March Fly [or horse fly] bites – Warrandyte

I don’t normally take selfies but I thought I’d better take some photos of these bites:

march-or-horse-fly-bites-1

march-or-horse-fly-bites-2

I took these pics today but the March Fly [also known as horsefly] got me yesterday. Lucky for me, I’ve finally learned how not to have these bites turn into horrible, pus-filled welts:

  1. Do NOT scratch.
  2. Do take an antihistamine immediately

If you’re like me and get a mild[ish] allergic reaction to insect bites, these two rules are golden because, the more you itch, the more the inflammation or infection or whatever it is, spreads.

So not scratching contains the problems, but it doesn’t stop the itch. Unfortunately, that itch is like ten mosquito bites rolled into one, and it doesn’t just go away after an hour or two. Or at least, it doesn’t for me. Those selfies show the bites almost 24 hour after they happened. I haven’t scratched – thanks to the antihistamine – but the bites are still red and angry. And they still itch.

For me, the most effective antihistamine is Telfast 12 hour. I use it during the day because it doesn’t put me to sleep. At night I have to use an old-school, sleepy-time antihistamine called Polaramine. I also dab a topical cream called Solocite on the bites. Solosite is a hydrating, healing gel, but it also seems to reduce the itch.

And now a word about the March Fly [also known as horsefly]. This is the first time I’ve known what bit me because this is the first time I’ve actually seen what bit me. In the past, I’d get bitten – often through my clothing – without ever knowing what type of beast got me. All I knew was that it usually happened while I was weeding the lush Spring grasses. Thanks to the strange, almost monsoonal bouts of heavy rain we’ve had this Spring/Summer, this is my third bout of the itchies.

As I said though, this time I actually caught the mongrel in the act. I can’t have felt the first few nips [I have 5 bites] but I sure as hell felt the last one. It was quite sharp and when I looked down at my leg, I saw something that looked like a black house fly but quite a bit bigger, like a blowie [Bluebottle]. It also made a kind of low-pitched rumble rather than the normal irritating buzz. Also unlike the blowie, this thing left tiny droplets of blood on my legs.

After applying my version of first aid, I hopped onto Papa Google and discovered that the female March Fly [or horse fly] cuts a hole in your skin and injects saliva into the hole to stop your blood from coagulating too quickly. Then it feeds. You, on the other hand, react to some protein in the saliva and develop a terrible itch.

I suspect I have an unusually severe reaction to this pest, but on the off chance that others do too, I hope this post proves useful.

cheers from a not very happy

Meeks

 

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About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

24 responses to “March Fly [or horse fly] bites – Warrandyte

  • anne54

    You may have solved a recent mystery. The Fella has been bitten by something, and come up in a similar welt. He says he didn’t feel the bite, so he may well have been bitten through his clothes. He swears by Dettol for everything, but I don’t see that it has made much of a difference! I hope your bites clear up very soon.

    Someone mentioned bracken juice (break the stem of the bracken and rub it onto the bite) for hornet bites. Never had to try it on hornets but I do know it works on bull ant bites.

    I have discovered a fabulous cream for getting rid of flies. Again, I am not sure about other pesky bastards. It is Nature’s Botanical. It is not cheap, but you only need very small dabs on your face to keep them away. And it smells good ~ rosemary and cedar wood.

    Like

    • acflory

      Mine are still damn itchy. 😦 The previous two bouts of misery lasted over a week so I’m nothopeful. Will look up th Nature’s Botanical though. Don’t think I could bear a 4th run in with these March flies. Hope your Fella gets over it fast. Very unpleasant.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Mick Canning

    We get the buggers, too. Nasty. Anti-histamine is definitely best – cream, not tablets.

    Like

  • metan

    Ow! Hate March flies, they’re so slow moving and stupid, but boy can they bite when they get you!

    You have perfect timing with this post, yesterday the man of the house had been out in his shed with the spiders and scuttling monsters all day, sorting for the upcoming hard rubbish, when he came in the house and said quietly, “can someone help me here?” When I dragged myself off the couch he said he had something stuck in his beard and could I get it out, he looked petrified!

    His beard is very thick and all he could hear and feel was a furious critter in there, trapped millimetres from his skin! It turned out to be a March fly, and luckily for him its back was towards his skin, otherwise it would have had a really good chance to chew on him before I could winkle it out!

    We are really lucky none of us react as badly as you do to their bites… 😦

    Like

    • acflory

      OMG…that’s absolutely horrifying! He was so lucky. How’d you get it out? Tweezers? A pair of pliers? -cough- Scissors?
      I’m not really making fun as my bites are actually getting worse. I really, seriously hate those tiny beasts. 😦

      Like

      • metan

        Yep, horrifying is the word, he’s not one for being afraid of critters, a few times on the motorbike he has had a bee or something similar fly into his face and get a bit tangled, but never properly stuck like that. Bleh…

        I actually stood at a safe distance and pulled the beard slowly apart in the hopes it didn’t dive out at me until I worked out what and where it was. Once I realised it wasn’t something that was going to bite me, and that it really was stuck, I got a wide tooth comb and put it between it and the skin and slowly wiggled it out until I could grab it with a pair of tweezers. I think that having a comb yanked through his beard was as awful as the bug was! πŸ˜€

        Sorry to hear the bites are so horrible for you, we have a selection of creams etc here to dab on bites but I can’t say if any one works better than another. Although once a few years ago I was working outside with a friend and was painfully stung by a hornet, he wandered off and came back with a bracken leaf telling me to rub it on it, I laughed but tried it, and it really did improve!

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        • acflory

          -shudder- I hope you stomped on the damn thing once you got it out. Apologies, I have no compassion for March flies. I’m sort of used the allergic reaction as I’ve had it almost every year since 2009. I’m learning in increments. Apparently March flies are attracted to dark colours, esp. blue? Guess who wears dark colours all the time?

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          • metan

            No, I didn’t stomp on it. I carefully carried it outside, over to the garden… and fed its juicy wiggling body to one of my pitcher plants… I have no compassion for them either! πŸ˜€

            I think you’re right, they are attracted to dark colours, and that’s all I wear too! Apparently stripes confuse them and you don’t get bitten. I will vouch for that being true, as on a long ago camping trip number 2 was a toddler and wearing a blue and white stripy Bonds suit. They would fly around him and the veer off, while the rest of us were constantly attacked. Unfortunately stripes just aren’t my thing!

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          • acflory

            Ungh..not big on stripes either, but I may have to bite the bullet and buy some for gardening clothes. Not doing this again. And bon appetit to your pitcher plant. Glad to see nothing went to waste. πŸ˜‰

            Like

  • cornfedcontessa

    Ouch! I got bit by a bunch of sand flies when we were in Costa Rica recently. I was so glad I brought along some itch cream. Lucky for me it was at the end of our ten day trips. Those buggers really itch.

    Like

  • Yvonne Hertzberger

    Yikes. Those look nasty. We have horse flies, too, and they bite as well. I wonder if they’re the same – bigger than house flies.

    Like

    • acflory

      I’d say they are, Yvonne. I’ve had other people say they have the same pest in the US and the UK too so I guess Canada probably isn’t exempt. Nasty beasties. 😦

      Like

  • EllaDee's daleleelife101.blog

    Nasty buggers. The abound here, living in the gaps of our verandah walls. Diesel-Dog hates them with a passion, so he chases & kills them, they are sworn enemies of the G.O. as he comes up in similar welts. As is usual for most insects in me they are disinterested as I slather myself with smelly… errr…aromatic essential oil infused moisturizer.

    Like

    • acflory

      lmao – essential oil infused moisturizer is it? I did try Eau de Tiger Balm today, and didn’t get bitten, but the aroma certainly teared me up a bit!
      What does the GO do for the welts? Please don’t tell me he suffers in silence. 😦

      Like

      • EllaDee's daleleelife101.blog

        There are all sorts of nice smelly moisturisers, currently my day-to-day is Redwin’s Nutri-Glow Body Lotion for all skin types which you can buy from the supermarket or Priceline. There are also various bug-off creams with essential oils. Our go-to for first aid cream is Medi Quattro which is antiseptic, anaesthetic, anti-inflammatory & soothing. Available from chemists. Also a dab of lavender oil can sooth.

        Like

  • Candy Korman

    Yikes! Horse Fly bites are miserable.

    Like

  • Scottie

    Wow. Those things hurt. I use to get them as a kid. Have you ever tried bleach. It works with chiggers and fire ants. Something the bleach does as it reacts with air on your skin seems to neutralize the sting and the venom. Be well. Hugs

    Like

  • Hariod Brawn

    Bloody awful things, Horseflies, and they don’t brush off once they’ve stuck their fangs in. Always roll my sleeves down when walking by a river or stream in the summer. Ghastly buggers.

    Like

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