SCIENCE OF SUMMER: Ottawa researcher tells us why we shouldn't hate flies

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By Tom Spears, Ottawa Sun, August 30, 2019

Jeff Skevington thinks flies don’t get enough respect.

We hate flies, mostly: Black flies, house flies, deer flies and more. But Skevington looks past these pests to the far more beneficial flies that shape our farms and garden: flower flies.

These are the flies that pollinate our flowers and food crops. Bees get all the credit, he says, “but flies pollinate about one-third of the crops we eat, so that’s quite a lot.”

As well, flies are tricky. The bees that pollinate flowers look like bees and wasps for the most part — black and yellow insects that use a well-known technique in biology called mimicry. The defenceless fly that looks like a species with a stinger doesn’t get eaten by birds.