Black Fly Info - Maine Nature News (2022)

Black flies really are a nuisance but I hope you won’t let that keep you inside. There are repellents and gear that work well to protect you from being bitten. Get out and enjoy Maine nature – even the black flies. You can tell everyone you’ve experienced the black flies and lived to tell about it!

Black flies bring more readers to Maine Nature News than anything else. It isn’t the moose, foliage, loons, hiking, river rafting or even a combination of all of these – it’s the black flies. Dress appropriately, use a little spray and have fun!

I speak with the media each spring about black flies. If you’re a writer/reporter you’re welcome to email me.

Gene Thompson
Editor, Maine Nature News

When is “Black Fly Season”?
There is actually no single, uniform “black fly season.” The maps in the Maine Nature News archive are based on scattered local observations. But, there is enough information there to draw some tentative general conclusions for some locations in Maine.
Do the black flies persist after July? What is the best time to camp and hike in Maine and avoid the flies?
Black fly larvae, which hatch in clear running streams, do not hatch until everything thaws and the water temperature has also risen a bit. The black fly season moves, in general, from South to North and simultaneously from the coastal plain to inland areas and from lowest elevations up to the highest. So there is no precise “end” to black fly season in Maine. However by mid-July in most places after the birds have start gobbling them up, and after the black fly adults have bred for the season and go into “dormancy”, the numbers dwindle drastically almost everywhere. During wet summers like 2009, the black flies can still be prevalent in late summer.

Here are some more key pieces of information, as a further general answer to your question:

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  • Black flies breed in running water, unlike mosquitoes, which breed in still water. Because there are about forty species, not all flourish at the same time.
    Black flies can travel several miles from their breeding site, so those environmental rules cannot be counted on completely, as a means to avoid them.
  • Strong breezes tend to disperse them, as they are a very small insect.
    I have found, and others confirm, that black flies are generally inactive until the air temperature has risen to at least 50 degrees F., even in black fly season.
    I have also found that they seem less numerous at higher altitudes, probably because of a combination of the above three factors: the lack of expansive breeding sites, cooler temperatures and the more consistent presence of breezes.
  • “Black flies are strongly influenced by color — they find dark hues more attractive than pale ones, and blue, purple, brown, and black more attractive than white or yellow. A light-colored shirt, therefore, is a much better choice of clothing than a dark blue one. It is a moot point, however, whether blue jeans might not be better than pale trousers: if they are carefully tucked in at the ankles and are without holes, jeans may help to attract the flies away from the head region.”: Courtesy Rocco Moschetti, IPM of Alaska.
  • “Black flies often swarm around a person’s head because they are attracted to carbon dioxide in the breath. … Bites are concentrated on exposed areas of skin, especially along the hairline, feet, ankles and arms.” Courtesy Jeffrey Hahn, University of Minnesota Extension Service.
  • “The bites can produce a variety of reactions ranging from little or no irritation to considerable irritation and swelling. Sensitivity varies from person to person.” Courtesy Jeffrey Hahn, University of Minnesota Extension Service.
  • In general, unlike mosquitoes, they will not fly at night or penetrate most clothing.
  • Local variation is the rule. Local people are usually the most helpful resource, as they observe these things very carefully.
  • Head nets and body nets really work, if one takes care to leave no gaps where the netting meets the shoulders or the ankles. Head nets can be draped over the hat you usually wear, or a version with an internally attached cap can be purchased. When used without a cap, care must be taken to leave a small space all around the head that the insect cannot penetrate.

I am interested in the Latin name of the Maine black fly.

The black flies comprise the family Simuliidae, and that is probably the best collective Latin name to give for them as a group. Many (but not all) are in the genus Simulium. Around 40 species are common in Maine, with about 10 – 15 species flourishing at any one location during the course of the black fly season. I would hesitate to name any one species as the “most common,” but Simulium venustum and Simulium vittatum are found almost everywhere in the state, in varying numbers.

My wife calls a black fly a “MayFly.” I always thought a mayfly was a long flying insect with a waggly tail … that comes out in May. The black fly comes out as early as April so I can’t understand why she thinks it is a May fly. Could you help provide the answer as to whether or not a Black Fly is a May Fly?

Black flies are generally 1/6″ or less. There are many species in North America. They all breed in running water. The females bite to get a meal of blood. They are a nuisance to humans in Northern areas from approximately May through July. Adults may live several weeks. All are members of the family Simuliidae. A nickname for them is “buffalo gnats.” I have not heard of them being called mayflies.

American mayflies range from 1/2″ to about 1-1/2″. There are about 550 species in North America. They breed in lakes, ponds, streams. They spend most of their lives in water as nymphs, a non-flying stage in their development. The adults emerge winged from April through October. They do not feed at all during their brief adulthood, and die after 1 or 2 days. All are members of order Ephemeroptera. I do not know of any nicknames for mayflies.

Unlike mosquitoes, black flies seldom attack indoors or even in in a vehicle; once they sense being trapped their attention seems permanently diverted to escape and they spend the rest of their lives crawling up the screen or window pane.”

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Black flies breed in running water, unlike mosquitoes, which breed in stagnant water. Although there are some studies about black fly larva control, there are logistical and environmental concerns:

a) Most public water supplies originate in streams and other running water bodies.
b) Larvae locate in very localized clusters, in dispersed, inconspicuous locations, making pesticide application much less cost effective than for other insects.

Black fly appearance is characterized by a succession of flourishing of as many as 20 or 30 species in a locality, each with their own breeding time and cycle (some twice a season) complicating the management of any attempted control measures.

* The Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station has five publications you might want to know about, and perhaps obtain via interlibrary loan through your library:

  • Black flies in Maine: biology, damage and control. 1977. (Maine Agricultural Experiment Station Miscellaneous Report No. 188.
  • The Black Flies of Maine. 1979. (Maine Agricultural Experiment Station Technical Bulletin No. 95)
  • Experimental Stream Applications of B.T.I. for Human Nuisance Black Fly Management in a recreational area. 1988. (Maine Agricultural Experiment Station Technical Bulletin No. 133
  • Possible control of the Black Fly Simulium Penobscotensis by Temporary Habitat Alteration. 1979. (Maine Agricultural Experiment Station Miscellaneous Report No. 215.)
  • Research on the Black Fly Problem in Maine, a Report to the 105th Maine Legislature. 1971. (Maine Agricultural Experiment Station Miscellaneous Report No. 131.)

Most control has concentrated on personal measures, such as use of repellent, and timing activities to avoid the hours, dates, temperatures, or places of maximum appearance.

Could you please clear up a question that has been the subject of much discussion around our campfires? Does the Black fly pollinate the Blueberry?

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Three important things pertain to answering your question.

1. As you may know, the black flies we see at any given time may actually be of different species, each with its own habitat and hatching time — at some times more than one species is prevalent in a locality at one time. A few species hatch more than one generation in a year. Only the females of the various black fly species feed on blood, and not all feed on humans. (Some swarm only, but without biting. Others are not attracted to humans at all.)
2. According to Jeffrey Grannet’s Black Flies in Maine; biology, damage and control (Maine Agricultural Experiment Station Misc. Report 188. 1977): “Male black flies do not bite. Their only source of nutrition is plant nectar or sap.”
3. A lot of the plant pollination in Maine is done by species other than honey bees, since these do not easily survive the Northern winters. (Wild bee species, wasps and even hummingbirds all contribute.) By deduction, since there are adult black flies present almost all during the non-winter months, and since some feed on plant nectar thus incidentally pollinating as they feed, and since blueberries are in flower during months when black flies are present, I would conclude that, yes, some pollination of blueberries (and other flowers) may occur by some of the black flies.

The following would seem to strengthen the case. Roger W. Crosskey The Natural History of Blackflies (Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, 1990) notes in the subchapter on “Feeding on Plants”, subsection on “Attraction to Flowers,”:

“Probably almost any flowering plant will at times attract some blackflies in its flowering season if it is nectar productive, even if certain species have favourite plants in different parts of their geographical range. … in Canada, the blueberry plants Vaccinium angustifolium and Vaccinium myrtilloides are specially attractive.”
(Note: I believe the common wild blueberry in Maine is Vaccinium angustifolium, although there are several other species.).

More grist for the campfire stories, I guess!

Why are they called black flies when bigger houseflies are also ‘black’?

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Almost every animal and plant has a scientific name and a common name or names. The scientific name is universally used by scientists and students worldwide. The common names are used in daily life and may vary from one place to another for the same animal or plant. The group of true flies includes: house flies, deer flies, horse flies, black flies and many other species. The scientific name that the insect family of all black flies share is Simuliidae. However this insect has many common names such as: black fly, blackfly, buffalo gnat, and reed smut. In French-speaking Canada they are known as mouches noires, in Latin America as jejenes, and so forth.

To the European explorers who first came to the Western Hemisphere black flies were almost unknown in their home countries. When they encountered them here they gave them various names, usually by comparing with insects already known. According to Roger W. Crosskey’s book The Natural History of Blackflies (Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, 1990) the name was first used in New England, by at least the late 1700’s. The earliest non-Native persons to encounter them were merely describing the “new” insects in terms of the known insect group “flies” and the fact that they are dark-colored and that they are a type of fly. Thus the name “black fly” came into common use, as there was no commonly used alternative.

Q1: Our son is real sensitive to any bug or mosquito bites. What is the best form of prevention and the best form of relief post bite?
Q2: I was hiking on a trail and something bit me behind my left ear although I didn’t know it at the time. About three days later I had a sore throat and earache on the left side of my head and pain to-the-touch in the same general area up to the top of my head, as well as, about six bites and swelling behind my ear. I didn’t suspect Black flies because there was none of the usual sensitivity, itching or welts common with the bites. I ended up going to the doctor. All is well now except for some slight stiffness and pain that seems to be receding quite rapidly each day.
Q3: When a human is bitten, and as I have seen the swelling and itching, is there potential for an infection specific to this gnat and to what degree does it occur? We recently spent a weekend at our house and of course she has sustained a bite on her head where her hair meets her forehead. There is an intense red circle about the size of a quarter at this site and a more diffuse swelling about 3 inches which is not discolored that extends across her forehead from hairline to eyes, with resulting headaches and eye sensitivity.

From time to time people write in to the Maine Nature News with questions similar to the above. Many people spend time outdoors with no ill effects from biting insects. But under some conditions, and with some individuals there can be unexpected reactions.

Generally black fly bites cause some itching and minor swelling from the first few bites of the season, following which an immunity develops, with subsequent reduced reactions. Nonetheless, even individuals who have lived all their lives in black fly country and are exposed every season, can have greater effects if they get an unusually high number of bites on their first exposure of the season, or have some significant change in their physical condition or medical status. Therefore everyone should take this possibility into account as they do with all other outdoor risks, and take appropriate precautions.

Please keep the following things in mind:
1. Learn about the insects in the areas you visit. Your local library can help you. Also, some links to informational web sites are listed below.
2. If you already know you have some sensitivities or allergies then you should talk to your doctor ahead of time and plan to take precautions when recreating in the outdoors, especially when you visit an unfamiliar location.
3. If you get a bite or sting make a positive identification of the insect or arachnid from which you received it. Not all alleged black fly bites are really from black flies. Get positive professional identification.4. Get medical attention for any reaction that appears unusual or concerns you. Be sure to let the doctor know positively what bit or stung you.

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FAQs

How long is blackfly season in Maine? ›

Generally, they emerge in spring, have one generation, and are gone by July.

Are black flies a problem in Maine? ›

Black flies have been long-time residents of Maine and cause extensive nuisance problems for people, domestic animals, and wildlife.

At what temperature do black flies become active? ›

You should know black fly season is generally from Mother's Day to Father's Day or into early July, with the peak roughly in the middle. The flies breed in cold, clean running water and emerge when water temperatures hit the 40s.

Are there black flies in Maine now? ›

Maine is now somewhat notorious for its black fly population. Over the years different towns around the state have held festivals, dances and other events to pay a tongue-and-cheek homage to the nuisance pest.

Why are there so many black flies in 2022? ›

June 27, 2022, at 11:16 a.m. PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine's season for black flies appears to be taking up more of the year due to factors including cleaner water and climate change. Black flies are small insects, some of which feed on human blood and bedevil outdoor adventure seekers in the state.

What repels Maine black flies? ›

Vanilla extract, pine, or lavender oil repels biting black flies and mosquitoes too. Herbs like anise, basil, cedarwood, coriander, lemongrass, and mint may work to repel black flies and can be planted in flower boxes or pots and around the edges of your yard. Garlic plants are also reported to have a repelling effect.

Are flies worse this year 2022? ›

Flies. In the coming year, cities may see an uptick in fly activity. The cause: trash, warmer winters, and more rainfall. In addition to being a huge nuisance, flies are known for carrying food-borne diseases, which is why any increase in fly activity warrants immediate action.

What time of day are black flies most active? ›

Black flies are most active a couple of hours after sunrise and a couple of hours before sunset. They are most active on calm days and in sheltered areas (wooded areas). They are less of a nuisance on windy days and in open areas. Black flies are attracted to dark colors such as navy blue.

How long do black flies stay around? ›

When is black fly season? Black fly season typically starts in the middle of May and runs through late June or early July. They're often gone by mid-July but a cold, rainy start to summer (like 2017) can extend the season into August. Swarms often appear around creeks, rivers and streams.

Can black flies bite through clothing? ›

Reduce Your Risk of Black Fly Bites

wear light colored clothing; black flies are attracted to dark colors. wear long sleeves, pants and hat, covering as much exposed skin as possible; black flies don't bite through clothing. avoid peak biting times; unlike mosquitoes, black flies are daytime feeders.

Where do black flies go at night? ›

“As the day turns to dusk, flies take refuge under leaves and branches, on twigs and tree trunks, on the stems of tall grass and other plants,” Dr. Grimaldi said. “They typically will not overnight on the ground.

Does peppermint oil repel black flies? ›

Mint, spearmint and peppermint are great deterrents for black flies. Add a couple of drops of essential oil to your body lotion, to the final rinse of your laundry or just dab some on your clothing. Applying essential oils directly to skin may cause reactions or rashes.

Does DEET repel black flies? ›

DEET: DEET is the commonly used acronym for the chemical N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide. It has been extensively used as a highly effective mosquito repellent and also works well on ticks, fleas, black flies, and biting midges (no-see-ums). DEET can be found in concentrations ranging from 4-100%.

Does baby oil repel black flies? ›

"Actually, what we suggest to people who are gardening is to put a hardhat on and smear it with baby oil," Dill said. "Those [black flies] that are just bouncing off you and driving you crazy will get stuck in the baby oil. They're kind of delicate little creatures, so that's enough to stop them."

How long does it take for black fly bites to heal? ›

Sometimes, black fly bites need medical attention. You should consult a doctor if: A black fly bit you near your eyes or mouth. Symptoms have not gone away even after 14 days.

Why are there so many flies in my house all of a sudden 2022? ›

Flies tend to reproduce a lot in the summer and your area might just happen to have a lot of a certain species at certain times of the summer. If you've left the lights on in your house during the night, it will draw flies, and with the window open you could discover hundreds of them occupying a room suddenly.

How does vinegar get rid of cluster flies? ›

For this method to work, you need to mix about an inch of apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap in a tall glass. After that, cover the glass with plastic and then poke small holes in the top. Flies will fly through the holes because of the vinegar and will get trapped.

How do flies get in the house when windows are closed? ›

The gaps and crevices on damaged window frames, door frames, and on your home's roofs, walls, and foundation are the entry points for flies and bugs. Flies will sneak inside your home through these gaps. So, it would be best to seal these gaps.

Will vinegar keep black flies away? ›

Apple cider vinegar is an old-timey remedy that many say helps with mosquitoes, black flies, and ticks. Start three to four days before your planned outdoor activity and take a tablespoon of vinegar three to four times a day to help your skin ward off biting bugs on its own.

How do you get rid of blackfly naturally? ›

How do you get rid of black flies naturally? Black flies are common pests that can be frustrating and difficult to kill. The best way is by using peppermint oil, which will repel the insects from your plants without any harsh chemicals or toxins. Dilute a few drops in water and spray liberally.

Do pennies deter flies? ›

According to Wide Open Country, zip-top bags filled with water and a few pennies adorn many restaurants, porches and doorways in the South to keep flies away.

What smell will keep flies away? ›

Cinnamon – use cinnamon as an air freshner, as flies hate the smell! Lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint and lemongrass essential oils – Not only will spraying these oils around the house create a beautiful aroma, but they will also deter those pesky flies too.

Does Pine Sol keep flies away? ›

This spray is great for outdoor and indoor use. Flies seem to HATE pine-sol. To make the fly repelling spray, mix the original Pine-Sol with water, at a ratio of 50/50 and put it in a spray bottle. Use to wipe counters or spray on the porch and patio table and furniture to drive the flies away.

Does killing flies attract more? ›

When you decide to kill a fly, it will release a lot of pheromones that will in turn attract more flies. Farmers who understand the fly factor actually use it as a bait to attract other flies so that they can trap them.

What color attracts black flies? ›

Research also shows that black flies are more attracted to dark colors than to light colors; hikers who dress accordingly are less likely to be bothered. In order to avoid being bothered by black flies, hikers often tightly tuck in their shirts and pants.

What plants repel black flies? ›

Mint, Catnip, and Pennyroyal – Mint, catnip, and pennyroyal will all repel flies as well as being repugnant to ants and mice. These herbs work well dried as well, but be aware that pennyroyal can be toxic to pets and children.

What happens when a black fly bites you? ›

Bites can cause swelling and numb soreness. To suck blood from animals and people, black flies cut a hole in the skin. The blood, pain and itching associated with the bite is the body's response to the fly's saliva. If an individual is bitten, they should clean the bite and apply topical products to reduce itching.

What are black flies good for? ›

Summary: Black flies drink blood and spread disease such as river blindness -- creating misery with their presence. A new study, however, demonstrates that the pesky insects can be useful. Black flies drink blood and spread disease such as river blindness-creating misery with their presence.

Do black flies like sun or shade? ›

Black flies are often attracted to dark clothing, much like the shade or darker areas. To ward these pests away, try wearing bright colors or white clothes when you head out. Not only will this help deter them, but it will also make them easier to spot should they land on you.

Where do black flies go in the winter? ›

Instead, they remain attached to vegetation or buried in mud under streams, lakes and similar bodies of water. Yes, it is cold, but it's rarely too cold for these hardy creatures. Even during the coldest stage of the winter, only the top layer of water freezes on rivers, ponds and lakes.

Why do flies bite before rain? ›

The lower barometric pressure preceding a storm can cause animals to want to feed. Thus, flies sometimes bite humans to get blood. Older generations tended to spend more time outside than working adults today, so they knew when the flies started biting, rain was probably on the way.

Do flies feel pain? ›

Over 15 years ago, researchers found that insects, and fruit flies in particular, feel something akin to acute pain called “nociception.” When they encounter extreme heat, cold or physically harmful stimuli, they react, much in the same way humans react to pain.

Does anything eat black flies? ›

Black fly larvae are indicators of good, clean water. And let's not forget that all-important food chain! Black flies are important food items for many critters further up the chain, like dragonflies and some species of birds. Fish eat them, too – at least the larvae.

Do black flies bite dogs? ›

Black flies often bite softer skin, so you'll often find bites on your dog's belly, thighs, and ears. Except for some mild itching or irritation, black fly bites are harmless and will go away on their own.

What attracts big black flies? ›

Large black cluster flies feed on flower nectar, so won't usually be attracted to garbage like houseflies are. They may be attracted to sugary drinks and snacks, however, much like bees and wasps.

How do flies see humans? ›

Flies' eyes evolved to pick up light with a series of tiny string-like structures that lie horizontal to the path that light travels through the eye. These structures react to light mechanically whereas vertebrates have long tube-like cells facing the light, with chemicals that react to light at the base.

Does Irish Spring soap repel flies? ›

This viral Facebook post reveals that a strong-smelling bar of soap, like Irish Spring, will keep bugs away with its strong scent. Irish Spring is known for its classic “invigorating” scent, and there are plenty of success stories on the internet from people using it to banish flies.

Does Avon skin So Soft repel black flies? ›

Avon Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus IR3535 in Gentle Breeze or Cool N Fabulous. Effectively repels mosquitoes, deer ticks, black flies, gnats, no-seeums, sand flies and biting midges.

How do you use cinnamon to get rid of flies? ›

Cinnamon
  1. Sprinkle ground cinnamon on the ground, on windowsills, and around any areas where you don't want flies. ...
  2. Mix some cinnamon oil with cayenne extract and/or peppermint oil in warm water. ...
  3. Burn cinnamon essential oil in a burner whenever you see flies buzzing around or to keep them away in the first place.

Does vanilla extract repel flies? ›

Homemade vanilla extract is an effective insect repellant against mosquitos, ticks, flies, and gnats.

Is citronella effective against black flies? ›

Use insect repellent products, such as DEET and citronella oil to deter black flies. Re-apply repellents every few hours to maintain maximum effectiveness.

How do you soothe a black fly bite? ›

Put a cool compress or ice cube over the bite to reduce swelling.
...
Apply any one of the following to the bite area:
  1. Benadryl ointment.
  2. Baking soda and water, mixed into a paste.
  3. Calamine lotion.
  4. Hydrocortisone anti-itch cream such as Gold Bond.
  5. Rubbing alcohol.
  6. Witch hazel.
  7. Apple cider vinegar.
31 May 2019

How long is blackfly season in Maine? ›

Generally, they emerge in spring, have one generation, and are gone by July.

Why does Johnson's creamy baby oil repel mosquitoes? ›

Apparently, the formula of water, cetyl alcohol, soybean oil, shea butter extract, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, cocoa seed butter, and mineral oil work together as a barrier for your skin. Mosquitoes have a hard time biting through the baby oils which is how it all works to keep you bite-free.

Can black flies live in your hair? ›

Because of the hump visible behind their head when viewed in profile, black flies are also called buffalo gnats. Like eye gnats, they fly around people's heads, occasionally getting into eyes and ears as well as crawling in the hair.

Do black flies lay eggs when they bite? ›

Black flies do bite, and it is painful when they do. Male Black flies feed mostly on plant nectar, and as with other pest species (e.g., mosquitoes), it is the females that bite, in search of blood meals so they can lay eggs. Female Black flies feed during the day, usually biting mainly on the head and upper body.

Why do black fly bites swell so much? ›

Our immune system recognizes this foreign irritant and releases a substance found in the body called histamine. This triggers an inflammatory reaction that causes blood vessels to enlarge near the bite area, which results in swelling.

Do black flies carry disease? ›

Black flies can be annoying biting pests, but none are known to transmit disease agents to humans in the U. S. However, they transmit one parasitic nematode worm that infects humans in other regions of the world.

How long does black fly season last? ›

With Adirondack black fly season typically running from the middle of May through early July, chances are good that you'll experience Adirondack biting flies on your hiking, paddling, camping, or biking adventure. Black flies are typically most active several hours after sunrise and one or two hours prior to sunset.

How long do black flies stay around? ›

When is black fly season? Black fly season typically starts in the middle of May and runs through late June or early July. They're often gone by mid-July but a cold, rainy start to summer (like 2017) can extend the season into August. Swarms often appear around creeks, rivers and streams.

What time of year are black flies most active? ›

Black flies are active spring through summer and bites are most common during spring. Wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants and a hat to avoid black fly bites. Repellents are not always effective but may provide some help.

Where do black flies go in the winter? ›

Instead, they remain attached to vegetation or buried in mud under streams, lakes and similar bodies of water. Yes, it is cold, but it's rarely too cold for these hardy creatures. Even during the coldest stage of the winter, only the top layer of water freezes on rivers, ponds and lakes.

What plants repel black flies? ›

Mint, Catnip, and Pennyroyal – Mint, catnip, and pennyroyal will all repel flies as well as being repugnant to ants and mice. These herbs work well dried as well, but be aware that pennyroyal can be toxic to pets and children.

Do black flies bite through clothing? ›

Reduce Your Risk of Black Fly Bites

wear light colored clothing; black flies are attracted to dark colors. wear long sleeves, pants and hat, covering as much exposed skin as possible; black flies don't bite through clothing. avoid peak biting times; unlike mosquitoes, black flies are daytime feeders.

Does peppermint oil repel black flies? ›

Mint, spearmint and peppermint are great deterrents for black flies. Add a couple of drops of essential oil to your body lotion, to the final rinse of your laundry or just dab some on your clothing. Applying essential oils directly to skin may cause reactions or rashes.

Where do black flies go at night? ›

“As the day turns to dusk, flies take refuge under leaves and branches, on twigs and tree trunks, on the stems of tall grass and other plants,” Dr. Grimaldi said. “They typically will not overnight on the ground.

What are black flies good for? ›

Summary: Black flies drink blood and spread disease such as river blindness -- creating misery with their presence. A new study, however, demonstrates that the pesky insects can be useful. Black flies drink blood and spread disease such as river blindness-creating misery with their presence.

Do black flies like sun or shade? ›

Black flies are often attracted to dark clothing, much like the shade or darker areas. To ward these pests away, try wearing bright colors or white clothes when you head out. Not only will this help deter them, but it will also make them easier to spot should they land on you.

What color attracts black flies? ›

Research also shows that black flies are more attracted to dark colors than to light colors; hikers who dress accordingly are less likely to be bothered. In order to avoid being bothered by black flies, hikers often tightly tuck in their shirts and pants.

Does baby oil keep black flies away? ›

“Actually, what we suggest to people who are gardening is to put a hardhat on and smear it with baby oil,” Dill said. “Those [black flies] that are just bouncing off you and driving you crazy will get stuck in the baby oil. They're kind of delicate little creatures, so that's enough to stop them.”

Does DEET repel black flies? ›

DEET: DEET is the commonly used acronym for the chemical N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide. It has been extensively used as a highly effective mosquito repellent and also works well on ticks, fleas, black flies, and biting midges (no-see-ums). DEET can be found in concentrations ranging from 4-100%.

Does anything eat black flies? ›

Black fly larvae are indicators of good, clean water. And let's not forget that all-important food chain! Black flies are important food items for many critters further up the chain, like dragonflies and some species of birds. Fish eat them, too – at least the larvae.

Why do flies bite before rain? ›

The lower barometric pressure preceding a storm can cause animals to want to feed. Thus, flies sometimes bite humans to get blood. Older generations tended to spend more time outside than working adults today, so they knew when the flies started biting, rain was probably on the way.

How do you get rid of black flies naturally? ›

Some recommended natural repellants include vanilla extract, lavender, and the extract from pine branches — just break open a young branch and rub the moisture from inside on your skin.

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Phone: +2433516856029

Job: Central Legal Facilitator

Hobby: Backpacking, Jogging, Magic, Driving, Macrame, Embroidery, Foraging

Introduction: My name is Neely Ledner, I am a bright, determined, beautiful, adventurous, adventurous, spotless, calm person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.