I noticed one scene in ST:TNG where a fly can be seen flying near Data's head during a close-up. It somehow seemed wrong to me (it bugged me, you might say). Apparently the director didn't think it was a problem and kept it in (didn't do a re-take).

Are there bugs on Federation Starships? Has this ever been addressed? Somehow I find it hard to believe they still have pest problems in the 24th century.

  • 1
    do nanites count? ;) Also - assuming you mean 'bugs' in the form of actual, loose pests, not in the context of the school 'zoo' that we see the school children visit
    – NKCampbell
    Sep 9, 2016 at 15:45
  • 13
    “Apparently the director didn't think it was a problem” — TVs only show 640 × 480 pixels! They’ll never see it! Sep 9, 2016 at 16:20
  • 8
    What episode is this? Sep 9, 2016 at 17:35
  • 2
    @PhasedOut Do you mean, like, oh, I don't know, a Klingon Cruiser?
    – Shane
    Sep 9, 2016 at 22:30
  • 1
    @Z.Cochrane I noticed it in Data's Day when Data is telling Troi that he can't grow old together with a mate because he doesn't age. freetrek also noticed one in the same episode when he's feeding Spot. Apparently there were lots of flies around when they shot Data's Day.
    – Jackman
    Mar 24, 2020 at 2:40

3 Answers 3


The Enterprise is free of insects.

DATA: I have been watching Spot sleep. In the past fifteen minutes, he has had twelve muscles spasms, which indicates he was dreaming. I have often wondered what Spot dreams about. His twitching and his rapid breathing would seem to suggest anxiety, but Spot has never seen a mouse or any other form of rodentia. He has never encountered an insect, or been chased by a canine.

TNG: Phantasms

Except those that are kept as pets, obviously

TROI: Welcome home, Worf. I hope you don't mind, I let myself in. I promised Alexander I'd feed his Dalvin hissing beetle while you were both away.

TNG: Parallels

  • 8
    another pet: while not "technically" an insect - O'Brian has a pet spider
    – NKCampbell
    Sep 9, 2016 at 16:04
  • 9
    Don't forget that the Enterprise is primarily an exploration vessel, with a fair number of scientists aboard. It's highly likely that there would be some sort of entomology lab on board.
    – Irishpanda
    Sep 9, 2016 at 16:05
  • 3
    that's why I said 'not technically' but they are often lumped together by people when speaking of 'bugs'
    – NKCampbell
    Sep 9, 2016 at 16:06
  • 2
    @NKCampbell you're correct my question would apply to loose spiders as well. But don't even THINK of giving Barclay in "Genesis" as an answer!
    – Jackman
    Sep 9, 2016 at 16:11
  • 3
    The Enterprise did have an arboretum, they might have had insects in that section since some plants need them for pollination (and if any of the plants were transplants rather than ones grown from seeds, it's possible some insects would have hitched a ride)--maybe Data was just assuming that none had made it out into other sections where Spot might go. Another in-universe explanation could be that if a shuttlecraft was taken to a planet with life, an insect could have flown in and later flown out into the hangar bay.
    – Hypnosifl
    Sep 9, 2016 at 17:12

Indeterminate. We don't know for sure.

To disagree with the "canonical" answer given above.

There is no evidence that there is absolutely no insects on the Enterprise. Spot no seeing insects is just Spot's experience, not a census study.

Just think what technology would be needed to control such small lifeforms in an absolute way. A new kind of insecticide? Even our best are not foolproof (think the fly on Data, which is visual proof). Also, some insects are the size of small grains, so you would need a technology that scans (all?) particles in a vessel, distinguishes the insects, and then takes (or assigns) actions. No such technology is evidenced in Star Trek, to my knowledge.

  • 11
    Between force-fields, transporter screening, sterile fields, internal scanners, electromagnetic barriers and pinpoint transporter technology, you'd expect the ship to be almost completely sterile.
    – Valorum
    Sep 9, 2016 at 18:41
  • 3
    When was the last time we saw anyone on Star Trek cleaning anything, on screen?
    – user
    Sep 9, 2016 at 21:07
  • 2
    "Also, some insects are the size of small grains, so you would need a technology that scans (all?) particles in a vessel, distinguishes the insects, and then takes (or assigns) actions" They're pretty good at detecting viruses in the air. Those are a heck of a lot smaller than insects. Sep 10, 2016 at 0:56
  • 1
    I disagree. I think Data's confidence that Spot has never seen an insect despite not always being with him tells us that there are no stray insects aboard the Enterprise-D. Sep 10, 2016 at 6:46
  • 3
    Given that the crew routinely fails to see giant alien growths, parasites, etc., I find it unlikely they would catch all the tiny bugs around. Especially considering there are bugs on the ship deliberately, a few of which would undoubtedly escape their habitats from time to time.
    – MichaelS
    Sep 10, 2016 at 9:01

TNG S03E11 - (Data's Day) When Data feeds Spot feline supplement #74. Data sets the bowl on the floor and as soon as Spot starts eating the food.

Look closely and you will see a fruit type fly crawling inside the bowl from left to right in an upward direction.

enter image description here

  • A great find, and worthy of a bounty for having such good eyes.
    – Valorum
    Dec 28, 2019 at 0:30
  • That's the same episode I noticed the fly in - but a different scene!
    – Jackman
    Mar 24, 2020 at 2:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.