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Flies Are Important, Not Just Annoying

Making It Grow Minute

  Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. My mother used to say she hated flies worse than sin. Her sweet and kind oncologist, Bill Butler, once stood on a chair and tried to swat a fly for her during a house call. But these insects, some species of  which transmit disease and bite us are also very important as pollinators. Although flies are generally less hairy than bees, they have lower energy requirements and may be more active at times when bees have limited mobility. In the shady understory areas, native hollies are largely dependent on flies for pollination. Another plant  that grows in those same habitats is Pawpaws. Pawpaws are self-infertile and need pollen from another genetic line for good fruit production.    in natural stands flies are their most important pollinators. When planted in sunny orchards, these flies are less numerous and hand pollination is often required.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.