Understanding Black Flies – Everything You Must Know

What Are Black Flies?

The black fly belongs to the Smuliidae family and is known by different names, including buffalo gnat and turkey gnat. The black flies are related to Thaumaleidae, Chironomidae, and Ceratopogonidae. The most interesting fact is that there are more than 2200 species of black flies in the world, and 15 have become extinct. However, the majority of black flies are known to be found around mammals since they feed on their blood (yes, humans are also mammals).

On the other hand, male black fly tend to feed on nectar and are highly likely to be small. They are mostly black, as the name suggests, but some of them are gray. The black flies are known to have antennae and short legs. Honestly, they are quite a nuisance, and various programs in the U.S. are meant to suppress or reduce the population of black flies. They can spread different diseases, such as river blindness in America and Africa.

Black Flies

They lay eggs in the running water, and the larvae tend to attach to the rocks. It’s important to add that breeding and its success depend on water pollution. Also, the larvae are likely to use their small hooks for holding to the substrates while they use silk threads and holdfasts to move around or stick to someplace. In addition, the black flies have foldable fans around the mouth, which are expanded when they feed. Black fly also catch passing debris, including bacteria, organic particles, and algae.

Understanding Black Flies: Biology, Habitat, and Effects on Humans and Animals

They are highly likely to depend on lotic habitats for access to food and also tend to pupate in underwater conditions and emerge as adults in the air bubbles. The males are known to feed on nectar and can range up to 64km in search of meals, but some species might have a limited range. It’s safe to say that different species of black fly choose different host sources, but all of them feed during the day and when the wind is slow.

When it comes down to appearance, the black flies are darker in color and range from 5mm to 15mm, while their fan-shaped and large wings help them fly. Some of them are also called punkies. In the majority of cases, they will attack the ears, scalp, eyes, legs, and arms, especially when they are exposed. They can crawl into neckbands, boots, and sleeves to gain access. If you wear hats, black fly will suck on the area around the hat’s rim.

The black flies can attack humans as well as animals and use their blade-like mouthparts for making a hole in the skin for feeding on blood. They tend to bite, which results in soreness, numbness, and swelling. Also, itching and pain are common, and they are caused by the saliva of the flies.

Why Do Black Flies Cluster Up In Your Home?

In the majority of cases, the black flies cluster in the home when the weather starts getting hotter, but they are highly likely to appear in the winter season as well. As far as clustering up in the home is concerned, they get inside the home to lay eggs that hatch when the temperature gets warmer. Similarly, when you use a heater during the colder months, it results in the hatching of the eggs.

They are a common risk to cooking surfaces because they roam around and have bacteria attack them. They can contaminate places, and it could be a sign of rotten food around the home (yes, even in the dustbin). On top of everything, when they cluster up in the homes, they will buzz around the head.

How To Get Rid Of Black Flies?

When black flies get into your home, it’s hard to get rid of them, but trapping and killing might take some special measures. This is because the prime concern is to identify the eggs and kill them rather than attack the adult flies. Once you get rid of them, it’s time to prevent the blackfly. In the section below, we are sharing some ways to get rid of black flies, including the following;

  • Vacuuming – first of all, you need to make it a point to ensure on-time and regular vacuuming. In particular, if you have placed carpets all around the home, it’s important to use a high-end vacuum cleaner to clean the carpet, as it will suck up the eggs. In addition, it can suck up the larvae
  • Debris In Your Yard – black flies are highly likely to be found within wooden infrastructures and on the buildings’ sides, especially during the winter season. Clear up debris in abandoned infrastructure to prevent the breeding of pests.
  • Seal Your Home – the black flies are highly likely to lay eggs between the walls and in the attics. For this purpose, you must check out the roof shingles and ensure they are placed properly. In case you see some broken shingles, you need to replace them. In addition to this, make sure that you seal the holes and openings around your property, and don’t forget to install screens on the windows
  • Seal The Food Items – in the majority of cases, the black fly will be attracted by the food items, especially the sweets. This is because they are likely to land on food items, and they are particularly fond of sweet items. Keep food sealed to prevent black flies in the home.

Where Do Black Flies Come From?

Black flies are common all around the world, but they are most common in the United States and South Africa. In addition, they are usually found in areas where there are cool-water streams and rivers. The black flies are highly likely to prefer running water, and larvae will attack the submerged wood and rocks. So, that’s where they come from!

Will Black Flies Sting Or Bite Me?

Yes, black flies are known to bite. For the most part, they attack the scalp, ears, eyes, legs, hands, arms, and other exposed areas of the body. Their bites are known to create a small puncture which results in swelling as well as bigger bumps, depending on the severity. They won’t carry diseases, but they will leave behind painful and bleeding skin. Also, it can sometimes lead to itchiness.

How Bad Is The Sting Of A Black Fly?

The black flies don’t have a serious bite because they are very low likely to transmit diseases. However, they can cause allergic reactions in mammals and humans. The allergic reactions will also result in itching and swelling.

Are Black Flies Destructive?

If you are thinking about the destruction of infrastructure, that isn’t the issue with black flies because they don’t cause infrastructural damage. On the other hand, they do cause allergic reactions, and people with underlying allergies can have severe side effects.

Do Black Flies Get Attracted To Water?

Yes, Black flies are attracted to water and areas with high moisture, such as areas with fungi. In addition, they can be found in areas with severe vegetation as well as in the lowlands. So, keep your safe distance from lakes, ponds, and streams.

How To Get Rid Of Black Fly Bites?

We have already mentioned that black fly bites can be extremely severe, but there are ways to treat the bites. To begin with, you should use warm water and soap to wash the bitten area and keep your hands away from the bite (don’t scratch it). Apply witch hazel or aloe vera for severe itching. Also, you use calamine lotion.

Why Are Black Flies Bad?

First of all, they are bad because they hover over the head and can be extremely annoying. In addition to this, it can result in itching and swelling. Not to forget, these black fly will feed on the blood and cause river blindness, which can be pretty disastrous.

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