Black flies

Identification

  • Colour Black, yellow, or orange
  • Size From 2 mm to 6 mm long
  • Also known as Turkey gnats, Buffalo gnats
  • Description Typically have large wings, an arched thorax, large eyes, and short antennae

General Facts

Why do I have black flies?

Black flies rarely come indoors, preferring to stay outside, laying their eggs on partially submerged objects in fast flowing waters, like streams. The larvae that emerge stay underwater for several weeks, attaching themselves to a rock or branch. Once the larvae are fully grown, they fly away but usually stay within 16 km of their birthplace, seeking out sources of their primary food, flower nectar.

How worried should I be about black flies?

Just before female black flies lay eggs, they will bite humans, mammals, or birds and suck their blood like mosquitoes to get a "blood meal" required for egg development. This does not transmit disease but can cause a small wound or severe swelling. There also is so-called “black fly fever,” a collection of symptoms including headache, upset stomach, and fever. Meanwhile, non-biting black flies make pests of themselves by flying around people’s heads and crawling into their ears, eyes, nose, and mouth. Adult flies can be difficult to control, so to truly eliminate a black fly infestation, you'll need to focus on eradicating the larvae with the help of a professional pest control service.

How can I avoid black fly bites?

Avoid black flies in the daytime in May and June, Be especially careful on long, hot, humid days, Use appropriately labelled insect repellent, Wear protective clothing and fine mesh head netting

Other pests related to Black flies

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