Dead Head Fly: Essential Guide for Curious Minds

The Dead Head Fly is a fascinating insect that many people may not know much about. These winged creatures play an important role both in nature and in understanding insect behavior. In this article, we will delve into the intriguing world of the Dead Head Fly, exploring their characteristics, life cycle, and significance in the ecosystem.

Having a unique appearance, Dead Head Flies get their name from the distinct markings on their bodies. These distinctive traits make them stand out among other fly species. They are known to be attracted to certain scents, which plays a key role in their behavior and interaction with their environment. For example, some species, like the Blow and Flesh Flies, are commonly found around dead animals.

When it comes to their life cycle, these flies follow a similar pattern to many other insects. They start as eggs, evolve into larvae (maggots), and eventually become adult flies. Different species of Dead Head Flies may have some variations in their life cycle, but in general, they follow this sequence. Additionally, certain species are known to have a positive impact on controlling pest populations, like Tachinid Flies that target caterpillars and other insect hosts.

Dead Heading in Aviation

Understanding Dead Head Flights

Dead head flights occur when an airline needs to reposition aircraft or transport crew to another destination. These flights often have:

  • Fewer passengers
  • Empty seats available
  • Reduced revenue for the airline

For example, a pilot may need to be in New York for their next assignment, but they are currently in Los Angeles. The airline will arrange a dead head flight to ensure the pilot arrives at their destination on time.

The Role of Deadhead Pilots

A deadhead pilot is an airline pilot who travels as a passenger on an aircraft rather than actively flying it. Some key points about deadhead pilots include:

  • They wear their uniform while traveling
  • Remain available for emergency situations
  • Receive pay as part of their work

A comparison table of deadhead pilots and regular passengers:

Deadhead Pilot Regular Passenger
In uniform In casual clothing
Available for emergencies Not responsible for emergencies
Paid for the flight Pays for the ticket
May get priority seating Typical seating assignment

In the aviation industry, dead heading is essential to ensure that both aircraft and pilots are positioned in the right place to maintain a smooth operation.

Deadhead Flight Operations

Deadhead Flights and Passengers

Deadhead flights are flights where a flight crewmember travels as a passenger to position for a future flight operation. This can involve pilots, co-pilots, and flight attendants. Deadhead passengers are accommodated in regular airline seats, and they usually travel in uniform.

Airlines commonly use deadhead flights to reposition their Boeing 737 or other aircraft. This helps maintain smooth aviation operations and aircraft utilization. Examples of deadhead flights include:

  • A flight attendant finishing their duty on one flight and moving to a different location for another flight
  • A pilot heading to pick up an aircraft from maintenance

Working Conditions and Procedures

Working conditions differ for deadhead flight crewmembers compared to passengers. Crewmembers must follow specific protocols, which can impact their rest periods and duty times.

For instance, if a flight crewmember engages in deadhead transportation for over four hours before beginning flight duty, half of the deadhead transportation time must be treated as duty time. They must also have a minimum of 10 hours of ground rest before starting their following duty period.

Pros and Cons of Deadhead Flights

Pros:

  • Efficiently repositioning crewmembers and aircraft
  • Balancing differences in crew workload and flight schedules

Cons:

  • Longer duty periods and possible fatigue for crewmembers
  • Incurs additional expenses for airlines

Comparison Table: Deadhead Crewmember vs. Regular Passenger

Deadhead Crewmember Regular Passenger
In uniform Casual dress
Subject to duty time restrictions Not accountable for duty time
Minimum rest periods required Rest periods not regulated
Follow airline procedures Follow air travel guidelines

Dead Heading in Gardening

What Is Deadheading?

Deadheading is the process of removing spent flowers or seed heads from plants during their growing season. It helps maintain a tidy appearance and encourages more blooms. For example, deadheading a butterfly bush (Buddleia) will promote a bushier growth and continuous flowers throughout the season.

In general, there are two methods for deadheading plants:

  • Using your fingers or garden loppers to pinch off the spent blooms from the stem.
  • Cutting back the larger branches to a side branch or bud using garden loppers for larger branches.

The Benefits of Deadheading Plants

Some benefits of deadheading plants include:

  • More blooms: Deadheading encourages the plant to produce more flowers by redirecting energy from seed production to new blooms.

  • Healthier plants: Removing spent flowers prevents the plant from wasting energy on seed production, allowing it to focus on growth and overall health.

  • Pest control: Certain plants can attract pests if left to develop seeds, so deadheading can help keep insect populations in check.

  • Prevent self-seeding: Some plants, like butterfly bushes, can become invasive if allowed to self-seed. Deadheading will prevent unwanted seedlings from popping up in your garden.

When deadheading, it’s important to do so early in the growing season and continue throughout the spring and summer. Kids can help with this task, too! Just make sure to provide them with appropriate tools and supervision.

However, during the fall, it’s best to let plants set seeds and prepare for overwintering. Deadheading too late in the season may hamper their preparation for frost and harsh weather. So, remember to take a break from deadheading as you approach the end of the growing season.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Dead Head Fly from Cyprus

 

Subject: Another Dead Head Fly (this time in Cyprus)
Location: Nicosia (Leftkoşa), Cyprus
February 16, 2014 6:26 pm
Because it’s that time of the year again when Cyprus explodes with life I thought I’d go through my pics from last February. Imagine my surprise to find another Dead Head fly which I actually captured with the camera before the ones I’ve already sent in from Porto and London?
I do remember this one was very camera shy but I did not know what kind of bug it was at the time as I didn’t even realize there were so many different and amazing flies then. It was also the only one of this type I saw while there even though the island was covered to bursting with life. So sadly the pics are not the best but I do have several better photos of other bugs coming soon.
Anyway, thought it would be cool to start off with one of the flies because they can be so pretty and many of them are actually very beneficial (heck, even the flesh flies and bottle flies break down waste while also being pollinators) with some of the hover flies even eating aphids when in their larval stage.
Hope you are enjoying the “slow” season.
Signature: Curious Girl

Dead Head Fly
Dead Head Fly

Dear Curious Girl,
Thank you for supplying us with an image of this interesting Flower Fly or Hover Fly from the family Syrphidae that had thoracic markings that resemble a human skull.  This nicely compliments your images of Dead Head Flies from London and Portugal.

Letter 2 – Dead Head Fly from London

 

Subject: Dead Head Flower Fly
Location: Hyde Park, London, England
October 21, 2013
Thank you Daniel. I was pretty sure I was forgetting something and glad you were able to find the Latin name.
Just realized I saw another Dead Head fly in London’s Hyde Park a couple weeks ago. This time a female who has a more pointed bottom. :~) as you’ll see with the additional pics I’m enclosing (it’s quite interesting how they work that illusion of a waspy waist).
I’ve been finding so many interesting bugs and I think it’s the flies I enjoy the most. They are so variable and seem to have such personalities. But there are several more I’ll share with you soon hopefully. Some are very, very tiny!

Dead Head Fly in London
Dead Head Fly in London

Hi again Curious Girl,
Thanks for sending us additional photos of a female Dead Head Fly,
Myatropa florea.  We are going to add this to your original posting as well as create a new posting.  Since we can only have one location per posting, your sightings in Portugal and London should be archived distinctly from one another.

Dead Head Fly from London
Dead Head Fly from London

Letter 3 – Dead Head Fly from Portugal and from London

 

Subject: Dead Head Flower Fly (Portugal)
Location: Porto, Portugal
October 20, 2013 3:39 am
Hello Daniel,
After you identified my Drone Fly I thought I had found another but on closer inspection (thank goodness for photos) I believe it’s another variety called a ”Dead Head” because the pattern on the shoulders resembles a skull.
I found what I believe is a skittish female the first day but the second day the male was much more patient with my curiosity.
They are quite big as flies go. This was mid-July or so.
Anyway, did not see any Dead Head flies on your site, so thought I would share (though tried to wait till submissions might be more manageable — which is sad as it means not as many bugs to discover outside) . I adore the yellow hair halo they seem to have (which is how I realized first they were different than the drone fly — thanks to you I’m learning how to identify myself and it’s fun). 🙂
Signature: Curious Girl

Dead Head Fly
Dead Head Fly

Hi Curious Girl,
Thanks for your sweet email.  Since you did not provide a scientific name, we searched for Dead Head Flower Fly and found a photo on TrekNature identified as
Myatropa florea.  Further searching turned up this interesting dialog on BugGuide when an individual was photographed in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco in 2005.  According to BugGuide:  “Its larvae live in rotholes in logs and other wood, so it probably has been shipped with timber or something like that.”  NatureSpot has some good images showing the thoracic markings.

Dead Head Fly
Dead Head Fly

Thank you Daniel. I was pretty sure I was forgetting something and glad you were able to find the Latin name.
Just realized I saw another Dead Head fly in London’s Hyde Park a couple weeks ago. This time a female who has a more pointed bottom. :~) as you’ll see with the additional pics I’m enclosing (it’s quite interesting how they work that illusion of a waspy waist).
I’ve been finding so many interesting bugs and I think it’s the flies I enjoy the most. They are so variable and seem to have such personalities. But there are several more I’ll share with you soon hopefully. Some are very, very tiny!

Dead Head Fly in London
Dead Head Fly in London

Hi again Curious Girl,
Thanks for sending us additional photos of a female Dead Head Fly.  We are going to add this to your original posting as well as create a new posting.  Since we can only have one location per posting, your sightings in Portugal and London should be archived distinctly from one another.

Dead Head Fly from London
Dead Head Fly from London

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

Leave a Comment