Why are there So Many Horseflies Right Now in Lexington, KY & Why are Horsefly Bites So Painful?

Fall is a wonderful time of year to enjoy the outdoors with a cool reprieve from the hot summer months. The sound of children laughing and playing and adults visiting float through the air during perfect fall evenings. The sound of different insects can be heard as well. While the sound of some insects can be cathartic, the buzzing sound of horseflies is just frustrating! What can be worse than a fly buzzing in your ear? A biting fly that buzzes in your ear AND then bites you. Here in Kentucky, horseflies can be found buzzing around and biting a lot during this time of year.

What Does a Horsefly Look Like?

Horseflies differ in appearance from the regular house fly. They are yellowish-brown or blackish in color. Regular house flies are grey to black in color. The horsefly is typically 20 to 25 mm long while the house fly is usually 6 to 7 mm long. Horseflies do resemble honey bees. The largest different between the appearance of honey bees and horseflies because horseflies only have one pair of wings and their wings are covered with faint smoky spots. The horsefly has a huge head. Horseflies are known for their beautiful eyes that have lustrous metallic color shades. Six flesh piercing parts compose the mouth of the horsefly.

Why are Horsefly Bites So Painful?

Though both male and female houseflies anatomically have the same mouth, the males’ mouthpieces are weaker than the females. Only female horseflies actually bite. Female horseflies feed on blood. Similar to female mosquitoes, female horseflies must have a meal with protein to produce the eggs necessary for reproduction. Horseflies are equipped with six stylets that in their mouth that help them slice their victims. Once they slice their victim’s flesh they drink from the blood that pools in the wound. Since their bite is irritating to the victim, the victim frequently brushes the horsefly off of them. The horsefly may have to bite multiple victims to obtain enough blood. Horseflies will be attracted to their victims by movement, warmth, surface texture, and by the carbon dioxide it breathes out. They will typically choose cattle, horses, camels, and deer. They can also feed on smaller mammals, birds, lizards, turtles, and on animals that have recently died. If you have been bitten by a horsefly you will want to clean the affected area thoroughly. Once the bite has been cleaned, treat it with an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment or spray to help reduce the swelling, pain, and irritation that can be felt after being bitten. If you have any more severe signs, such as a rash, worsening pain, or difficulty breathing you will want to seek medical attention.

Horsefly Control

Horseflies can be tricky to get rid of. Wearing an insect repellant if you are going to be in an area where there are horseflies can at least prevent you from being bitten until you can get rid of them. Typically horseflies are the hardest to get rid of if livestock is on the property. Many homeowners will use screens to help keep horseflies out of their animals’ shelters. You can also set horsefly traps. If all of your efforts to get rid of the horseflies are not working, All-Rite Pest Control can come and set up a treatment plan that will best suit your needs.