Flies help plants grow by pollinating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. The adults of flies do this by feeding on the nectar and pollen, which are important sources of nutrients for plants. In contrast to bees, which actively collect pollen and bring it back to their nest, flies passively transport pollen from flower to flower.
While some species of flies are beneficial to plants, many others can be very harmful to them. Some species of flies, such as mealybugs and scale insects, can cause significant damage to plants. Some flies can even feed on the cell contents of a plant, causing stunted growth and wilted leaves.
Scientists are working to identify the type of flies that best serve the needs of a particular crop. They are developing the right breeding techniques to help farmers identify the right species for their specific crops. They are also testing candidate flies on a variety of crops, including mangoes, blueberries, and vegetable seed.
While flies are pests where humans live, they play a critical role in natural ecosystems. Some species serve as indicators of water quality, while others are important pollinators for certain plant species. Interestingly, flies also help break down organic matter, which makes soil more fertile.