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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.  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.




Breeding Habits

The lifespan of Black Flies is short, lasting only 2-3 weeks.  The Black Flies breeding ground is clear running water. The female Black Fly will not lay her eggs in polluted water.  Females deposit from 150 to 500 eggs in submerged vegetation, and the eggs hatch in four to five days, making the Black Flies breeding cycle very fast.  The eggs proceed through the larval and pupal stages before becoming adults.


In warmer regions the Black Fly’s life cycle is continuous and each stage is short in length; in some cooler regions, it will overwinter in the larval stage; while in much colder regions, the Black Fly usually spends the winter in the egg stage.


There can be anywhere from 1 to 6 generations in a year, depending on the region’s temperature and the Black Fly species.




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