Biting Flies - Knowledgebase Question

Bristol, TN
Avatar for thudson9
Question by thudson9
April 20, 1998
For the last several years, I've found myself hounded by a particularly nasty tiny black biting fly when I spend time in my flower garden in warmer months. Their bites leave a horribly itchy welt on any exposed skin. My local county extension office was less than helpful about identifying this pest, let alone helping me erradicate it. We live in a residential area, and my neighbors aren't infested. Can you help me identify and eliminate these fiends? I love to garden but these pests are spoiling my enjoyment.

Answer from NGA
April 20, 1998
Here in Vermont, we are plagued by blackflies during the spring. They are small but determined, and their bites leave a large raised welt. I've had my eye almost swollen shut from one of their bites! And before they bite, they will buzz around and around your head--it's enough to drive anyone mad! Fortunately, this pest is only around for a month or so in the spring. Do you have any running water near you--a stream or river? Blackflies breed in running water (unlike mosquitos, which breed in standing water.) Unfortunately, there is not much you can do--there's no way to stop a stream from running! I have used some insect repellents with some success--I try to use the natural ones but have occasionally resorted to something stronger. There are bug veils available, that you can wear over your head--these might do the trick during particularly bad periods.

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