The bite of the blackfly is very painful, but usually not further dangerous. Provided that you treat it properly and pay attention to the symptoms.

The hotter, the more there are of the blood-sucking insects: The blackfly can really spoil the summer months. Silently and without a warning buzz, it sneaks up behind you to bite. How to recognize and treat the bite, and whether it is really dangerous or not, is revealed in the following overview.

What does a blackfly look like?

In America, there are about 50 different species of black flies, with scientific name Simuliidae. They are between 0.07 inch and 0.2 inch in size and black in color, as experts informs. Their bite is very unpleasant, even worse than that of grass mites in the lawn.

Generally, black flies feed on plant juices. Those who make life difficult for humans and animals are the females, which need blood to reproduce. And they get it mainly from mammals. They have powerful mouthparts (mandibles) with which they scratch the skin of their victims.

Occurrence and distribution of the blackfly

Black flies are most common in rural areas. They are actually only found outdoors, fortunately they avoid indoor areas. They prefer the vicinity of fast-flowing waters such as rivers, as their larvae require this environment as a habitat, as an expert explains.

The female black flies get the blood for egg production mainly from grazing animals such as cows and horses. Horse manure, by the way, is a valuable fertilizer for the garden. Horse riders and farmers can tell you a thing or two about it. Even they are not safe from the insect and are often bitten.

How do you recognize the bite?

As the expert goes on to explain, black flies – like horse flies, which you should also protect yourself from – are among the so-called pool suckers. This means that they carve a wound into the skin of their victim, wait until it fills with blood, and then suck it up.

Because the insects secrete a special saliva secretion that stops blood clotting and numbs the area, you don’t feel anything at first. At first, only a small, bloody spot is visible from the bite. When the anesthetic wears off, the bite begins to itch and hurt, sometimes very badly. This is usually quickly joined by redness and a more or less pronounced swelling.

Is the bite of a blackfly dangerous?

The bite of a blackfly is not dangerous per se. According to Bayern, the insects do not transmit any diseases in our latitudes. However, some people react allergically to the injected secretion – sometimes so strongly that they have to be treated medically. Depending on the species of blackfly, the saliva is actually toxic and can lead to painful bruising. This is the case, for example, with the Golumbacer mosquito, as Spektrum der Wissenschaft warns. Because the bite is very itchy, those affected often scratch themselves badly. Here, there is an additional risk of blood poisoning.

How to treat a bite?

The most important rule after the bite of a blackfly is therefore indeed: do not scratch. Doing so can allow bacteria to enter the wound, causing it to become infected and develop into blood poisoning. Blood poisoning can be recognized by redness and severe swelling, with the area feeling hot and throbbing. It can be clearly identified when a red line runs from the bite. General malaise, chills and fever are further symptoms. At the latest then it is called to visit the doctor as soon as possible, as Bayern explains.

As unpleasantly and painfully the bite may be, in the normal case it heals with the correct treatment again from alone. The expert advises to disinfect and cool the place. If necessary, an antihistamine gel against itching or decongestant ointment from the pharmacy can be applied. If the bite feels hot the next day and is very swollen, you should also see a doctor as a precaution.