The culprit is called the sooty fly and it loves blood.
It is often confused with its cousin the housefly.
But it is actually the biting fly Stomoxys calcitrans, also called stomox or cattle fly.
It feeds mainly on warm-blooded animals such as horses and cattle.
But she does not say no to a few drops of blood from the human being!
And I can tell you that his sting hurts a lot; I had the bitter experience of this last summer.
It was Marcel, the farmer near my home, who told me about this insect which is wreaking havoc on his breeding.
Discover who is this sooty fly that bites humans and how to get rid of it:
The sooty fly is also known as the cattle fly or stable fly.
It is a species that belongs to the Muscidae family.
These insects are recognized by several specific characteristics.
Anthrax flies usually measure between 6 and 10 millimeters in length.
They have a robust and stocky body, covered with black and shiny hairs. Their abdomen is generally rounded.
Their wings are transparent and slightly smoky.
They are longer than the body and overlap when at rest.
This fly has large red eyes mixed with dark colors that cover much of their head.
They also have tiny black antennae on their heads.
But what is especially to be feared in her, it is his trunk perfectly adapted to sting any mammal.
A fly that bites, it’s possible!
Yes I know, I think like me you never imagined that a fly could sting or bite.
Until then, I had only heard of the tsetse fly in Africa, but that’s it.
In France, it was more the gadfly or the tick that I was wary of.
But as I told you, I did get bitten by a fly last summer.
It was while discussing with Marcel, my farmer neighbour, that I learned that it was the carbon fly.
This insect is well known to breeders since it wreaks havoc on their livestock from April to October!
Its mouth and especially its proboscis have a shape totally adapted to sting anything that moves.
And like I told you, these flies bite and never say no to a few drops of fresh human blood.
Why do these flies bite us?
Although they feed on nectar and pollen, stomoxes need blood to survive and reproduce.
The females of this species are particularly voracious and need blood to produce eggs and feed the larvae.
The male also loves to take himself for a vampire.
So yes, these insects generally prefer to feed on the blood of animals (cattle, horses, sheep).
But they can also bite humans if they can’t find other food sources nearby!
Anthrax are attracted to body heat, sweat, and body odor.
It is therefore not uncommon, when walking in the fields near livestock, to be stung.
Are stomox bites dangerous for humans and do they cause pimples?
An anthrax bite is not without consequences!
The bite of this diptera is dangerous because it can transmit various bacterial and viral diseases.
Among the diseases transmitted to humans are anthrax, foot-and-mouth disease, African swine fever, etc.
…Or Rift Valley fever, infectious anemia and rickettsioses.
Stomoxys are also intermediate hosts for parasites such as the nematode Habronema microstoma.
In other words, these flies can deposit parasitic worms on our skin. Nice…
The stomox bite therefore presents real risks that should not be taken lightly.
Even if the sting itself is just a tiny pimple, you’ve seen what it can do!
Anthrax flies wreak havoc on farms
I told you about the problems caused by this fly on humans.
But I must say that the other real problem with this insect is that it can wreak havoc on livestock.
Marcel, my local farmer, can’t take it anymore.
These flies are a real scourge for cattle and other farm animals.
They exert a real harassment on the animals.
Here are some of the problems they can cause according to Marcel:
– Irritation and stress:
Anthrax flies are very irritating to animals.
Their frequent bites cause itching and pain.
This often leads to significant stress on Marcel’s animals.
– Disturbance of eating behavior:
Anthrax can disrupt the feeding behavior of animals.
Due to the constant itching and biting, Marcel noticed that his animals ate less.
And this is not without consequences of course.
This leads to a decrease in weight gain and a drop in the milk production of his cows!
– Transmission of diseases:
Anthrax can transmit various pathogens.
This includes bacteria, viruses and parasites that can cause disease in farm animals.
Marcel has already lost livestock due to an infectious disease certainly transmitted by this insect.
– Impact on animal behavior and well-being:
Finally, stomoxys can cause great agitation in animals.
It’s worse than the mosquito.
Since they spend a lot of time defending themselves against flies, well, they rest less.
This can affect their natural behavior and general well-being.
4 ways that work to control anthrax flies
To control anthrax flies and reduce their population, there are several solutions.
here are the steps you can take as advised to me by Marcel:
– Eliminate sources of attraction such as manure:
Anthrax flies are attracted to organic waste and decomposing matter (manure, droppings, etc.).
Be sure to maintain good hygienic conditions, especially in stables, stables or sheepfolds.
Clean these areas regularly, otherwise you could quickly become infested.
– Use repellents with essential oils:
Apply essential oil repellents to yourself and animals.
This keeps these pests at bay.
Of course, be sure to use products that are suitable for animals and comply with the recommendations.
They are known to repel insects, including anthrax flies.
You can use these essential oils pure or find them in specific repellent products.
I mix them with 70° alcohol to make a super effective spray.
– Use fly traps:
Place fly traps in areas where they are present.
These traps can attract and capture flies, helping to reduce their numbers.
– Do not leave water points:
Anthrax flies love to breed in specific areas.
I am thinking especially of small water points.
So remember to drain all wet areas and dry up stagnant water.
And to finish, a silly piece of advice from Marcel.
When we walk in the countryside near the cattle, we cover ourselves with trousers and a long-sleeved t-shirt.
What to do after a stomox bite?
After a stomox bite, you can feel really itchy.
To relieve symptoms and promote healing, you apply the following tips:
– First of all, Clean the bitten area well with warm water and soap.
Impurities must be removed and the risk of infection reduced.
– Afterwards, apply cold compresses or ice cubes wrapped in a clean cloth over the irritated area.
This will help reduce inflammation, relieve itching, and ease pain.
– then you can using soothing creams or lotionsas they contain anti-inflammatory properties.
– Also avoid scratching yourself, although it may be tempting!
Really try to resist, as this can make the inflammation worse and increase the risk of infection.
– Finally, keep an eye on the bite area and watch for signs of infection.
I’m thinking excessive redness, swelling, persistent pain, warmth, or discharge of pus.
If you notice any concerning symptoms, consult a healthcare professional.
Do you have smut flies near you? Tell us how you fight against this insect in the comments. We can’t wait to read you!
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Also to discover:
Soil Flies: 11 Natural Tips To Get Rid Of Them.
Sand Fleas: How to Relieve Bites Instantly.