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Black Flies - Biting Insect Library

Black Flies

Black flies, also known as “buffalo gnats” or “turkey gnats” can be quite annoying to people and mammals.  What are black flies attracted to?  Much like mosquitoes, both the male and female Black Fly feed on nectar.  It is only the female Black Fly who bites since she requires blood for the development of her eggs.

 

Black Flies can be found throughout the world from the warm tropics to the cold regions of the Arctic Circle.

 

 

 

 

Description

What are black flies?  Black files, also known as “buffalo gnats” or “turkey gnats” can be annoying to people and mammals. Although they are called Black Flies, they can be gray, brown, or yellow in color. The “buffalo gnat” nickname came from their hump-like body.

 

What are black flies attracted to?  Much like mosquitoes, both the male and female Black Fly feed on nectar.  In terms of the Black Flies' breeding cycle, it is only the female Black Fly who bites since she requires blood for the development of her eggs.  Depending on the species of Black Fly, the female will seek warm-blooded creatures such as humans, animals, and birds for her bloodmeal, or she may prefer cold-blooded animals.  If you are tired of being what black flies are attracted to, then a mosquito trap may be the answer.

 

Unlike most mosquitoes, however, females will bite in the middle of the day. As the female bites, she injects saliva into the skin, which is highly irritating and leads to swelling and itching.  Some species of Black Flies have painful bites, often prompting a burning sensation in the victim.

 

It is not just the pain of the bite that is a concern with Black Flies.  They can be vectors, or transmitters, of diseases around the world, including onchocerciasis (river blindness) and mansonellosis in humans, bovine onchocerciasis in cattle and horses, and leucocytozoonosis in wild birds.  There is a possibility that they could also transmit encephalitis, but this has not been confirmed to date.

 

 

 

 

 

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