Can you swat a fly?


| 4 Comments

green-bottle-fly-illustration_1500x1200.jpg


As I was wracking my brain for topics for my blog post, I read an interesting title on Yahoo called "Why Its So Hard to Swat A Fly." I was intrigued immediately. I can't even count the number of times I've tried to kill a fly and ended up feeling like an idiot because I looked like I was just swatting the air. Flies are so harmless, yet they are the biggest aggravation.

I've always thought flies are so fast because their eyes are huge and they have peripheral vision. It turns out flies have a compound eye which is made up on visual receptors to create their field of vision. Interestingly enough, flies can't focus on one image because they receive information from all different points at once.  Personally, that would give me a huge headache.

Michael Dickinson, a professor at Caltech, has done a lot of research regarding the biomechanics of insect flight. He finally answered the question of why it's so hard to swat flies.

Flies have the ability to calculate the location of the threat (us) and they develop an escape plan. They place their legs in the best position to get out of the way if the threat imposes on them. Upon spotting the threat, flies take about 100 milliseconds to develop this plan and place themselves in the right position. No wonder they move so fast.


4 Comments

Hi Sara! The topic you chose is really unique but totally relatable. I couldn't even tell you the amount of times I tried swatting a fly. I was quite unsuccessful in every attempt. I also always wondered why and now after reading this post I don't feel completely uncoordinated!

This is actually an interesting article. I never really thought about why it was so hard to swat a fly before! It's crazy to think that they have all that information flying around in their heads at one time... definitely would give me a headache too!
This article I found gives tips on how to successfully swat a fly! http://www.ebay.com/gds/10-Ideas-About-How-to-Successfully-Swat-a-FLY-/10000000012445835/g.html

This article actually made me laugh. I know exactly how you feel when you say you actually feel like an idiot when your try to swat a fly away. I try all the time and fail miserably as well. This kind of reminds me of the movie Karate Kid when Daniel catches the fly with chopsticks (in case you don't know what I'm talking about watch this .... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1gAHil89Z4). I swear he got lucky. If I tried to do that, I'd look so dumb.

I find flies so annoying and always hate it when they are flying around inside of a house. I have learned a few tricks about how to kill them and surprisingly I find that a fly swatter is not always the best tool. I find the easiest way to finally get them is either using a spray bottle with water or a balled up towel which when swung forces the fly to the ground from the air it pushes.

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