Animal owners are tingling all over their bodies when they only hear the words "black fly." This mosquito species grows up to 6 millimeters in size and can become a health problem, especially in older and immunocompromised animals. About 50 different species of black flies are native to our latitudes. Their bites cause allergic reactions in animals, which left untreated can turn into open wounds.
The Painful and Dangerous Bite of the Black Fly
When we think about mosquito bites, we are thinking of the small, barely noticeable sting on the skin with a slight itching that ceases quickly. On the other hand, black flies do not sting; they bite. Their scissors-like biting instruments drill into the skin of the animal until a small pool is created, which is then filled with blood. Then, the insects feed on it. The black fly's bite is very painful for the animal. It can be a health hazard for all warm-blooded animals.
The Underestimated Danger: The Results of a Black Fly's Bite
In order to allow the blood to collect in a pool, the black flies apply the natural substance histamine into the local bite site. It dilutes the blood but at the same time triggers significant allergic reactions. This can cause a mild reaction like itching or a strong reaction such as a bad skin irritation and cardiovascular failure. When animals have stood unprotected on the range, many have died because of a mass attack of black flies. The animal's system reacts to the attack, and this can cause the animal to exhibit uncontrolled movements while trying to escape which can lead to accidents.
Who Do Black Flies Attack?
However, black flies most frequently attack horses. The black fly especially loves targeting their ear conch and belly line.
Black Fly Diseases
Animals react differently to insect bites than humans. Humans can cleanse the affected area and cover the bite with creams. They know that itching or rubbing aggravates the injury, and therefore, they avoid it. Animals, however, try to appease the itch. They rub themselves on stable walls or roll in the dirt to get rid of the annoying itch. As a result, the hair falls out of the affected areas and irritates the skin. The wound gets inflamed and festers. This creates a sweet itch, that should be treated immediately with the appropriate care products. Such open wounds are a great lure for the black flies, which show only more aggressiveness, sit down on the open wound, and there again provide allergic reactions. This cycle can become a life-threatening danger to the animal.
The Blue Hour and Black Flies
The risk of a black fly attack is particularly high during the so-called blue hour, just before it gets light in the morning or before the sun sets in the evening. Animal owners should avoid going outside with their animal during this time. In addition, horses should not stand in the pasture at dawn, or alternatively they should be protected with a special eczema blanket.