Horsefly – If You Get Bitten By It



Horseflies are part of the insect family with the scientific name of HaematopotaPulvialis. They prefer to fly in broad daylight hours from late May to late October. Further, these flies avoid shady areas and remain inactive during the night.


These flies get very easily identified because of their large size. Colorwise they are dark brown to grey to full black. Mostly horse flies have a whitish upper part of their body with some vertical lines of black color. The lower part of these flies has typically solid black color.

They have large dark color compound eyes and a metallic sheen to quickly locate the prey for their feed. However, these specific flies are hairy and have bright colors compared to other family members. In male flies, colored stripes are only on the inferior side of the body.


Its mid-size is 5 mm to 25 mm, i.e., 0.2 ~ 1.0 Inches to enormous dimensions of 60 mm, i.e., 2.4 inches with wingspan. Horseflies are larger up to 25 mm in length.


horsefly is sitting on a flower

Horseflies have different feeding habits. Adult females have strong mouthparts with stabbing stout organs with two sharp blades that cut their victims’ skin. With the help of their sponge-like organ, they suck the blood from the wound.

Female flies need a lot of protein to lay eggs, and they obtain it from the blood of their victims. Female flies need six days to digest the blood meal before having another one. These flies attracted potential victims by their CO2 breath-outs, movement, and warm bodies.

Flies commonly choose big mammals, including camels, deer’s, cattle etc. Only female horse flies can transfer blood-related diseases to other subjects. Cattles are the source of food and milk for us. Because of horse flies, the growth rate and production of milk can be considerably low.

On the other hand, adult male flies are harmless and only feed on nectar and plants. They also feed on a fluid generally emitted by the pores of an animal’s wound, and this fluid is called “exudates.”


different flies

The habitat of these horse flies is worldwide. Especially in most of Europe & the Eastern Palearctic Realm, except polar regions and some islands, like Greenland, Hawaii, and Iceland.

Most Tabanidea families belong to tropical and subtropical areas, but horse flies reproduce fast in warm regions with moist locations. Horseflies usually present at  a maximum height of 3,300 meters or 10,800 feet above sea levels.


male and female horsefly are breeding

Horseflies breed in swarms at hilltops. Females laid their eggs on stones or sometimes on vegetation with nearby water, with a cluster of approximately one thousand in numbers. Eggs of these flies in early stages have white color, but their color changes to dark shades with time.

Usually, the hatching time is about six days. When larvae come out of the egg, they do not have legs, tampering on both sides. In tropical species of this insect family, they breed several times a year. Some parasitic wasps commonly target eggs of this family. Most of the time, horsefly larva get eaten by birds. 

Horsefly larvae are usually present in salt water and fresh water marshes, ponds, streams, swamps, shallow lakes, and sometimes water edges. The shape of larvae is long and cylindrical. Larvae have small heads and about twelve segments with some bristles on their body.

Horsefly Bites

horsefly and boy is seeing toward bite spot on his hand

Horsefly bites are sometimes very painful. The reason is that the females have Sharpe cutting blades significantly on their mouth, which helps them make a wound to suck the victim’s blood.


The area where these flies bite on human skin becomes weal. Moreover, it includes reddish rashes, dizziness, wheezing, itching, swelling, and sometimes an allergic reaction. 


According to health studies, if a horsefly bites you, Firstly, wash the affected area with water and use a cold compress. It heals the affected area quickly. Secondly, don’t scratch the bitten area. Thirdly, look after the affected area to minimize the chances of excessive pusses and foul odor.

If the infection spread then there is no other option except to use proper medication from a certified physician. It includes oral drugs such as anti-allergy and pain-relieving drugs and medicated ointment on the affected area.


Humans can prevent themselves from horsefly bites with these simple tricks in summer.
● Don’t walk into long grassy terrain.
● Wear a light color dress because horse flies attract dark colors.
● Wear dresses, preferably thick clothing with long sleeves, long pants, and close-toed
● Before leaving the house, use insect repellent on the body that is not covered by the


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