What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

black fly/bee thing
This insect came in through an open door today in League City, Texas. It buzzed like a huge bee but looked more like a giant fly. It wouldn’t hold still very well for pictures but was pretty much all black….. body, wings, legs… pure black. It was approximately 1.5 inches long and had a huge mouth or nose area that appeared to expand in width and then be slim again = like a point you wouldn’t want to be poked with. Thanks for the help.

Hi Leslie,
We are checking with Eric Eaton to see if he can identify the species of Black Horse Fly you photographed. It is in the genus Tabanus and females are blood suckers that bite painfully.

Update from Eric Eaton: (10/16/2005)
“Pretty sure this IS T. atratus. Don’t know of any other very large, all-black species. This one is a female (males have HUGE eyes that meet in the middle (top) of the head. This species is thought to be the Tlue-Tail Fly of folksong fame. Eric”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
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8 Responses to Black Horse Fly

  1. Susan Parks says:

    This looks EXACTLY like the ones that hang out around my front porch this time of year…lots of bright sun and my porch rails are painted deep dark black. These flies are enormous and zoom in like stelth bombers but do well to avoid me and sit still for extended periods. Saw one today at least 1-1/2″x1/2″ and at close observation appeared to be covered in fur. Though I live in the country where there may be horses or cattle, I only have seen flies like this on my porch.

  2. Karen says:

    One of these giants landed on the back of my horse today. It looked like a black hummingbird at first, because there was no way that was a regular horse fly. When I looked more closely, it looked like a fly on steroids, except jet black with translucent black wings.


    We have them here on Long Island .I call them black back bugs(For lack of a better description) . LOL They land on the horses back and I have seen the stingers come out and dig into their spines or butt causing the horses to buck and run to try to get away. The bugs will follow them. They are horrible.

  4. John B says:

    We have been seeing them only lately here in the northern New Jersey area, mostly in our woods. And yes they do follow/ chase us ! One landed on our dog and she kept trying to eat it. Ugh. Monstrous.

  5. I lived on Long Island all my life, never saw them. I moved to SC 5 years ago, and the bugs are huge ! Saw this black fly 3 times in the last 2 days. No horses around, and they chase you.

  6. Dianne Burke says:

    Live in NE Iowa just N of Decorah.
    My dog was outside working at killing a small mouse,(I thought), but it was this huge black fly! It resembled a horse fly. I had a plastic bag in my hand and when I saw it was not a mouse but a fly I had never seen before, I picked it up with the bag and put it in a jar. It was missing a leg and one wing was askew, but very alive.
    I am 63, lived in this area all my life and have never seen this bug!

  7. Paula Robinson says:

    We had one of these HUGE flies by the front door tonight! All black approx. 1.5 inches long. Big mouth, ugh!

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