Monday, May 20, 2013

Nasty Creatures with Dangerous Bites: Yellow Flies

Only female horse flies and deer flies (yellow flies) feed on blood.

Both flies are vicious, painful biters which feed on the blood of cattle, horses, mules, hogs, dogs, deer and other mammals, including humans.

These flies cut through the skin using razor-sharp mouthparts that are shaped like a knife or razor.

The flies will then suck the blood up from the wound for several minutes.

This process makes these flies potential mechanical vectors of such diseases as anthrax, tularemia, anaplasmosis, hog cholera, equine infectious anemia and filariasis.

Deer flies and horse flies are also suspected of transmitting Lyme disease (New England Journal of Medicine 322:1752, 1990).

The open wound left by the fly bite also permits secondary feeding sites for other nuisance insects.

Biting deer flies frequently attack humans along beaches, streams, ponds, lakes and around woods and dirt roads near large bodies of water.

Some people suffer severe lesions, high fever and even general disability when bitten.

Allergic reactions may occur from the saliva, which is poured into the wound to prevent clotting while the fly is feeding.

A person can become increasingly sensitive to repeated bites.

(If bites cause an adverse reaction, see your doctor or pharmacist. Severe allergic reactions can be potentially life-threatening. - c)