How to prevent yourself from becoming a black fly’s next blood meal
SPOKANE, Wash. — They’re back – Black flies are once again out and about in the region for mating season.
This time of year, while we transition to warmer weather, we may be on the lookout for mosquitoes or ticks. But there’s one more flying critter we need to be aware of. Black flies have made their return to the Inland Northwest. This is their mating season, so they’re all over.
Bug experts describe them as tiny vampires, because they’re similar to mosquitoes. They fly around waiting to suck someone’s blood as food. Right now is peak season and into early June. The reason is the river. Black Flies like it when the water is rough and even when it’s a little bit more humid outside.
“You can see how tiny it is compared to a mosquito and a regular house fly,” said Stephanie Cates, director of marketing and communications for Rescue, a pest control company based out of Spokane Valley.
“They like to do a sneak attack,” Cates said.
Bug experts said Black flies like to go straight for the back of the neck. Sound familiar? Perhaps like a certain folklore?
“They will actually use their sharp mouth parts to slice open your skin, and inject an anticoagulant, and suck your blood,” Cates said.
Black flies are like teeny tiny vampires.
“That’s what she uses to feed her eggs,” Cates said. “They will travel for several miles – up to ten miles – away from their breeding site for a blood meal,” Cates said.
That next blood meal could be you.
“Usually the back of the neck is where they go. They’re attracted to perspiration for some reason,” Cates said.
They’re so sly, you might not even know you got bit until you figure out you’re bleeding.
“Feel something wet on the back of their neck, and you reach up and you find blood on your hand,” Cates said.
There is a preventive method that was created right in Spokane Valley – the Go Clip.
“It’s an insect repellent that uses all natural essential oils,” Cates said.
“It’s really great for the back of the collar because that is where the black flies like to go for their blood meal,” Cates said.
While Black flies aren’t poisonous, bug experts said if you get bit, make sure you keep your skin dry and clean. Those bites can easily get infected, if you’re not careful. You can also take an antihistamine, and use a standard bug ointment for any swelling.
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