How can some insects like housefly walk upside down on the ceiling?

Insects have a whole world unto themselves, so it’s not surprising that many of their actions are a mystery to us. For instance, ants touch each other’s heads, while spiders spin thread out of seemingly nothing. With scientific research and observation, however, we can get an answer to most of these questions.

Many people will also question how insects can walk upside down on ceilings? A housefly, for example, can understandably fly due to its wings. Walking on a ceiling, however, seems to defy gravity. There are actually more than one answers to this, so let’s check them out:

When the foot of a fly is seen through the microscope, two membranes, or cushions, can be noticed. These are covered with tiny hairs, each with a disc at the end. Some scientists believe that these discs act as suction pads or suckers; when a fly walks on the ceiling, the discs hold the fly up there by their internal air pressure. Against this theory, however, is the fact that when the air is drawn out of a vessel in which the fly is walking upside down, the insect does not fall off.

Other scientists who have carefully studied the fly believe that it is able to hold onto a ceiling or wall by means of a sticky substance coming out from the underside of the foot. Each hair would act as a tiny tube for conveying this liquid from the little pouch in which it is produced, pouring it out as required.

Both these answers point to a fascinating aspect of the housefly’s body. However the fly performs the feat, it still seems to be defying gravity. Many other insects have the same ‘sticky feet’ 

and other features that help them to climb walls and even walk on ceilings without falling.  

There are several books that can help us learn more about insects and understand their ways. It’s also important for children to learn about insects from a young age so they can be stimulated by the world around them. Below are some works that can help us get to know more about the insect world:

Where to Buy
Ultimate Bugopedia
National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders
Buzz, Sting, Bite


Ultimate Bugopedia: The Most Complete Bug Reference Ever by Darlyne Murawski and Nancy Honovich  This Bugopedia by National Geographic is a fun and colorful book that’s especially focused on making kids interested in the fascinating world of insects. If you have a child who constantly asking questions about bugs, this work will be able to guide them towards comprehensive answers that are still easy to understand.

If your kid is asking why moths are attracted to light, this work will have an accurate answer. You may also want to explain how a mosquito can infect us through a bite; these pages will also be able to back up your warning.

According to reviews, this book doesn’t use complicated scientific terms or complex language that can confuse kids. Instead, it uses illustrations in bright colors, clearly labeled sections, and engaging language that will draw the reader in. There’s even a section on how to use this book correctly. While this work will certainly come in handy for school research, it’s also a fun read on its own.

National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders: North America

This guide to insects and spiders in North America is a very comprehensive work. It’s an essential for those who are enthusiastic about these creatures, both as a reference source and as a book for entertainment.

There are over seven hundred identification photographs here, which will help us in recognizing any sort of species in the area. Having this as a source will also help us stay safe, as we can then identify potentially dangerous species and act accordingly. Additionally, there are several details on each insect or spider, including their habitat, feeding habits, web construction, behaviors, environmental impact, and life cycle.

Several other books are also available for spotting and identifying species in other areas. It’s recommended that we get one which is relevant to our own locality. You can also get this work as a gift for someone who’s interested in entomology.

Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson

This audio book is an informative and witty narrative on how insects live and how the planet wouldn’t be able to do without them. Overall, this work is a good way to introduce yourself or others to the importance of sustaining the environment and the natural growth cycle.

Insects make up around half of all species, so they’re understandably essential to the balance of life as we know it. While they might be pesky at times, this book will help us realize just how useful they are. Reviews say that this book is a great read (or listening experience) even if someone doesn’t like insects, so you might want to give it a go.

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