There are many different types of flies and the majority of them won’t actually bite. They use feelers on their feet to decide if they have found food. If so, they spit acid onto the food and, after a few moments, suck up the liquified remains.
However, there are some flies that do bite. The horsefly is one of these. That’s why, if you find a large number of horseflies in your area you should contact your local pest control specialist to get the problem dealt with. You can learn more here.
Understanding The Horse Fly
Horseflies are found all over the world, with the exception of a few islands, like Hawaii, and artic areas such as Greenland or Iceland.
Not all horseflies bite humans. The adult males feed on nectar and won’t give you a problem. But, the female adults need the protein in your blood to produce their eggs. In this way, they are similar to mosquitoes. They literally bite you for your blood.
The mouth of a female horsefly is designed into a stabbing piece, accompanied by two blades, much like a pair of scissors. These blades slice into your skin, holding the fly in place as the stabbing part goes through the skin’s surface and into your blood vessels. A sponge part of the mouth absorbs the blood.
As they bite, horseflies transmit a little saliva into your skin. This acts as an anaesthetic which is why you don’t always feel them biting. Unfortunately, the transmission of saliva also means they can transmit any bacteria they are carrying.
In short, if they are carrying a disease, they can pass it on to you.
How Painful Is The Bite?
A horse fly bite is often said to be more painful than being stung by a bee. This is because, when their blades cut into your skin, you have effectively been sliced by multiple needles. Although the pain may not be instant, the anaesthetic wears off quickly, leaving you with a big red lump. It’s painful and itchy.
Treating The Bite
It’s impossible to tell if a horse fly is carrying an infectious disease or not. The only thing you can do after being bitten is to apply anti-bite cream. This reduces the stinging sensation.
The majority of these creams also contain antiseptic which will help to reduce the risk of infection. It’s imperative that you don’t scratch the area as this will increase the likelihood of infection.
If you don’t have any cream with you then you can cover the bite with your own saliva. It has healing properties which will protect the wound and help it to heal faster.
It is advisable to monitor the wound and how you feel in general. If there are any signs of infection or you start to feel ill, you’ll need to seek medical assistance. In most cases the horse fly bite will clear up by itself in a few days and, providing you haven’t scratched it, there will be no scarring.