Currently viewing the category: "Louse Flies"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Found Bug
Location: Wind Gap, PA
November 17, 2016 11:43 am
We found this on a student today. Any ideas?
Signature: Doug Bartek

Louse Fly

Louse Fly

Dear Doug,
This is a blood-sucking Louse Fly or Ked in the family Hippoboscidae.  There are both winged and wingless species, and some winged species lose their wings once they find a host.  Hosts include deer, sheep or birds, depending upon the species of Louse Fly, but they are also opportunistic feeders that will bite humans if no preferred animal host is available. We found a marvelous article on Louse Flies by Meredith Swett Walker on the Entomology Today website where it states:  “Hippoboscid flies are fairly particular about their hosts. Sheep keds are not found on birds or vice versa. There are more than 200 species of Hippoboscidae, and 75 percent of these parasitize birds of various types ranging from tiny swifts to huge albatrosses. Some louse-flies even exhibit distinct preferences for a particular species of bird. One species of hippoboscid is found exclusively on frigate birds and another species parasitizes only boobies. This specificity is seen even when the two seabirds nest in densely-packed, mixed colonies where it would be easy for a hippoboscid to fly from one bird to another.
Thankfully, hippoboscids do not parasitize humans. In 1931, G. Robert Coatney conducted an experiment to determine if pigeon louse flies, Pseudolynchia canariensis, would bite humans and survive on human blood. He must have been very persuasive because he convinced two friends to join him in playing host to the flies. The answer is yes — hippoboscids will bite humans when given no other choice of host, and their bites are definitely itchy. But the flies did not survive long or reproduce when fed only human blood. Granted, Coatney’s experiment was limited in sample size and scope, but hopefully no one feels the need to repeat it.”

That is awesome!! Thank you so much for the info!!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Fly??
Location: Darlington
June 28, 2016 7:05 am
Can you tell me what this is please? I had one in my bathroom which I flushed down plug hole then just found this one 2 days later crawling up door frame on the landing. It looks like it has wings but I didn’t see it fly, it was crawling both times. Not sure if it’s the same one which survived plug hole or of its another?? Don’t even know if it’s a fly but it only has 6 legs
Signature: Sandra

Louse Fly

Louse Fly

Dear Sandra,
Please confirm that your location is Darlington, South Carolina.  We needed to do a web search to determine the location of the city Darlington, but we cannot say for certain that there is no city by that name in England.  This is a blood sucking Louse Fly.  They have warm blooded hosts.  Some feed on the blood of livestock, some on the blood of deer and some on the blood of birds.  They are opportunistic and they will feed off of human blood if there is no animal host available.

Hi thanks for your reply. I am in Darlington County Durham, U.K.  Is it likely that I will have more in my house?
Regards
Sandra

Thanks for the clarification Sandra.  If this is a species that preys on livestock and you are near livestock, you may get more.  If it is a species that preys upon deer and you are near a woods with deer, you may get more.  If this is a species that preys upon birds and you have a bird nest in your eaves, you may get more.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Strange and a rare bug starts appearing more and more often
Location: East Europe, Lithuania, Kaunas
May 20, 2016 2:29 pm
Good evening.
In the past 11 days I managed to find 6 of these bugs at my flat. From what I noticed, it can climb on the walls, is highly resistant to pressure – I can’t crush it if it’s in my fist. I saw them both at day and night.
I asked my mother and she hadn’t seen anything like this before. Could you help me?
Signature: Deivydas

Louse Fly

Louse Fly

Dear Deivydas,
This is a blood-sucking Louse Fly.  They generally feed off the blood of livestock, especially sheep, and there are species that feed off the blood of deer.  Do you live in an area where there are either livestock or woodlands with deer?  Some species feed off the blood of birds and there are frequently pigeons and other host species found near homes.  Perhaps there are nesting birds in your immediate vicinity.  If their preferred host is not available, they are opportunistic, and they will also feed off the blood of other large animals, including pets and humans.

I live in bedroom districts and there aren’t any deers or other animals as we are still further from the forests. There are some swallow nests in the holes of the roof, maybe it could be the cause? We have been living in this flat for over 12 years and we have never seen any bugs like this.
I’m pretty scared now, as I have two cats. Is there any way to terminate Louse flies?

The bird nests seem like the likely source.  Though we do not provide extermination advice, there is not much chance that the Louse Flies will proliferate much with these BugGuide reproductive statistics:  “Females rear one offspring at a time, the larva feeding in utero from special ‘milk’ glands. The mature larva is ‘born alive’ and immediately pupates in the soil (or on the host in some cases). Most are host specific on bird species, with a few occurring on mammals.”

Good news. Anyways, thank your help. It is really amazing that there are some nice people who are willing to help in identifying some unknown animals like in my case, Louse fly, which both me nor my family have not seen all their life before. I am happy to know that they are not dangerous to people and can not proliferate much.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Can you please tell me what this is?
Location: Austin TX
April 7, 2016 8:13 pm
For the second time now, I have found a singular small critter in my hair. My husband found one on his leg. They bite/sting/pinch. I’m not sure which. They are sort of the color of a cockroach, maybe a tinge lighter in color. I’ve never encountered this creature before. We have a large dog who goes out to the backyard frequently. There is a greenbelt behind our house. We also have an indoor cat and guinea pig. It seems like they crop up after we’ve been on the bed (which the animals get on) or the couch (which the animals aren’t allowed). Sorry it is partially smooshed. It was in my hair 🙁 Thank you for your expertise.
Signature: Dayna

Louse Fly

Louse Fly

Dear Dayna,
This is a Louse Fly, a winged blood-sucker in the family Hippoboscidae.  Some species lose their wings upon landing on a host.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Never seen one before in my life
Location: England
November 29, 2015 10:05 pm
This bug was on my leg and I took it off my leg and put it on some drawers and it only moved once and stood still for at least 10 minutes while I was looking at it.
Do you know what bug it is?
Thanks!
Signature: Josh

Louse Fly

Louse Fly

Dear Josh,
This is a blood-sucking Louse Fly or Ked, and they are frequently found near livestock, but they are opportunistic, and they will feed off humans if no livestock is available.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Please Help ID this Insect
Location: Catskill Mountains, NY
November 9, 2015 6:14 pm
Dear Bugman,
I live just outside the Catskill Mountains in southern New York. While on a recent hiking trip (October 2015) I came across a small bug I had never seen before. Can you tell me what it is?
Thank you,
Signature: Cole Hamling

Louse Fly

Louse Fly

Dear Cole,
This is a Louse Fly in the family Hippoboscidae, a blood-sucking ectoparasite that frequently loses its wings after landing upon a warm blooded host.  Considering your location, this is probably a species that feeds primarily on the blood of deer, though other species of Louse Flies are known to feed on birds or livestock.  Louse Flies can be opportunistic, feeding on the blood of humans if no other host is available.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination