One of the best things about Florida is enjoying the outdoors – but if biting flies show up, they can quickly ruin an outing with their painful bites.
Biting flies will bite humans and animals in order to obtain a blood meal. Not only are their bites irritating, they can sometimes cause injury or transmit disease.
Some types of biting flies are:
- Black flies
- Horse flies
- Stable flies
- Deer flies
A bit about biting flies:
- They are tiny, only about 1/16” long, and get their name because you don’t see them.
- No-see’ums are most active around sunrise and sunset during summer months.
- They are a nuisance near shorelines and wetland areas.
- No-see’ums are drawn to body heat, so they are attracted to warm-blooded animals and humans.
- Their bites leave small red welts.
- No-see’ums are active when winds are calm, and do not feed (bite) when there is a breeze.
- Black flies are small, dark, and have a hump-backed appearance.
- They are active during the day, in early to late spring.
- Besides biting, they also annoy humans and animals by buzzing around their eyes, ears, and noses.
- Their bites puncture the skin and can cause severe irritation.
STABLE FLIES (aka DOG FLY)
- The stable fly is similar to house fly in size and color, and is a common pest all over the world.
- Stable flies are mainly active during the daytime hours, in the late fall & early winter.
- They are persistent, and often attack more than one host, which increases the odds of them transmitting disease.
- They are known for appearing on Florida beaches and driving away tourists.
HORSE FLIES and DEER FLIES
- Horse flies and deer flies are closely related, and have similar life cycles.
- Horse flies are usually active during the day
- Deer flies are active during the day, in early to late spring.
- The females will circle your head several times before they bite. They have large piercing mouths, and their bites are quite painful.
- Their saliva contains an anticoagulant that helps them get more blood out, and many people are allergic to their bites.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO KEEP FLIES FROM BITING?
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to protect arms and legs from bites.
- Use a repellent that is labeled for biting fly protection.
- Biting flies are more active in still air, when there is no breeze, so creating a breeze with fans may help keep them at bay – though it may not keep them away entirely.
- Citronella candles, coils, and torches will sometimes help reduce biting fly activity.