Subject: Huge fly out cicada?
Location: NW Iowa
August 30, 2015 8:26 pm
Found this sitting outside camper in Iowa and got a picture after the wife freaked out. Is this a horse fly?
Signature: Curious in Iowa

Female Black Horse Fly

Female Black Horse Fly

Dear Curious in Iowa,
Because of the spacing between the eyes, one can tell that this Black Horse Fly,
Tabanus atratus, is a female.  Only female Horse Flies bite and suck blood from mammals, and if they cannot find a four footed host, they will bite humans.  According to BugGuide:  “Although Tabanus atratus do not often bite humans, when it does happen it leaves painful memories. This fly can also transmit bacterial, viral, and other diseases such as surra and anthrax, to both humans and other animals through its bite.  The effect of T. atratus on livestock can be a serious problem. Blood loss and irritation from the flies can severely affect beef and milk production, as well as grazing. Livestock usually have no way of avoiding the painful bites, and millions of dollars have been spent trying to control these pests. (Long 2001)”

Location: Iowa

One Response to Female Black Horse Fly

  1. Zack says:

    Was driving home here in Georgia with window half way down, and nailed one of these females on the window jam. Must have been feeding cause I tore open the thorax which had red blood in it. And even though incapacitated, this horse fly was still able to crawl around for 5 mins in my car til I could pull over and remove it.. Terrified of stinging insects like rose flies and wasps etc… And about 6 miles prior I had a baby wasp get in my car and felt something like a splinter poking my back turned out to be that little guy and he stung me through my shirt but not
    Near as painful as an adult wasp.

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