You’re walking along and feel something wet on the back of your neck. You touch the area and find blood on your hand. The culprit? A sneaky little vampire known as a black fly.
The combination of a robust spring runoff, cloudy weather, and humidity create the perfect breeding ground for black biting flies.
Also known as “buffalo gnats”, “punkies” or “no-see-ums”, these insects usually come out in force late May/early June in the Pacific Northwest.
Black flies like to breed near rapidly moving water like the Spokane River, flowing fast right now with the spring runoff. They are active on cloudy, humid days with low wind.
The heavy black fly season usually lasts several weeks. Once the weather heats up and dries out, black flies become less of a problem.
The females are the ones that bite, drawing blood that they need for egg development. Once the human or animal target is located, the black fly cuts a hole in the skin with its sharp mouthpart and draws the blood.
To keep black flies away, RESCUE! makes an all-natural biting fly repellent called the GoClip®, which can be attached to a shirt or pet collar.
To treat black fly bites, wash the area with soap and water and put a cool compress or ice cube over the bite. Benadryl ointment applied to the bite site also provides relief. One should avoid scratching or touching the affected area to prevent infection. Click here for more information on treatment of black fly bites.