Every summer you hear people wonder why flies are attracted to them, and no one ever seems to come up with a good answer!
This guide will help you understand why flies are attracted to you, why they land on you, and why they follow you.
Table of Contents
Why Are Flies Attracted To Me?
Flies are simple pests. While most people associate these insects with garbage and filth, they have a penchant for following humans and hanging around despite your best attempts to swat them away.
So, why are flies attracted to you?
The most common reason why flies are attracted to you is sweat! These bugs rely heavily on their sense of smell to navigate the world. In most cases, smells guide the flies to valuable sources of food.
Believe it or not, your sweat is actually a great source of nutrition for flies.
When you start sweating on a hot summer day, your body can produce sweat throughout your body. It can appear on your forehead, under your arms, and more. If you get sweat in your mouth, you’ll notice it has an overbearingly salty taste.
That saltiness is a big attractant for flies. But that’s not all. Sweat is also rich in nutrients like carbohydrates and proteins. Your skin even exudes salt and sugar.
Flies follow you around to get a taste of those nutrients!
Expert Tip: Scientists believe that the smell of nutrients on your sweat is one of the biggest reasons flies follow you around. However, it’s also said that moisture and body heat comes into the equation. Flies like to lay eggs in a humid environment.
Your body fits that description when you’re drenched in sweat.
2. Body Odor
With sweating and heat often comes body odor. Flies tend to gravitate toward strong smells. That includes body odor.
One important thing to remember is that flies are attracted to many body odors. Everyone smells different when they sweat. Don’t assume that you wreak just because you have flies around you.
Some people have a sweeter body smell. If you wear perfumes and other fragrances, sweat and natural odors can mix to create an irresistible aroma for flies. But it doesn’t necessarily mean you stink to other humans!
Everyone has body odor, but flies tend to be attracted to the most potent sources (who they’ll land on). So the more you sweat or less often you bathe, the more likely flies will stick around.
3. Cuts & Wounds
Do you have any cuts or open wounds? As gross as it is to think about, those wounds could be why flies are attracted to you.
Here’s a disgusting fact you probably don’t want to know: Flies like to lay eggs in moist, odorous locations with plenty of easy access to fluids they can drink up. That means your wound is a prime spot to expand the fly population!
Your injury provides tons of nourishment, and flies will try to get to it even as you try to shoo them away.
The good news is that flies rarely lay eggs in open wounds. Your immune system would immediately attack them, so it’s not something you actively have to worry about in the modern era. However, you should always take steps to cover your open wounds.
Doing so will make it harder for flies to get to. Covering will also seal the smell, preventing it from wafting into the air and attracting these insects in the first place.
4. Oily Skin
Flies could be attracted to you because of the oils you carry in your skin and hair.
Your body produces oil around the clock. You might not notice or even feel it on your skin at the end of the day. But when you forgo showers for days on end? That’s when the oil starts to accumulate.
Oil from your scalp can seep into your hair, producing that gross dirty feeling. Meanwhile, the oil accumulates on your skin to make your body odor stronger!
Some types of oils can be harmful to flies. Plant extracts and essential oils tend to keep them away. But your body oil? That’s something that flies love to be around!
5. Clothing Color
Did you know that some flies have a strong attraction to color? It’s a strange phenomenon to observe, but some flies seem to prefer one type of color over another. So you might attract tons of flies while the person sitting next to you wearing a completely different color has no issues at all!
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the color itself. The thing that attracts flies is the color’s effect on heat.
Flies are thermotropic insects. That means they move with consideration to heat sources. Depending on their needs, they might move closer to sources of heat or away from them.
What’s color have to do with heat?
Darker colors absorb and retain heat more than lighter colors. So if you’re wearing a black shirt, don’t be surprised if you keep attracting flies!
Some flies also mistake specific colors for food. For example, horse flies think that people wearing dark clothes are the large animals they feed on, such as cattle and horses. Meanwhile, bright colors are prime targets for tsetse flies!
Why Are Flies Overly Attracted To Me And Not Others?
There’s nothing more annoying than having flies be overly attracted to you while others around you aren’t experiencing any trouble. It can definitely make people self-conscious.
But why does it happen?
It’s important to remember that flies aren’t targeting you as a person. They’re buzzing around you because they’re attracted to your smell. Whether it’s the sweetness of your perfume or the more intense subtlety of the oil in your hair, those are the things the flies want.
If flies seem to be attracted to you but no one else around you, they prefer your smell profile.
They’re keeping close to you because they hope to use you as a food source, a place of shelter, or even a host for eggs. Don’t worry: Flies can’t really use you for any of those purposes. But they don’t know that, so they keep circling you, hoping to get whatever smell draws them in.
So does it mean you smell bad if flies are attracted to you? Not necessarily. Some things we find pleasant, such as lotions and perfumes, are also attractive to flies.
These insects can also detect subtle scents from great distances. So even if it’s body odor, sweat, and oil bringing them in, the aroma could be so subtle that you and others around you don’t smell it yet!
Why Do Flies Follow Me?
You might notice that flies only follow you without making physical contact. Consider yourself lucky! Flies are fully capable of landing on you, and some might even bite your skin and cause irritation.
So why do some flies follow you and circle endlessly instead of landing on you?
Once again, it all comes down to smell. Flies will follow you if you have the smells they like. But they usually don’t attempt to land if they don’t see a viable place to get to the source. For example, they might sense your body odor but have no means to access the sweat on your body because you’re covered up!
Make no mistake: These insects will try! Flies have a penchant for flying close to faces, buzzing around ears, and being general nightmares. These bugs can zip out of harm’s way within 100 milliseconds of detecting danger, so they have no qualms about putting themselves close to death traps.
The only thing you can do about flies following you around is to improve your hygiene habits. Rid yourself of the smells they like, and most flies will leave you alone.
If they’re hanging around a specific room or corner of the house, do a little digging to find out what smell is drawing them in. It could be some old dog food hidden by your canine companion or even a dead mouse in the walls!
Either way, removing the source of the smell should do the trick.
What Do Flies Do After Landing On You?
After dealing with that incessant buzzing, you notice it suddenly stops. So you look down at your arm only to see that the fly landed on you!
What is it doing?
Flies can land on you for a few different reasons. Depending on the species, it’s usually pretty harmless. Some variants can leave a nasty bite or pierce the skin to start sucking your blood. But common houseflies do none of that.
As you can probably guess, flies land on you primarily to get a taste of the thing attracting them. That could be sweat, oil, or body odor.
You usually can’t see it with the naked eye, but flies often use their mouthpiece, called a proboscis, to suck up fluids. They might also use it to pick up dead skin cells and attempt to pick up nutrients.
When flies land you, they’re essentially feeding on you! Even if they don’t use their mouths, flies might try to get a sense of where the aromas are coming from. These insects have taste receptors on their feet, so investigating doesn’t take much.
They can walk around, see what types of nutrients are on your skin, and figure out how to get them.
In some cases, flies might also land on you to take advantage of your body heat. You’re most likely to experience that if you’re wearing dark clothes.
Types Of Flies That Follow You Around
When people hear the word “fly,” most picture those pesky black houseflies. However, there are more than 110,000 species in the world today! Luckily, you won’t experience nearly that many in your home.
Only a few common species are known to follow humans around and even land on them.
Black House Flies
These pests are the most common. As the name implies, these are the annoying insects that often get into your home and invade your personal space.
These insects are predominantly attracted to strong smells of trash and decaying plant matter. These bugs feed on aromatic fluids and use trash as a way to spread the fly population.
Have you ever accidentally left food so long that maggots started appearing? Maggots are housefly larvae! In those cases, the flies saw an opportunity to use the decaying food as a safe spot to lay eggs and feed the young.
Fruit flies are those annoying pests that buzz around fresh fruit! They look like standard house flies, but they’re much smaller. The bugs feed on fruits, eventually laying their eggs inside them.
If fruit flies are attracted to you, it’s likely due to your sweat. These bugs love the sugars and salts your body produces when sweating. It may even be attracted to your sweet-smelling perfume.
The bugs come close to investigate the source of the smell.
Blowflies look similar to standard houseflies but have a greenish hue and metallic body. These flies are more dangerous than others. They can transmit diseases and cause infections in humans.
That’s because they’re attracted to dead animals or feces. When you see maggots squirming around in a dead animal you uncover in your backyard, they usually come from Blowflies.
The good news is that blowflies aren’t attracted to things like sweat and body odor, so you don’t see them following humans around too often. The bad news is that if they are gravitating towards you, there’s probably something gross on you producing a pungent smell.
Easy Ways To Stop Attracting Flies
Dealing with the constant annoyance of flies is never fun. These pests are small and relatively innocuous. But they can quickly wear thin on your patience!
So how do you stop attracting flies?
The best thing you can do is to pay more attention to your cleaning habits. These flies are attracted to strong smells. So the best way to stop drawing them in is to ensure you’re not carrying any of those aromas!
Again, seeing flies following you around doesn’t always mean you stink! But it does mean that you have some sweat or body odor wafting into the air.
For example, you can switch soaps and shampoos to do a better job of addressing oils.
Another good tip is to avoid using super-strong products. Dousing yourself in sweet fruit-based perfume isn’t a good idea when flies are an issue. Even intense-smelling deodorant can cause problems!
Consider switching to more fragrant-neutral products. Many brands make fragrance-free options to accompany the more aromatic alternatives, making it easier than ever to get rid of those smells.
Another option is to use essential oils. Remember how we said that some flies could keep flies away? Now is your chance to take full advantage of them!
While the flies love body oil, essential oils like eucalyptus, lavender, and peppermint are too intense for these tiny bugs. They hate the smells and will often fly in the other direction! You can also try:
Anything with a strong aroma should work well.
You can also use candles. Citronella candles, for example, disperse the oil into the air and provide a nice invisible buffer for flies.
Some pest control experts also recommend using striped clothing. This tip will only work well if color is the predominant reason you’re a fly magnet. It’s a good option if horse flies and tsetse flies are causing problems.
Stripes are an impressive defense mechanism for anyone who attracts flies. Look no further than zebras in Africa for proof! Scientists are still trying to figure out why flies avoid stripes, but the combination of light and dark colors could throw them off.
If you have any wounds, cuts, or insect bites, cover them up! As mentioned earlier, flies love to look for injuries they can take advantage of for nutrients and egg-laying. Covering it up with sealed bandages will keep the smell contained and prevent flies from moving in.
You can extend that coverage to your face and eyes, too. Some flies will focus exclusively on the face if you have watery eyes. Your breath after eating sweets could attract pests, too. Covering your face with glasses or a scarf could block the smells and help you go through fly-infested areas without any issues.
Finally, you can always use commercial repellents. Repelling sprays are a quick and easy way to keep flies under control. While most people only use these products to tackle mosquito issues, they’re effective on average flies, too!
Look for products with active repellents like DEET or picaridin. DEET repellents can mask your smell. The chemical overwhelms a fly’s senses, making it difficult for the bugs to track your scent as you move. It also prevents them from landing on you, which is always a plus.
Now that you know why flies are attracted to you, you can start taking some steps to keep them away! While these little bugs are persistent, it’s totally possible to minimize how much they pester you.
We hope you found this guide helpful. As always, if you have questions you can always ask us directly.