Weather conditions on the side of flesh-rending horsefly

Published on July 24, 2014
A portrait of a horsefly. The insect is abundant this year in Pictou County. Source: Wikipedia
Copyright:Sharad Patel

NEW GLASGOW – It’s perfect weather for breeding horseflies.

The pesky, oversized flies that buzz around your head before landing on your body and taking a chunk out of your skin are having a baby boom because of ideal weather conditions, said local entomologist Eric Georgeson.

The Lyons Brook resident said the warm, dry weather experienced the last few weeks in the county is causing bodies of water to shrink and producing wet, spongy earth around such things as ponds or riverbanks.

He said black flies need running water to breed and mosquitoes love stagnant water, but when those waters start to dry up, the horseflies have perfect breeding grounds.

According to research done by North Carolina University, female horseflies feed on nectar for the most part, but when they are ready to reproduce, they seek out blood in order to get the protein necessary to develop mature eggs.

When they do bite, they have blade-like mouthparts that they use like scissors to cut open the skin and get the blood.

They are drawn to large, dark objects and the carbon dioxide that animals and humans exhale.  

Georgeson said there is little that can be done to prevent them from buzzing around and if this type of weather continues, they will continue breeding throughout the summer months. 

He said insect repellants aren’t very effective in warding off the nasty bugs which means swatting them may be a person’s best defence.