 30 days they live, they will lay about 500 eggs.
Fun fact: Have you ever felt like the house fly has eyes in the back of its head when trying to kill one with a swatter?
Well, their superhuman eyes do give them the ability to see behind them and process an insane number of images at one time, making them so elusive.
3. Fruit Fly
Fruit flies are yellow and 1/8” in length with reddish eyes.
As the name suggests, fruit flies tend to pop up around the fruit, especially rotting fruit.
They live for up to nine weeks.
They do not bite, but you may end up eating a fruit fly if you aren’t careful when eating a piece of fruit you left on the counter for too long.
A sandfly is brown and 3/8–1/2” long.
They are found around natural water, such as beaches and creeks.
They do bite, especially at night.
They only live for about two weeks.
Horseflies can get up to 1” long.
You will find them around wooded areas.
They live up to 60 days.
These flies bite actively, and the females require a blood feeding before they can reproduce.
They can cause serious damage to livestock, such as cattle or horses.
They will bite humans, too.
Dangers Of Flies
In most cases, flies aren’t necessarily dangerous.
Especially when dealing with house flies, drain flies, and fruit flies, these insects are more of a nuisance than anything else.
Plus, it’s embarrassing to bring people over to a home with flies.
Flies can also transfer disease.
Even the seemingly harmless house fly can transmit the diseases typhoid fever, cholera, E. Coli, and shigellosis, just to name a few.
Flies transmit disease through their own waste.
Flies poop often, and they leave it behind wherever.
If you notice flies on a particular surface, wipe the surface down once you kill the fly to avoid interacting with the fly’s waste.
Flies And The Environment
Flies tend to find themselves on the top of people’s lists of pests we can do without, right along with mosquitos, but flies actually play an important part in our ecosystem.
For starters, flies feed on things that are molding and decomposing.
Their feeding helps break down these ugly and potentially toxic items more quickly.
Furthermore, there are a number of insects and animals that feed on flies, such as spiders and birds.
Without flies, these animals may not be able to survive.
Keeping Flies Away From Your Home
You don’t need to share your living space with flies.
It all begins by taking away ideal conditions for breeding.
When flies can’t breed, they must leave to find a more suitable breeding locale.
After you take away ideal breeding conditions, you may still have some lingering troublemakers.
Some simple actions can get rid of the stragglers.
When you notice flies, try these tips to take action.
1. Lower The Temperature
As we mentioned, flies prefer warm weather.
If you need to get rid of flies, consider bringing your home’s temperature below 50 degrees for a while.
If the temperature is hot outside, this can end up costing a lot of money.
Plus, it’s not extremely effective as flies may temporarily move until the heat comes back.
2. Install Dehumidifiers
Many flies require humidity.
To remove the humidity in your home’s air, install dehumidifiers.
These devices soak up the moisture in the air to keep the air dry, disappointing all of the nearby flies.
You can install a dehumidifier as part of your complete HVAC system, or you can find individual units that will remove the air from a particular room if you need a more budget-friendly solution.
3. Fix Leaks And Clogs
Some moisture doesn’t live where you can see it.
Instead, it may exist in your home’s plumbing.
Fix leaks in your plumbing.
You should also fix clogs.
Leaks create moist conditions.
When leaks occur in the summer, flies can breed right in your pipes quite successfully.
Clogs usually contain food waste that can attract flies.
The old food in your pipes gets old and moldy over time, making it even more appealing to the flies.
4. Dispose Of And Store Food Properly
Flies’ primary reason for coming into your home is to find food.
If you leave old food on your counter, you are more likely to experience flies than if you keep the food stored in an airtight container in a cabinet or the fridge.
If you do have fruits and vegetables that you don’t want to put away, eat them quickly.
Old, moldy fruit and vegetables are more attractive than anything else.
Throw food away when you first notice it went bad.
Don’t forget to bring the garbage outside right away as the food can still attract flies from the garbage can, especially if you leave it for days.
5. Fly Swatters
Every home should have fly swatters.
Fly swatters quickly kill individual flies that make it inside of the home.
However, fly swatters don’t resolve the issue at the source.
They also lead to frustration when you find yourself confronted with a shockingly evasive fly.
6. Fly Repellants And Fly Traps
When preventative methods and fly swatters don’t work, you need to take more drastic measures.
Go to your local hardware store to look at the different products available when it comes to fly repellants and fly traps.
Fly Repellants usually put a chemical into the air that flies have an aversion to, causing them to leave the area.
However, you and your family need to breathe the repellant, too.
Look for natural products that won’t emit VOCs.
You can also place fly traps.
These traps work in the opposite way of repellants by attracting the flies with food then trapping them once the fly makes its way into the trap.
Flies have delicate systems that don’t thrive in conditions below 50 degrees.
Since the temperature gets colder the higher up we go, flies can go higher up in the atmosphere on hotter days compared to cold days.
Typically, this means flies can’t get higher than 3,000 to 5,000 feet high.
While some flies attempt these heights when conditions below aren’t satisfactory, they tend to prefer staying closer to the ground where the food is.