Posted on May 17, 2017 by Neil Ungerleider

Black Fly

The month of May is both a pain and a pleasure.  It’s the month where spring flowers begin to bloom, the grass is green and winter becomes just a memory.

But May is also the month that brings black flies to many areas in New England, especially those near rivers and streams.

We have a neighbor who times a long trip to visit family during black fly season, just to get away!

These tiny insects, also known as buffalo gnats, have a short life span between spring and early summer.  But if you have ever been bitten by one, you know that is more than long enough.

“It starts out innocently as what seems to be a mosquito bite – but swells to alarming proportions," wrote Marcia Passos Duffy.

It is the female that bites, needing a blood meal to lay the eggs that will hatch a new generation of black flies to torment us next year.

Insect repellents containing DEET do work to keep them at bay, but Duffy also offers some other tips. 

  1.  Black flies are most active during daylight hours, and particularly on cloudy 
    days.  They are active in the early morning and evening right after sunset.
  2. Black flies can’t bite through clothing – so wear long pants and a long-sleeve shirt. 

While getting rid of black flies isn’t easy, a backyard bird feeder can help.  Some birds (such as swallows) find them to be a good meal.

Return to All Blog Posts

blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Blogs

Give Today