Currently viewing the category: "Louse Flies"
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

Subject: Some sort of louse fly?
Location: Burntwood, England
June 12, 2015 3:32 am
I recently found to of these bugs in my flat. I thought they were spiders at first as they crawled around like them, but then I noticed they had small wings and only 6 legs. However, they will not fly at all so I’m guessing the wings are useless for them.
I’ve tried looking up what they are but all I could gather is that they are some sort of louse fly.
Would you be able to tell me exactly what they are? Maybe what their hosts are so I can prevent them from getting into my home?
I live in the West Midlands, the nearest woods/forest is Cannock Chase which is about 1 mile away from me.
It is rather warm at the moment, going into summer.
The photo is the best I could get of it as it kept scuttling around. It is of brown colour and measured about 1cm long (leg to leg).
Signature: Natalie

Louse Fly

Louse Fly

Hi Natalie,
You are correct that this is a Louse Fly in the family Hippoboscidae.  The fact that you are not near woods would not be limitation to the presence of Louse Flies, though we generally think of them as being blood sucking parasites that feed on the blood of deer, sheep or other large animals.  According to BugGuide, they feed on the “blood of birds/mammals” which means they might have a flying host in your home and BugGuide also notes the common name Bird Ticks for Louse Flies.  Pigeons would be a likely host bird, so you might have encountered Pigeon Louse Flies,
Pseudolychia canariensis, that are profiled on Featured Creatures where it states:  “This fly is an obligate parasite of birds, especially feral and domestic pigeons and doves (Columbiformes). It is found wherever pigeons are encountered in tropical, subtropical, and temperate areas with mild winters worldwide.”  Additional information on Featured Creatures regarding the life cycle of the Pigeon Louse Fly states:  “Louse flies have a very interesting reproductive strategy. The female produces one larva at a time and retains the developing larva in her body until it is ready to pupate. The larva feeds on the secretions of a “milk gland” in the uterus of its mother. After three larval instars, the larva has reached its maximum size, the mother gives birth to the white pre-pupa which immediately begins to darken and form the puparium or pupal shell. The pupa of the pigeon louse fly looks like a dark brown, egg-shaped seed. The pupa is found in the nest of the host or on ledges where the birds roost. When the fly has completed its metamorphosis, the winged adult emerges from the puparium and flies in search of a host.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Blood sucker in Poland
Location: Poland
June 3, 2015 1:52 pm
This bug sucked blood from my face after a short hike around a small town Poland. It was about the size of a dime I think. The bite left a small raised bump that went away after a couple hours. Please help!
Signature: Shaun

Louse Fly

Louse Fly

Hi Shaun,
This is a blood-sucking Louse Fly in the family Hippoboscoidea whose members fly feebly and often lose their wings when they land on a warm blooded host.  Louse Flies are often associated with sheep and those species are known as Sheep Keds.
  We are post-dating your submission so that it goes live in mid June.

Thank you so much Daniel for your quick reply! I feel much better knowing
exactly what it is. The no
wings threw me off. Great job, and thanks again.
-Shaun

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Need help identifying this bug
Location: Vermont
October 22, 2014 3:44 am
We are trying to figure out what type of bug this is. My son felt something on the back of his neck yesterday and took this bug off the back of his neck. He first thought it was a tick but looking at it, it does not appear to be a tick. It has six legs, with hair that you can see on them. It is kind of flat. It was walking sideways (like a crab) on the napkin after taking it of his neck. Any help identifying this would be appreciated.
Signature: Megan

Louse Fly

Louse Fly

Dear Megan,
This is a blood sucking Louse Fly, and we just posted another image of a Louse Fly from Vermont a few days ago.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Louse Fly

Louse Fly

Subject: Unidentified hitchhiker found in arm hair
Location: Newbury, VT
October 18, 2014 7:50 pm
I returned from a walk in the woods and felt a crawler under my shirt sleeve. I pulled my sleeve back expecting a tick and found this tiny critter instead. He was hanging on for dear life and could not be extracted by hand. We used my “mustache comb” to disentangle it and then snapped some pictures . The last picture shows how small it is compared to a tweezer. It seemed rather soft-bodied…
Signature: Dan in the NEK, VT

Hi Dan,
This is a Louse Fly in the family Hippoboscidae.  According to BugGuide:  “This group includes wingless and winged forms. Most winged ones are dark brownish and smaller than house flies. Flat shape and leathery appearance.”
  Winged species have feeble flight and often loose their wings upon landing on a host animal where they can suck blood.  BugGuide also notes:  “Most are found on birds, others on mammals” and we have discovered that some species are found on livestock and others on deer.  Louse Flies can be opportunistic, and if they cannot locate their typical prey, some will feed on human blood.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination