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10 Fascinating Defense Mechanisms and Predators of Flies

The Surprising Defense Mechanisms and Natural Predators of Flies

Flies are a common sight, especially in the warmer months when they thrive. While they may seem like pesky nuisances that spread disease, flies have unique defense mechanisms that make them fascinating creatures.

In this article, we will explore the defense mechanisms of flies and their natural predators. From fast reaction times to sticky tongues, we will delve into the exciting world of these buzzing insects.

Defense Mechanisms of Flies

Fast Reaction Time

Flies have an impressive reaction time that allows them to avoid danger almost instantly. In fact, flies have a reaction time of up to 50ms, making them one of the fastest insects in the world when it comes to visual movement.

This allows them to evade predators or fly away from danger before they even realize what happened. This is why it’s tough to catch a fly in mid-air.

Ability to React to Movement Quickly

Flies can even react to sudden movements or changes in their environment quickly. They have the ability to process and respond to up to 250 images per second, allowing them to detect danger or changes in their environment before it’s too late.

This quick reaction time allows them to avoid being eaten by predators or run into dangerous objects.

High Reproduction Rate

Another defense mechanism of flies is their high reproduction rate. Female flies can lay up to 500 eggs in rotting fruits and vegetables in just 3-4 days.

This allows them to ensure that their species continue to thrive and survive despite the high mortality rate of flies.

Fast Life Cycle

Even the life cycle of flies is impressive in terms of how fast they can reproduce. It takes as little as 8-12 hours for an egg to hatch, and within a few days, it will develop into a maggot.

The maggots will eat and grow for several days before they pupate and emerge as adult flies, ready to start the cycle all over again. This quick reproductivity ensures that the fly population is never too low.

Natural Predators of Flies

Fly Predators

Believe it or not, fly predators are a real thing. Certain parasitic insects lay their eggs on the host pupa, and when the eggs hatch, the young will feed on the pupa itself.

This may sound gross, but it’s an excellent tactic for controlling fly populations. The fly predators also prevent the flies’ eggs from hatching, ensuring that the next generation of flies does not emerge.


Spiders are excellent predators of flies. They spin webs of silk that catch prey, including flies.

These webs are also covered in sticky saliva that immobilizes the fly, ensuring that it cannot escape. Once a spider senses that a fly has been caught, it will wrap it in more silk, ensuring that it stays caught.


Frogs are another predator of flies that have developed unique defense mechanisms. They have fast reaction times and sticky tongues that allow them to catch flies quickly.

Their camouflage also helps them catch flies sneakily. Fruit flies and house flies are some of the prey that frogs go after.


Lizards are versatile predators that have the ability to catch flies. They are chameleonic and can blend in with their surroundings, waiting for a fly to come close.

Once a fly comes within the lizard’s range, it will unleash its long tongue with spot accuracy, catching the prey in its mouth with sticky saliva.


Birds are common predators of flies that prey on maggots and adult flies alike. They have diets that include many types of insects, making them a valuable asset to the ecosystem.

The flies that they catch also contribute to soil health, which in turn helps plants grow.


Bats may seem scary, but they are fantastic hunters of flying insects, including flies. They can eat thousands of pesky bugs, including the flies that we see buzzing around our homes.

They are also important pollinators and help to control the overall pest population.


Surprisingly, fish are predators of some types of flies, too. They rely on surface tension to keep the pesky flies close to the water’s surface, where they can be caught.

Some types of fish, such as archerfish, will even shoot a jet of water to catch a fly.

Praying Mantises

Praying mantises are patient hunters that are also the fastest-moving insects in the world. They are strong and powerful, and they prey on adult flies.

They are also essential to certain ecosystems, making them a valuable asset to the overall food chain.


Opossums are omnivores and eat almost all types of insects, including maggots and trash flies. They are picky eaters, only hunting and eating the insects that they need to build fat for the winter.

They are abundant in North America, Australia, New Zealand, and China and play essential roles in those local ecosystems.


Dragonflies are fast-flying fly hunters and have been called the “fighter jet of the insect world.” They can fly up to 35 mph and catch prey that is up to 10-15% of their body weight. They prey on various types of flies, including houseflies and horseflies.

Predatory Insects

Lastly, many predatory insects hunt flies as well. These include parasitoid wasps, assassin flies, robber flies, ladybugs, and lacewings.

These insects lay their eggs on adult flies or their larvae, and the young feed on the flies, helping to keep the population in check. In conclusion, flies have unique defense mechanisms that make them a fascinating insect.

From their fast reaction times to their quick reproduction rates, they are truly impressive creatures. However, they are not without natural predators.

These predators have evolved unique skills and characteristics that allow them to catch and kill flies. This delicate balance in nature ensures that the fly population is kept in check, and we can all live without being bothered by too many of them.

In conclusion, understanding the defense mechanisms of flies and their natural predators not only showcases the wonders of nature but also highlights the importance of balance in the ecosystem. Flies may seem like pesky nuisances that spread disease, but their unique defense mechanisms and role in the food chain are essential.

On the other hand, the skills and tactics of natural predators ensure that fly populations are kept in check, contributing to the overall health of the environment. By appreciating the complexities of the natural world, we can gain a greater understanding and respect for all living creatures, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant.

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