You’ve probably seen flies rubbing their hands together, but have you ever wondered why they do it? There’s a simple explanation for this behavior that has nothing to do with devious machinations.
Fly grooming is a very important part of their lifestyle. It gets rid of any physical or chemical detritus and cleans their smell receptors to help them fly better, find food and attract or search for mates.
1. To Clean
If you’ve ever watched a fly rubbing its hands together, you may have wondered why they did it. It may seem like a devious prank, but there’s a simple reason flies rub their hands together: They want to clean themselves!
When a fly walks around on any surface, there are many tiny particles that it can collect. This can lead to a buildup of bacteria that can make the fly sick. To prevent this from happening, flies need to clean themselves often.
They also need to get rid of dirt, dust and other grit that can accumulate on their bodies. Fortunately, flies have a very efficient cleaning process that they use to sanitize themselves.
One way flies do this is by rubbing their hands against their heads, wings and hind legs. This helps them clean the dirt off of their bodies and also spreads a liquid over their bodies that has antimicrobial properties to help kill bacteria that might be on the surface.
Another reason flies rub their hands together is to help them wash off any dust or pollen that might be on them. This is important for flies since it can affect their sense of smell and taste.
When a fly is covered in dust, it can take up to 15 minutes to clean the grit off of its body. That’s a lot of time for a tiny creature to spend. In order to save time, flies must have a thorough and efficient cleaning routine.
Andrew Seeds, a postdoctoral researcher in Simpson’s lab, found that flies clean themselves in a certain sequence. They start by rubbing their head and eyes with their front legs, then they use their hind legs to clean the abdomen (the back part of the fly’s body), wings and thorax.
But Seeds noticed that a few flies were not following this particular pattern and were instead performing their cleaning activities in a random order. He speculated that flies might be trying to organize their cleaning efforts into a sequence that makes the process easier for them to understand and control.
2. To Communicate
If you’ve ever caught a fly landing on your food, you might have noticed them rubbing their hands together. This behavior seems odd and even comical, but it actually serves a very important purpose for these insects.
Despite their reputation as dirty creatures that spread germs, flies follow a strict hygiene and grooming routine. This helps them stay healthy and live a long life.
Grooming is essential for flies because it gets rid of any physical or chemical detritus on their bodies. This includes dirt, grime, pollen and fungus. It also clears their smell receptors, allowing them to sense what is around them and where they should go next.
This rubbing behavior is also helpful for flies when they’re flying, as it makes them less likely to scuff their legs and feet on surfaces that can cause a host of health problems, including infections.
Another reason why flies rub their hands together is that it communicates with other flies in the area. When a fly rubs their hands, it creates vibrations that alert other nearby flies of potential food sources or danger in the vicinity.
They can also use these vibrations to detect obstacles in front of them, such as walls and windows, which can help them navigate without crashing while flying. This is especially helpful when it’s cold outside and temperatures drop significantly below freezing.
In addition to rubbing their hands, flies also run their legs over their heads and other body parts when they’re grooming. This behavior can also indicate that flies are searching for a partner.
Finally, flies use their antennae and bristles to sense the environment around them. When a fly lands on something, its tiny hairs send signals to its brain that tell it whether or not the item is safe to eat.
The key to understanding why flies rub their hands together is to remember that these insects aren’t aggressive, and they do not want to be rude. They just want to maintain a clean and healthy environment so they can survive. By understanding their reasons for this behavior, you’ll be able to effectively keep your home free of flies and other pests.
3. To Prepare For Flying
The next time you see a fly, look closely at the way it rubs its hands together. Flies do this for a variety of reasons, including cleaning themselves, communicating with other flies, and preparing for flying.
First, flies rub their hands together to clean themselves of bacteria that can accumulate on their legs. This behavior is important because flies are susceptible to bacteria and other toxins in the air.
Flies also rub their hands together to get rid of dirt and grime that accumulates on their body. This helps them fly more efficiently and prevents them from being weighed down by excess dirt and dust particles that can interfere with their movements.
Another reason why flies rub their hands together is because it’s part of their hygiene routine. As flies walk around, pollen, dust, germs, and microbes can get stuck to their legs, wings, and bodies.
These particles can affect their sensory ability to determine what they’re eating or standing on, which is why flies need to constantly clean themselves.
A common example of this is the housefly, which regularly rubs its legs together to clean them off.
Some flies also rub their feet together to get rid of small hairs on the bottom of their feet that can help them sense their surroundings. When these hairs become dirty, flies need to brush them away to keep their feet and legs clean so they can properly navigate the environment.
Other flies also rub their faces together as a form of grooming. This helps flies remove any dirt or debris that may be on their faces and allows them to spread secretions from glands near their eyes that can protect them from disease-causing organisms.
Before you go on your first flight, it’s a good idea to pack things like gum, small snacks, earbuds, and a phone charger in your carry-on. These items will come in handy if you need them during the flight, and will make the experience a lot easier for you.
4. To Dissipate Heat
One of the most frustrating things about living in a house is the sudden appearance of flies inside your home. They can swarm your space and be disruptive, especially when they make their way indoors during summer events such as picnics or barbecues.
When a fly comes in contact with a sticky surface, it usually rubs its hands together to clean off any dirt or debris that may have accumulated on its body from the previous object it touched. It also rubs its feet against different parts of its body to remove any tiny particles that may have stuck to them from the previous object it touched as well.
Another reason a fly might rub its hands together is to dissipate heat. It does this by creating friction between the molecules in its hands and legs which increases kinetic energy and transfers it to the air, where it can be diffused into the surrounding area. This increased kinetic energy can help the hand to become warmer, which is especially helpful during cold weather.
Researchers have discovered that fruit flies use neurons called Hot and Cold Cells to sense temperature. These cells signal the flies’ brains that it’s too hot or too cold, and this can lead to changes in behavior.
The Hot and Cold Cells are thought to be a way for the flies’ bodies to regulate their internal temperatures, as they try to find the right temperature that is both comfortable and safe. Now, scientists have found that flies also use their hands and legs to dissipate heat through the hairs on their bodies.
This process helps them keep cool during very hot days as it allows more heat to dissipate from their bodies by increasing the surface area that is available to allow heat to leave them. The flies also use the friction generated from the hand-rubbing to ensure that they stay warm and don’t freeze up during winter when temperatures can drop significantly below freezing point outside.
Besides helping flies cool down, the hand-rubbing process can also help them to navigate around more quickly as they are not constantly crashing into one another while running, jumping, and climbing. This is important because flies can’t always move as fast as humans can, and this makes it more difficult for them to keep track of their surroundings without losing sight of where they are going or how to get there.