The conversations of life

Have you ever wondered why it’s so hard to swat a fly?

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It turns out there is an answer, according to researchers from the University of Sydney and CSIRO.

It’s their superior vision. Flies have up to 6,000 ommatidia, or mini lenses, in each eye that can see us approach in “slow motion”.

Using super slow-motion video cameras, they found that the flies are able to freeze, reposition themselves and coordinate their legs and wings to move in the opposite direction to any threat – before our eyes have a chance to spot their escape.

The researchers says there are a few things you can do to ward the pests off.

These include screening doors and windows, keeping backyards clear of garbage and animal droppings, covering garbage bins and planting native carnivorous plants. You can use insect spray too, but these can harm other insects.

Of course, there is always the humble fly swat. I have to confess though I’ve never been able to hit anything with it.

Flies: 1. Lauren: 0.

Lauren Broomham

Lauren is a journalist for villages.com.au, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.


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