Flies use their compound eyes, antennae and bristles on their legs and feet to sense the world around them. They must be clean to ensure these sense organs work properly.
You may have noticed a fly rubbing its hands together, but this is not a menacing gesture as you might expect! This behavior serves several important purposes:
They Clean Their Hands
The first reason flies rub their hands together is to clean themselves. Flies tend to hang around dirty and grimy areas, so they can get covered in dirt, dust and other debris. By rubbing their hands together, they get rid of the dirt and other debris and keep themselves clean so that they can fly around more easily without being weighed down by excess debris.
Flies also rub their hands together to clean their taste sensors. The taste sensors on a fly’s legs are used to help them find food, smell odors and communicate with other flies. These sensors can get dirty from contaminating food or from touching other surfaces, so they need to keep them clean in order to perform their jobs properly.
When a fly sees an object, it rubs its taste sensors against it to make sure the texture is right for eating. If the food is hard or decaying, the fly may even vomit saliva over the taste sensor to decompose it a bit so that it’s easier to eat. Flies also use their taste sensors to find mates and communicate with other flies by smelling the chemicals they release.
Like our hands, a fly’s “legs” (or forelegs) are used for several different purposes, including cleaning themselves after eating, sensing odors and tasting food, grooming themselves, communicating with other flies and cooling down. This is why you’ll often see a fly rubbing its forelegs against each other, a behavior that can be seen on its head and wings as well.
While a fly’s hand-rubbing behavior can be seen as unsanitary and unsightly, it serves several important purposes. By rubbing its hands together, a fly can quickly and easily clean itself off after consuming food or navigating through a messy environment, as well as alert other flies of potential danger or food sources in the area and navigate indoors or outdoors without crashing into walls or windows. The rubbing of the hands also creates vibrations that can help a fly sense obstacles in front of it so that it can avoid them.
They Clean Their Taste Sensors
If you’ve ever spotted a fly hovering around your kitchen or crawling on a piece of food, you may have wondered why it kept rubbing its “hands” together. It looks like a menacing gesture but it’s actually an attempt to clean itself off. This isn’t just an act of hygiene—it’s a life-saving process.
Flies are infamous for their love of filth and grime but despite their insatiable craving for shit, they’re actually very clean creatures. As a result, one of the primary functions of fly-rubbing is to clean their legs. This gets rid of any physical or chemical detritus that would otherwise interfere with the flies’ sensors. These sensors are extremely important for flies since they need them to taste food, find mates and just about everything else.
In order to keep their sense of smell and taste in working order, flies need to keep the tiny particles that accumulate from every surface they touch to a minimum. These small particles can build up on their legs and even their eyes, preventing them from smelling or tasting the food they land on. Flies rub their legs and even their feet together to get rid of these particles.
Another reason flies rub their legs is to clear the taste sensors they have on their feet. When a fly lands on a piece of food, it ‘tastes’ it with its feet by walking over the different parts of the food to figure out whether or not it’s hard, soft or decaying. These taste sensors help flies eat food safely and avoid poisons and bacteria.
In addition to keeping their senses in working order, flies also rub their legs and feet together to remove excess heat from their bodies. This is especially useful when they’re in hot environments or if they’re stuck on a surface that’s too warm to walk off of comfortably.
Besides these obvious reasons, flies have a few other more subtle ways of cleaning themselves. For example, if a fly finds itself stuck in a tight spot and can’t move, it will rub its front legs together in an effort to create vibrations that alert other nearby flies of potential danger or food sources. It can also detect obstacles in its path to avoid crashing into walls or windows as it tries to escape the confines of its indoor or outdoor home.
Flies are often seen rubbing their hands together. While it may look like they are plotting how to annoy you next, they are actually performing a vital task. They are doing this to clean their hands and their taste sensors as well as communicate with other flies in the area.
When a fly lands on something it often picks up particles from the surface, such as dirt, food or animal dung. These particles then stick to the fly’s legs as it walks around. Rubbing its hands helps the fly to get rid of any such debris and keeps its legs clean so that it can continue walking without getting stuck in things.
The rubbing is also a way to warm up the fly’s hands. Flies can only survive in very cold environments if they are warm enough to keep their blood flowing and maintain a normal body temperature. Warming up the hands allows the fly to use its fangs and stingers in colder temperatures as well as keep itself warm while it waits for its mate or its next meal.
It’s not just the hands that flies rub together, they often do it with their front legs too. This helps them settle their hair and creates a larger surface area for heat to dissipate. It also allows other flies to hear the vibrations created when the fly rubs its front legs which lets them know about food sources, mating opportunities and dangers in their surroundings.
Flies may seem like dirty creatures given their propensity for lurking around rubbish, rotting foods and even human faeces but they take grooming very seriously indeed. Rubbing their legs and hands gets rid of any physical or chemical detritus as well as cleaning the smell receptors which are important for flying, finding food, searching for mates and just about everything else that a fly does.
While flies are often regarded as pests and some species can carry disease, they have an important role to play in the natural ecosystem. They help with the decomposition of rotting organic matter and are crucial food sources for many reptiles, frogs and other insects. If we can stop them from pestering us and invading our homes, they will continue doing their work for the rest of the world.
They Keep Warm
Flies have very delicate legs, which is why you’re probably wondering why they keep rubbing their hands together. Though this behavior may look menacing, it’s actually a way to clean themselves off from the food they eat, the bacteria and dirt that accumulate on their legs when walking around outside or inside your home, and any other contaminants. The rubbing also helps to warm up the legs since it creates friction that generates heat.
It’s important for flies to keep their legs as clean as possible, as they tend to live in areas that are teeming with bacteria and other contaminants. This also allows them to sense their surroundings better, as the rubbing of the legs and wings creates vibrations that help flies sense obstacles or dangers before they fly into them.
Flies’ feet are also covered in tiny hairs, which is why you often see them rubbing them together as well. These hairs are sensitive to smells and can even taste food, so flies need to keep them clean in order to properly navigate their environments. If a fly smells a meal that it wants to eat, it will rub its front legs and wings together to taste it before it lands on it.
Similarly, if a fly smells a mate or potential predator in its environment, it will rub its legs and wings together to communicate with other flies about what it has detected in the area. This is known as “stridulation” and it can be heard as low-pitched buzzes or high-pitched chirps depending on the species of fly in question.
Although flies can be annoying, they are an essential part of our ecosystem. They play an important role in the decomposition of organic matter, provide food for predators and parasites, and serve as a pollinating agent in many plants. The key to keeping a fly population under control is practicing good sanitation habits inside and out, which includes always keeping garbage cans closed tightly, cleaning up spilled food immediately, covering pet dishes when not in use, trimming lawns regularly and sealing off drains correctly.