Tiny, plentiful, and annoying, black flies can be quite a nuisance. Whether they are disrupting a backyard party or flying in your face during a hike, running into these annoying pests can ruin a good time pretty fast.

What’s worse about these flying insects is that they can do so much more than pester you. While they may not be as dangerous as mosquitoes, black flies can cause some problems for your family and can even turn deadly for animals.

Plus, they can be more difficult to get rid of then you might think. So, what are black flies and what are some simple ways you can get rid of them?

Tiny, plentiful, and annoying, black flies can be quite a nuisance.What exactly are Black Flies?

Black flies are often considered a particularly annoying flying insect. Also called “buffalo gnats” or “turkey gnats,” these meddlesome insects not only bother humans but all kinds of animals. The small, biting pests make it a habit to hover around wildlife, livestock, poultry, and, of course, us. They are blood-sucking creatures, not unlike mosquitoes, and like their more deadly counterpart, black flies are possible disease carriers.

There are over 250 species of black fly in North America, but over 2,000 different variants can be found around the world. So, how dangerous could these little flies be?

What are the dangers of Black Flies?

Like many blood-sucking insects, black flies can transmit parasites during a blood-meal. They typically mate in the late spring to the early summer. The females need blood to fertilize their eggs, and if they encounter any parasites before feasting on yours, it could cause some problems. In specific regions, a black fly can transmit a disease called “river blindness.” However, “Black Fly Fever” is more common for North America.

Those experiencing “black fly fever” may experience headaches, nausea, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. These reactions may be worse if the host has an allergic reaction. These reactions and parasites can be transmitted to livestock as well.

The non-biting black fly species can be just as irritating. They tend to aim and crawl into the eyes, ears, and mouth. The situation can get so dire that black flies can actually suffocate their victims by clogging their nose and throat. Plus, they cause a symptom called “toxic shock” to animals. Clearly, as annoying and dangerous as these pests can be, you want to avoid them if you can. Here are seven simple ways to do it.

1.  Don’t Go Where Black Flies Go

Black flies are typically found in lowlands and areas with dense vegetation. You can also find swarms in sheltered and shaded areas. They are attracted to places with high moisture where fungi are prevalent. If you want to avoid these pests, keep your distance from bodies of water, such as streams, ponds, and lakes. If you avoid where they like to go, you don’t have to worry about the aftermath.

2. Avoid Peak Activity Times

If you can’t avoid the typical black fly haunts, then try to stay indoors when they are most active. These flying pests tend to come out during dawn and activity ramps up again at dusk. You can also by-pass any meetings with these insects if you head out when the weather is particularly hot and dry, or very windy days.

3. Wear the Right Stuff

Black flies are often attracted to dark clothing, much like the shade or darker areas. To ward these pests away, try wearing bright colors or white clothes when you head out. Not only will this help deter them, but it will also make them easier to spot should they land on you.

black flies are attracted to dark colors.try wearing bright colors or white clothes when you head out

4. Cover up Those Limbs

If you want to fully protect yourself, you should not expose your bare skin. The best way to protect your body is to cover up as much as possible. Wear shoes, socks, long sleeves, and pants, and if possible, a hat. In fact, a netted hat is a great way to protect your eyes, ears, and mouth. Since black flies are attracted to CO2, they tend to hover near the face. Something like a beekeeper’s veil or a head net will help keep them out.

5. Repellent with the Proper Products

Unfortunately, most repellents aren’t super effective against black flies, but they do help provide some relief. Go for insect repellents with DEET; these will not only help deter black flies, but it will keep additional pests away too. Additionally, you can try scents that repel black flies such as lavender, vanilla, and pine. Again, these are guaranteed to keep black flies away, but they will help reduce the amount.

6. Ditch the Perfume

Fungi, moisture, and CO2 aren’t the only things that attract black flies. They are drawn to sweet smells. If you find yourself surrounded, your soap, shampoo, or perfume may be the problem. To avoid being the favorite host for these pesky insects, try to go for unscented products or without perfume during high bug season. If you really want to keep the extra scent, go for smells that will deter black flies, like lavender, vanilla, or pine.

best way to battle them is by using a fan.

7. Blow or Smoke Them Out

If you have black flies in your yard and you still want to enjoy your patio, the best way to battle them is by using a fan. Not only will this blow away any CO2 you expel, but these insects have a tough time handling wind. If you don’t want to install a fan or drag one outside, fire up the ol’ fire pit. The smoke will help mask the scent.

Keeping Pesky Black Flies Out

Black flies can be more than an annoyance, but you don’t have to deal with them. Using these simple tips, you can avoid these pesky flying insects and they will be forced to find their blood-meal elsewhere. If you are experiencing a black fly infestation and these tips aren’t doing the trick, consider reaching out to a pest control expert. Get back to enjoying your yard and the great outdoors, bug-free!



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