Pest Control News

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Fly Pest Control - The Summer Horsefly

Summer Pest: The Horsefly

You may have noticed a cluster of stories in local and national papers and websites about people having reactions to horsefly bites. One American website carried a headline that said, “Horseflies Causing Chaos in the UK!” but is the horsefly causing chaos? Are their numbers bigger this year than previous summers? Is the horsefly the summer pest of 2017?

The Horsefly: What is it?

Delivering a painful bite that can cause an unpleasant localised skin reaction, the horsefly is commonly found around horse, stables, cattle, cattle sheds and tall, long grass.
Cows and horses can have reactions to horsefly bites too, with itchy, swollen lumps at the bite site. For humans, the effect is no less pleasant with some people having such a serious reaction, they sought medical help from their local A&E department.
According to the NHS website, a horsefly bites will leave the skin red and raised, with people also commonly experiencing a raised rash, dizziness, wheezing, weakness and other parts of the body becoming swollen. As well as applying a cold press and ensuring the wound area is clean, the NHS suggests that calling 111 for advice is beneficial too. Reaction to bites to the face can be more severe thus, seek medical help if this happens to you.

Why are Horsefly Bites Painful?

If you are unfamiliar with horseflies, they are a winged insect that is larger than the common housefly and dark in colour.
Horseflies feed on blood, opting to feed on any mammal they can get a satisfying meal from, Dogs, cattle, horses and humans all make for a great meal.
They are attracted to dark colours, or so experts say, and carbon dioxide which is why you may find you swat away a horsefly or two when you run or walk in the summer months. They are also vengeful flies and have been known to pursue a human, horse, cow or dog if the initial blood meal wasn’t satisfying.
And despite the horrendous reaction their bites can cause humans, unlike the wasp when it has used its sting, the horsefly doesn’t have the good manners to die after biting someone or something.

Have Horseflies Been More a Problem This Year?

Looking at the news headlines of local and national papers from across the country it would seem so. The reactions people have had from a horsefly bite have been serious and painful but thankfully, not fatal.
The weather plays a major part in some pests being more of a problem than others at certain times of the year. Possibly the mix of heat, followed by periods of rain and humidity are the right conditions for horseflies to breed.
Warm weather reduces the incubation times of eggs and fly larvae and so this contributes to a quicker and more rampant breeding season, hence more horseflies looking for more blood meals and more people reporting painful looking reactions to the horsefly bite.

If you can, avoid the horsefly. But if you are bitten, try not to itch the bite as this can cause further problems with infection. Apply a cold compress and if necessary, seek medical help.