The horse fly bite is more than just a simple nuisance, it is a danger. Horse flies don’t just bite horses, they will bite us humans too. Watch out because their bites are painful and could become swollen or infected. Here’s a little bit about the horse fly, why its such a nuisance and what to do if you’re bit.
The horse fly has been identified as an insatiable feeder. Much like a mosquito or a biting midge, horse flies drink blood! In fact, a swarm of female horse flies have the capability of consuming up to two cups of blood within just one day.
Found in mostly rural areas that include farmland as well as urban regions that have bodies of water – which are needed for breeding – throughout North America, these ferocious insects typically prey on larger-sized mammals. Their habits are so intense that scientists actually refer to horse flies as “blood-feeding arthropods”.
Types of Horse Flies
The horsefly is considered to be a “true” fly and is in the order of insects identified as “Diptera”. There are just over 160 different species of horse flies within the United States. In the State of Indiana, there are approximately 45 species.
These species fall under the general classification of “Hybomitra” and “Tabanus”. The scientific name for horse flies is “Tabanus spp”.
Horse flies are classified as such due to the nuisance that they post towards horses; however, they are known to be a nuisance to various types of livestock and humans.
Regardless of which type of mammal that the flies feed on, the horsefly bite carries many dangers.
What Do Horse Flies Look Like?
The horse fly varies quite a bit in length. Depending on their location and their age, they may be as small as a half of an inch, or as large as an inch and a quarter.
In most instances they are black in color; however, they may also be gray. The eyes are often quite large and display a green coloring that is exceptionally vibrant. These insects do have antennae; however, they are short.
The female horsefly has a mouth that includes blade-like features. These mandibles are used to damage the tissues and vessels upon the mammals on which they feed. They also have sponge-like features that suck up the blood from their prey. The males have weak mouths because they only feed on nectar and pollen.
The horsefly bite involving mammals typically occurs in areas where the species is comfortable, in terms of habitat. These natural locations typically consist of areas where there are water and open regions within the woods and/or forests.
They are attracted to both freshwater and saltwater.
Low-level pastures and fields that have been cultivated are also natural habitats for these flies. Also, regions that have soil that has been heavily saturated are ideal locations for the creatures.
The Horse Fly Bite
In order to reproduce in an effective manner, female horse flies will need a meal that includes blood. The mouthparts of the female flies have the capability of tearing the skin. In comparison, mosquitoes only pierce the skin.
Oftentimes, females will gather in large groups to feed on their prey.
Furthermore, they will continuously bite until they have received a large amount of the blood meal that they seek or they are stopped by being killed. It is not common for the horse fly bite to stem from male flies because they do not have the same type of mouthpart anatomy.
When one experiences a horse fly bite, they will immediately experience pain. This may be followed by the development of itching and the presence of red bumps.
When the fly initiates the bite, the skin is cut and the top layer is sliced. Immediately thereafter, they begin the process of licking the blood that stems from the wound. Histamine is then released from the tissues that have been impacted, which could lead to inflammation. The horse fly bite may then lead to an allergic reaction in those that are susceptible. This may lead to red, swollen skin, the onset of hives, and wheezing. Many may even suffer from dizziness, become weak, and develop an infection at the site of the bite.
Treating a Horse Fly Bite
If you suffer from a horse fly bite, you will be pleased to know that there are several options that will air in reducing the pain and the prevention of infection. In most instance, the area will heal within three days. If it takes longer, it is important to seek the help of a doctor to ensure that no infection has set in or to treat the infection that may have developed. The following outlines a few steps that will help you successfully address the irritation caused by a horse fly bite:
- First, you should clean the area with an antiseptic. If none is available, you may reduce swelling by placing saliva over the area.
- You should then place a hydrocortisone cream on the area. This will reduce the possibility for itching and irritation.
- If you start to experience a lot of discomfort, there are a few things that may be applied to the area where you got the horse fly bite. These include ice, vinegar, raw honey, and even mud.
- To aid in preventing infection, cover the area with gauze.
- If you discover that you cannot breathe right, you start to feel as if your throat is closing, or any unusual symptoms, contact a doctor as it may be an allergic reaction.
Getting Rid of the Horse Fly Infestation
Horse flies have the potential to pass on various illnesses and infections. The horse fly bite is not only painful, it could be quite dangerous. If you find that you have an infestation, you should eliminate it as quickly as possible. The safest over-the-counter insecticide for horse flies is synergized pyrethrin. You may also use horse fly traps. These may help in reducing the horse fly population.
The safest overall option is to seek help from a local pest control company. Not only can they get rid of the horse flies quickly, they use products that are safe for both humans and animals.