Why we find flies very annoying

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Noise, Flies and stress

Nothing feels as annoying as a fly flying around your head and buzzing next to your ears while you are trying to do your work.

There is no doubt that this type of buzzing sound can annoy any person especially if they were trying to focus on something but the interesting news i have for you is that there is also a psychological component behind those unpleasant feelings we get when a fly does that.

In my previous article what causes stress i said that any overload in your mental circuits can lead to immediate stress and feelings of unhappiness.

The problem with a buzzing fly is that it doesn't just cause noise but it also demands your mental attention in a very random manner. I said earlier that if you are focused on any task then any other random external factor called for your attention then you might get stressed.

Noise is so annoying because it distracts our mental attention in a random manner from the tasks that we are trying to do. While we might be doing our best to focus on a specific task a random noise calls for our mental attention and forces us to feel stressed. See also Why noise is so stressful.

Why we find flies very annoying

But apart from the noise component, what else makes a fly annoying?
Another interesting component of the bad emotions we feel when a fly annoys us is anger.

Anger usually happens when we find that our rights were violated and so we get angry to defend them. Believe it or not when a fly distracts you then you might get angry at it because of believing that it's violating your rights.

So flies don't just make us feel more stressed but they actually make us angry as well. And as if all of that is not enough there is another component that makes flies really annoying which is their inconsistency.

Many types of noise are consistent and so our brains can easily get used to them and filter them. When it comes to flies the noise they make can be very inconsistent and this is why they make us feel very annoyed.

As soon as you believe that the fly has went away it might come back all of a sudden thus repeating all the cycle of anger and stress all over again. See also Why do i get stressed so easily

They turn into enemies

When a fly annoys a person so much the person might either attempt to push it away or kill it. Now here comes the part that makes flies even more annoying. After the person pushes them away they shortly return again as if they were totally indifferent to what the person did.

This kind of behaviour causes more anger since the person feels unconsciously that the fly is challenging them. As the person does more attempts to kill the fly but fails frustration builds up and this frustration leads to more anger.

In short flies don't just annoy us because of the noise they make but they also annoy us because of the wide array of negative emotions they provoke in us such as anger, stress and frustration.

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