Blood Sucking Fly

It’s cold outside, so let’s think happy thoughts of summer. Just picture; having a great time in the back yard, throwing the ball, playing in the pool or grilling out; happy and peaceful. That is, until the large Horse Fly shows up to the party. With their quick speed, agile acrobatic moves and tenacity to focus on a particular target; the party soon turns into “get rid of the biting fly”.

The Horse Fly is mostly identified by their large size and almost buzzing like sound as they quickly fly around your head looking for a quick spot to land. Their bodies range in size from ¼” to 1” long, with an accompanying wingspan of up to 2”. Brown or Black in color with a fuzzy appearance, they have one set of wings and have tapered bodies.  They are found in all areas around the world except for Polar Regions and Hawaii. And, as we all know from the painful bite, they do exist here in Nashville, Tennessee.

Horse Flies are most active in summer busy feeding on nectar.  Although the male and female feed this way, it is primarily the male that feeds and collects pollen, while the female is much more sinister. In order to reproduce, the female needs to feed on blood of another animal or human. They do not have an undetectable bite such as a mosquito, rather the bite is quite painful and immediately knocked away. Therefore the persistent Horse Fly continues its pursuit to get blood from this one particular victim. This proves true if you have ever been swimming in a pool with other people, however one Horse Fly continues to maneuver and speedily land on and attack one individual. They are naturally drawn to swimming pools with the shiny reflections and most commonly, carbon dioxide exuding humans.  For some reason once a Horse Fly chooses its victim, they tend to continue to try and attach to the same victim. This is due to the type of movement, body warmth, skin texture or even the levels of carbon dioxide that the individual victim produces. Once you have tagged as “it”, the Horse Fly tries its best to attach by using the ends of their legs and claws to grip and hold on just long enough to bite and get some blood to reproduce. This bite is particularly ferocious due to the design of the Horse Fly mouth. It has an organ designed to stab into the skin, then two pairs of cutting razors that quickly and effectively pierce then open the wound. Once the wound is opened, the saliva of the Horse Fly acts as an anti clotting compound to make sure that the blood flows quick and easy. Then the center of the mouth has an organ very much like a sponge that is ready and able to soak up and store all of the blood that the fly can get from the victim.

The female Horse Fly has mated, now increased the chances of offspring with a lovely meal of blood and is ready to lay her eggs. They usually prefer areas near water, such as marshy areas at the edge of a pond or lake, boat docks at inlets or any area with a continuous moist ground. She can lay up to 1,000 eggs at a time. These eggs go through five to ten different larval stages, last through the winter months, ready to emerge as fully grown adults in spring. As an adult they only live thirty to sixty days, so they have a limited time frame to ensure the next generation continues.

The Horse Fly can spread disease since they suck blood from multiple different animals or humans. These infectious equine diseases could become quite serious. However; most reactions to their bites are relatively mild such as redness, swelling, rash or even dizziness. If the bite area looks infected or a fever develops, seek immediate medical attention. For maximum protection, always wear insect repellent while outdoors along with long sleeves and pants if possible. As with any fly problem, call out a professional to properly identify the solution. Certified Pest Control in Nashville is your local family owned and operated choice for honest effective solutions to all of your pest control needs. Call our family today to define your affordable preventative pest control program in Nashville and all surrounding counties.

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