Local News

Spokane business develops product to keep black flies away

SPOKANE, Wash. - It's black fly season in the inland Northwest, but a Spokane Valley business has developed a product you can wear to keep black flies from bugging you.

Some call them punkies, no-see-ums, or biting flies, but whatever you call them, they can hurt.

Stephanie Cates knows a lot about repelling insects.

She works at Rescue, a Spokane Valley company that researches and develops products that keep bugs away.

“The females are the ones that bite,” she said. “They're looking for bloodmeal for their developing eggs, but they typically go around the face and the back of the neck.”

Cates said spring runoff is creating the perfect breeding ground for these tiny vampires.

They reproduce in fast-moving, and are attracted to perspiration and the carbon dioxide in our breath.

“There's a very high demand for our products right now,” Cates said. “Especially the GoClip for mosquitoes and biting flies.”

The clips use a blend of essential oils that are pleasant smelling to humans, such as lemongrass, clove, peppermint, and cinnamon.

The black flies, however, do not like the smell of the oil, and will avoid the area if they smell this.

And there's even more good news. Warmer weather will eventually drive them out.

“Thankfully, the black fly season does not last very long here,” Cates said. “As soon as the weather gets really hot and dry, then you'll see less for these insects.”

The GoClips are really easy to put on and they smell good, too.

Fortunately, biting flies do not spread disease but if you do find yourself with a bite, rinse it off with soap and water, and place an ice cube over it. That will help with the irritation.