Horse flies are very large flies known for their painful bites. They hover around horses in the fields, and they are known to bite wildlife, horses and other livestock, as well as humans. Horse flies rarely transmit diseases to humans, but it is possible to become infected from their bite. They usually attack livestock, and this is a great health concern.
Horse flies emerge from their eggs, which are laid in damp areas. Its larvae feed on insects, while full-grown female flies suck the blood of animals. Adult male flies only collect pollen.
Because it feeds on animal blood, the horse fly is a common carrier of disease. These diseases are transferred to horses and other animals, and in very, very rare cases, they are transferred to humans.
Amongst the serious diseases that a horse fly can transmit is the Anthrax virus. If the horse fly feeds on an Anthrax infected animal, then traces of the contaminated blood can be injected into the horse fly's next victim.
Anthrax is highly contagious and its symptoms include fever, colic, and swollen neck, throat and stomach. The disease rapidly progresses to fast breathing, leading to a coma. Without immediate attention, the horse will die from this infection. Avoid coming in contact with infected animals without the proper protection.
Vesicular stomatitis is another contagious disease spread to horses by the horse fly. Again, every animal or human the horse fly bites, if it is carrying a disease, becomes a candidate for the disease. Vesicular stomatitis can also be transmitted directly to humans from the infected horse.
Its signs include fever and fatigue, coupled with raised blisters on the mucus membranes, such as in the mouth and throat, which are filled with a clear fluid. Contact the veterinarian for immediate treatment for your horse.
Tularemia is another disease transmitted by the horse fly. This is a rare yet dangerous disease characterized by high fever, joint pain, stiffness, appetite loss, chills, lethargy, dry cough, and headache. It can also be further complicated by pneumonia and lead to severe breathing problems.
It does occur in the United States, and it comes from a bacteria commonly found in animals. Therefore, when a horse fly bites a rabbit or other animal carrying this disease, it can then transmit it to a horse or a human.
Use insect repellents to keep the horse flies away from yourself, your family, and your animals. DEET is a common insect repellent that is effective against horse flies.
Hygiene also lessens the chance of infection, therefore wash your hands, purify your water, and cook your food thoroughly.
There are several homemade solutions to trap or control horse flies, as well. Using water, sugar and vinegar, you can make an easy horse fly trap. Click the link below for homemade horse fly trap and repellent recipes.