Flies, Order Diptera
Another huge and varied group of insects that gives humans a mixed bag of both beneficial and harmful organisms. Mosquitoes are a type of fly that throughout human history has probably contributed to more deaths than all the wars combined from transmitting the malaria parasite. Other fly transmitted diseases include yellow fever, dengue fever, and encephalitis such as West Nile. Others attack crops, livestock, pets and more. For as many pest species there are countless beneficial. The larvae of some flies are called maggots and help break down dead animals and other organic matter and are used in forensic investigations. Without these flies our landscape would be littered with corpses. Many, such as tachinid flies, help control other insects and spiders. Many flies visit flowers and aid in pollination. Fruit flies have been used for decades in genetic research. Some fly maggots are used to eat dead tissue in wounds. And all are important in the natural food chain.