Horse fly biting skin

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Horse fly

There are a lot of species of flies in the world, but horse flies are one of the most annoying species that can actually bite people. Most common outside, horse flies can also get indoors through small openings, windows and spaces. This means they can bite you indoors, too.

Horse flies not only bite, but they tend to land on very dirty items like garbage. They also eat just about anything they land on, will defecate on food and have to vomit up acid in order to eat what they land on. This makes for a very unsanitary affair whether you’re facing a problem with drain flies, cluster flies or blow flies.

Western Exterminator can find where the flies are hiding in your house and how they are getting in. Western Exterminator fly control specialists know how horse flies operate and if you contact your local Western office, we can discuss treatments to get rid of horse flies and prevent their return.

What are horse flies?

Horse flies are considered true flies and are part of the scientific family known as Tabanidae in the order known as Diptera. Although they do like to be around horses and and may be found around  horse droppings, horse flies’ size large makes them different from some other flies. However, unlike large cluster flies that tend to be slow and awkward when they fly, horse flies are fast and agile.

Horse flies are also infamous for their bite. This is because the females need blood to produce proteins that will allow them to lay eggs. Thus, the males do not bite animals or humans, but females will.

What do horse flies look like?

Horse flies are normally black in color with large compound eyes. The eyes are usually brightly colored when found in the wild and widely separated from each other. Short antennae are located near the eyes. There are likely bristly hairs on the head, but not the body. The wings of a horse fly are usually clear and membranous, but  shades of brown or grey may be present near the edges.

The feature which really sets the horse fly apart from other flies is their size. Most adult horse flies have a body length between 5 - 25 millimeters. Horse flies also have large wingspans that can be up to 60 mm.

What do horse flies eat?

Horse flies may bite, but they do not require blood to live the way mosquitoes and other blood sucking insects do. Most species of horse fly feed off nectar from plants, which makes some species pollinators. Horse flies need blood so the females can produce eggs for reproductive services.

Horse flies, unlike bed bugs, don’t feed off just one type of mammal. Bed bugs, for example, prefer to feed off human blood. Mosquitoes tend to prefer humans, too, but they have been known to bite animals. Horse flies are opportunistic and will feed off animals and humans. These flies will feed on the blood of horses, cattle, camels and deer. In fact, horse flies are also known as deer flies in some areas.

Do horse flies carry disease?

Because horse flies feed off blood, they have been linked to some blood-borne diseases, similar to mosquitoes. The flies do not transmit the virus or bacteria from their own blood, but from viruses which have infected the fly itself from another animal. The transmission occurs when the flies bite and inject saliva.

Most of the diseases horse flies carry with them are transmitted to animals. For example, one species is known to transmit anthrax to cattle and sheep. However, another species can transmit the disease tularemia from rabbits to humans. Other species of horse fly transmit blood disease, such as the equine anemia virus, from one horse to the other.

Blood loss can actually be one of the most serious problems. This is because some areas can become so infested with horse flies, animals can end up repeatedly bitten and lose blood to a very serious degree.

How long do horse flies live?

From the larval stage to full adult, if left undisturbed, a horse fly lives between 1-3 years. The lifespan of an adult horse fly is about 30-60 days. Of course, the environment, weather, access to food and access to the flies from predators can affect the lifespan of a horse fly.

Western Exterminator horse fly control

Horse flies may be most common where animals are present, but they can find themselves into your backyard and your home. Horse flies can get inside from broken screens, open windows, broke roof tiles and siding or other openings. Once inside, the females will seek blood and start laying eggs. This can lead to an infestation of biting horse flies in your home or around your property.

If you are dealing with horse flies, you should contact a qualified professional for help. Western Exterminator can diagnose your fly problem and help get rid of horse flies or other pests. Contact your local Western Exterminator office today.


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