The great Aussie salute has well and truly arrived early this year.
Social media is abuzz with videos showing people swatting away flies after the pest appeared in big numbers ahead of schedule.
In one viral post a man can be seen at Maroubra Beach with his back absolutely covered, prompting thousands of comments from other fed-up fly victims in Sydney.
So what's with their premature arrival, and is there really a link between personal hygiene and how a fly chooses who to bug?
Entomologist and Associate Professor at the University of Sydney, Tanya Latty, told Yahoo News Australia it's normal to see a spike in flies in warmer weather, which we have started to experience early due to El Niño and a positive Indian Ocean Dipole.
"They're waking up earlier and coming out earlier than normal," she explained.
Why are there so many flies?
Flies are always around, but like snakes, cold-blooded insects become more active as the weather warms.
The recent high temperatures in Sydney have created the perfect conditions for flies to come out of hiding, breed and pester people.
Seeing a spike in flies is not something to immediately panic about though and it will likely pass.
"It's normal to get a burst of flies or of another insect," Prof Latty said.
"Then something like a cool change may come which means numbers will likely go down". Sydney is expecting cooler weather this weekend meaning less flies are likely.
Entomologist Dr Tom White, also from the University of Sydney, told Yahoo News Australian bush flies are the ones you’re likely swatting away from your face at the beach.
“You can find them everywhere but they’re attracted to the sweaty humans at the beach,” he said.
Over 30,000 species of flies in Australia
Prof Latty says it's often hard to pinpoint the exact species of fly hovering around due to the sheer variety across Australia, with only 6,000 of about 30,000 species actually named.
"When people say they’re seeing flies, we don’t necessarily know which species they are talking about," Prof Latty told Yahoo.
Mosquitos, house flies, bush flies and blowflies are four very common types of flies found in Australia and are often seen around humans, garbage, poo, vegetation, decaying organic matter, and on food.
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Repel flies instead of killing them where possible
Prof Latty told Yahoo how important it is not to use insecticides where possible, as they can negatively impact other insects that are not causing any issues.
If they are not the kind of fly that bites, and you are able to keep them from contaminating your food, it's best to try repel flies rather than kill them.
Some of the best ways to repel most species, including the common house fly and mosquitoes:
Use insect repellant on yourself when outside.
Wear loose fitting, long sleeved clothing outside.
Protect your food with food covers.
Empty your rubbish bins regularly as some common species feed on waste.
Make sure fly screens have been installed to keep flies out of the house.
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