What Are Horseflies?
Horseflies are among the most disliked insects because their silent flight often ends with us receiving a painful bite.
The flies are active during the day, so at night you are safe from these insects unless one flew into your house and is using your artificial light to home in on you!
Horseflies vary in size from that of a housefly to something resembling the size of a bumblebee. Silent flight means that even the most substantial flies at over 1inch, seem to float down onto you! Another feature of these flies is their amazing sometimes dazzlingly colourful eyes.
Controlling horse flies is almost impossible, but we describe some barrier options further down the page.
Horseflies In The UK & Beyond
Horseflies in the UK comprise of just 30 different species, in two families. We can loosely define these as the family Tabanidae (non-patterned wings) and the family Chrysopsinae (patterned wings).
Globally we know of at least 4400 described species. Flies prefer warmer climates and is one reason why most horsefly species in the UK have been recorded in the southern areas.
Males don’t bite, making identification useful. The female flies eyes have a vertical band or eye-bridge, separating them, while the males’ eyes have no such gap, making identification easier.
How Dangerous Are Horseflies?
Horsefly bites are highly infectious – but not transmittable. What this means is that horse fly saliva contains many different bacteria and antigens that regularly cause some significant physiological side effects in the hosts skin.
In the UK, Horsefly bites readily become infected, and elsewhere in the world, these flies carry many disease-causing agents and parasites. There is even a case of a bite causing anaphylactic shock!
These skin lesions commonly produce scars that will last a lifetime and we know this because we see people including ourselves with bites like this Every Single Year!
Prevent Horse Fly Bites
Horse Fly Bites are only a risk where they are actively feeding on you as the bacteria in the saliva infects bite sites causing swelling and infection.
Adult horse flies don’t always feed on blood. The blood-feeding behaviour is pertinent only to the female.
Males don’t bite, but both males and females will feed on nectar and plant exudates, providing the service of pollination.
The female horse flies use specialised mouthparts or blades to saw into the skin and sponge up the blood meal. Females feed on blood only to acquire the protein necessary to develop eggs after mating.
Repellents and barriers have their place, but can almost never completely remove the chance that bites will not occur.
Barriers available for horses and associated livestock include masks, blankets and sheets. Specialist devices designed to mimic the flies prey offer some protection. Carbon dioxide is another product of choice, with new tech on the way.
Repellents are available, but nature is not equal and there is always going to be exceptions to the rule.
All products of this nature can be effective, but no single formula is effective on all horse fly species.
Bristol Pest Control Services – Local Places And Areas Our Pest Control Service Covers
Bristol – Clevedon – Portishead – St Annes – St Pauls – Bath – Sneyd Park – Fishponds – Eastville – Easton – Frenchay – Filton – Westbury – Stoke Bishop – Stoke Park – Southville – Long Ashton – Patchway – Bradley Stoke