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Best ways to swat flies?

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House Flies

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Sitting outside on a summer night sounds relaxing until the flies and mosquitoes arrive. their little eyes brain almost 1 million times Flies smaller than you can avoid almost any swat.

Flies can thank their fast and sophisticated eyesight and some nervous quirks for their ability to escape swat with such speed and agility.

our laboratory Investigating Insect Flight and Vision with the goal of finding out how such small creatures can process visual information to perform challenging behaviors, such as quickly escaping from a swatter.

faster vision

Flies have compound eyes. Rather than focusing light through a single lens that creates the entire image, the human eye’s strategy, the fly, forms an image built from multiple lenses. facet, the many individual lenses that focus incoming light onto clusters of photoreceptors, the light-sensing cells of the eye. Essentially, each facet produces an individual pixel of vision in flies.

The fly world is pretty low resolution. This is because a small head can only accommodate a limited number of facets. hundreds to thousands–And there is no easy way to sharpen blurry vision down to the millions of pixels that people actually see. and process it. Pest control services can be hired as well.

From how fast an animal’s photoreceptors can process light, we can infer how an animal perceives fast movement. humans are the largest About 60 individual flashes amount of light per second. Faster velocities are usually seen as stationary light. The ability to see individual flashes depends on lighting conditions and the part of the retina used.

For example, some LED lights to shoot discrete flashes so fast that they appear to be steady light to humans unless you turn your head. In peripheral vision, you may notice a flicker. This is because peripheral vision processes light more quickly, but with less resolution, like fly vision.

Surprisingly, some fly 250 flashes per second about four times more flashes per second than humans can perceive.

Bring one of these flies to a cineplex and you’ll instantly see a smooth movie made up of 24 frames per second as a series of still images, like a slide show. However, this fast vision allows you to react quickly to prey, obstacles, competitors, and your swatting attempts.

our research shows to fly Some lose of ability to see fast motion in low light while this may sound like a good opportunity to hit them, humans also lose the ability to see quick and sharp features in the dark. there is.

Flies and mosquitoes as they fly in the dark fly irregularly, and have a winding flight path to escape the swat. they can also rely on non-visual cues sensed changes in airflow when you move to attack, such as information from tiny hairs on your body.

Mosquito flight. Source: Intellectual Ventures.

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neural trick

But why do flies see more slowly in the dark? You may have noticed that your vision becomes dull, blurry, and colorless in the dark. This process is similar to that of insects. low light means fewer photons just like cameras and telescopes, the eye relies on photons to create images.

However, unlike good cameras that can switch to larger lenses and collect more photons in dark environments, animals cannot change the optics of their eyes. Summation neural strategy that adds together the input of adjacent pixels or increases the time to sample photons to form an image.

Larger pixels and longer exposures capture more photons. But at the expense of sharp imagesAddition is equivalent to taking a picture with grainy film (higher ISO) or slow shutter speed. underexposed your subject. fly, especially small onesin a way, they can’t see quickly in the dark because they’re waiting for enough photons to arrive until they’re sure what they’re seeing.

flight maneuverability

Flies need to be able to quickly sense an approaching threat, as well as fly away in an instant. This requires preparation for takeoff. fast flight maneuversDrosophila, for example, adjusts its posture after visually detecting an oncoming threat. a fifth of a second Before take off. such as predatory flies killer flylegs, wings, and halters (dumbbell-shaped wing remnants used to sense airborne rotation) to quickly catch prey in flight.
flight of flies. Notice how you adjust your attitude before takeoff. Source: New York Times.

The best way to swat a fly

To outsmart a fly, you have to attack faster than the fly can detect the approaching hand. With practice, this could be improved, but flies have been honing escape routes for hundreds of millions of years. So instead of swatting the flies, you’re better off managing flies in other ways, such as setting up fly traps or cleaning your backyard.

Escape behavior of flies in slow motion. Source: Florian Muijres et al, 2014 Science.

Certain flies can be lured into narrow-necked bottles filled with apple cider vinegar and beer.

As for mosquitoes, some over-the-counter repellents may work, but removing stagnant water around your home – with some plants, pots, or open containers – can help. eliminate spawning grounds and Reduce the number of mosquitoes around you from the beginning. Also avoid pesticides. harm useful insects such as bees and butterflies.

Jamie Theobald is funded by the National Science Foundation (IOS-1750833).

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