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Black fly bites are annoying, but don't pose threat to humans

Black fly bites // Photo provided
Black fly bites // Photo provided
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Some people in our area say they’re getting bug bites they believe are from Black Flies.

We talked to a local scientist about these pesky insects.

The scientist says black flies usually come out in late spring, so he said this is a little early for them to be out. That could be caused by the warmer winter.

But the flies don’t pose a threat to humans.

“Black fly bites can be a small thing up to a half dollar in size, raised,” said Nate Bosch, director of Lilly Center for Lakes and Streams.

Nate Bosch studies lakes and streams and the insects that inhabit them.

“Typically black flies will emerge in mid-May. It must just be weather conditions or streams in northern Indiana happen to be just right,” said Bosch.

Keaira Smith says she noticed bites on her child’s neck after they’d been outside.

“She kept grabbing at her neck and then I noticed that she had all of these bites that started bleeding all over her and it was just over her hair line,” said Smith.

The same problem arose for another mother.

“I’ve never seen bites like that from an insect so I was concerned,” said Brittany Deutsch.

Both bug bites happened when Bosch says the flies are most active.

“They’re most active in feeding during the daytime hours and that’s when you’d be more likely to get them.”

Both mothers say the black flies avoided them, and only bit their children.

“I don’t think they’re targeting kids purposefully,” said Bosch.

And they’re not attracted to any certain blood type or scent. Bosch says the bites can look concerning but do not pose any risk to humans.

“Black flies are not known to carry any human pathogens in our area of the United States.”
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The scientist recommends using DEET on your clothes to prevent black flies from biting you as well as making sure your skin isn’t exposed while you’re outside.

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