Currently viewing the category: "Louse Flies"

Subject: REDISH FLYING BUG
Location: Bellville, South Africa
January 21, 2014 6:52 am
Dear Bugman
We found this bug in our office.
It is very quiet and rather fast. One of the ladies that works with me said that it stung her.
What would it be?
Kind regards
Signature: JG

Louse Fly

Louse Fly

Dear JG,
Your coworker had an encounter with a blood-sucking Louse Fly in the family Hippoboscidae.  They are generally found near wildlife or livestock.  Your individual looks very much like an image tentatively identified as
Hippobosca rufipes on ISpot.

Subject: Tick-like Insect?
Location: Becket, MA
November 17, 2013 10:34 am
11/17/2013
Dear Bugman,
What is this?? I found it crawling on my neck yesterday . I felt a tickle and pinch, just like a tick feels as it is trying to attach. When I handled it, the body was much softer than a ticks and it appears to have three body segments rather than two (like a tick). It’s six legs looked much like those of a wood tick.
Signature: Jenna

Louse Fly, we believe

Louse Fly, we believe

Dear Jenna,
This appears to be a Louse Fly in the family Hippoboscidae.  They normally prey upon warm blooded mammals like deer or sheep, and some species feed prey upon birds.  In they absence of their normal prey, they have been known to bite humans.  Many species of Louse Flies do have wings and they are capable of feeble flight, but they lose the wings when they find a host to feed upon, sucking blood for nourishment.  See BugGuide for additional information.

Subject: Ticky looking bug but not a tick I’m told.
Location: BIrch Bay, Wa (State Park)
October 16, 2013 4:31 pm
Do ALL ticks have 8 legs? Here’s a pic of a bug that I swore was a tic but was told it’s not ~ It acted like tick if you watch it. No one can tell me what it is.
Most say we don’t even have ticks here but I’ve got the vet bill to prove we do ~ Found one on our dog last year.
These are photos I took of this thing.
I would SO appreciate it if you could tell me what this is. We haven’t been walking in the park since because I’m afraid of these things. My friend and I found several on us and it was like they were trying to burrow into our jeans. It creeps me out to think of them in my hair or getting in my shirt.
Signature: Not sure what this means.

Louse Fly

Louse Fly

Adult Ticks have eight legs, but it is our understanding that larval Ticks have six legs.  This is not a Tick.  It is a Louse Fly and they are blood suckers.  Female Louse Flies must have a blood meal prior to reproducing.  According to BugGuide:  “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.”  We suppose they might bite humans if no other host is available.

Subject: Fly, beetle or spider hybrid
Location: baldwin park, ca
September 15, 2013 4:17 am
I have found three of these guys in my house. One just flew away with his life never to be heard from again, one my daughter accidently squashed and then this guy seemed to take a liking to my room, bunked who knows where & occasionally made either a strutting appearance on my wall or did a fly by. I didn’t see him again for a few days (definitely male, sheesh!) only to have the misfortune of walking on the nape of my neck whilst laying in my bed engrossed in a book & I slapped the back of my neck, jumped up and found him clinging to the back of my pj’s via one leg, taking a few last breaths. Anywho, I am curious to know what type of fly/beetle/spider this is as I have never seen this before I moved here. He was the size of a house fly but the body is flat and and diamond shaped and appeared to have a hard shelled body opposed to a fly.
Signature: mr serojo

Louse Fly

Louse Fly

Dear mr serojo,
This is a Louse Fly in the family Hippoboscidae.  Louse Flies feed on the blood of mammals or birds, and some species are very particular about the host animal.  Hosts include pigeons, deer and sheep.  If you live near an agricultural community, it might explain the number of recent sightings.  Some species of Louse Flies attach to a host animal and then lose their wings, continuing to feed and no longer needing any mobility.  Without a preferred host, the individual you swatted on your neck might have been preparing to take a bite out of you.  Louse Flies are also called Keds.

Thank you kindly for the reply. I so seldom receive an answer from sites.  We just moved to a condo and a whole family of pigeons live in the central a/c unit that’s atop our roof. We have been pestering our landlord to properly cover the unit as they bunker inside, come out mornings and leave their gifts on our windows and patio. I have to admit I was more comfortable with my hybrid super bug; hearing the word louse is never pleasant, especially knowing you may have been the subpar – you will have to do” meal.
Again, thanks for the reply!

While we cannot speak for other websites, we do try our best to respond to as many requests as possible, but the fact of the matter is that we receive more mail than our tiny staff can handle.

Subject: Flat shaped black colored flying insect
Location: living room, bedroom
May 21, 2013 5:37 pm
Flat shaped black colored flying insect, very irritating and stubborn.
Signature: .

Louse Fly

Louse Fly

Dear .,
This is a Louse Fly in the family Hippoboscidae.  Adults feed on blood.  According to BugGuide:  “Most are host specific on bird species, with a few occurring on mammals.”  One species feeds on the blood of sheep and is known as the Sheep Ked.  Perhaps you live near an area where sheep are raised, but since we don’t know where you are located, we cannot say for certain.  If their preferred host is not available, opportunistic Louse Flies may bite humans.

Your concern was appreciated, keep it going!
As for my location, my locality homes quite many pigeons and cats, if that’s what these Louse Flies are feeding on.

HELP hippobosca equina, Lipoptena cervi
Location: Croatia
July 22, 2011 3:20 am
I need help with hippobosca equina bug. I live in Croatia and I have big problems with that bug. When I go to the nature many of this bugs attacked me. Once I have 30-40 bugs in the same time on my body. They are very agressive and it is very big problem for me because I must spend a lots of times in areas where they live. I contacted the local veterinary college but they only defined that is hippobosca equina. They can not help me. Im sending one picture but I think that there are some little differences between the sempels, depending in which part of the Croatian was. How can I protect against this insect? Please help.
Signature: Ana

Louse Fly

Hi Ana,
Louse Flies are ectoparasites of large mammals like deer and sheep.  Those that parasitize sheep are sometimes called Sheep Keds.  If they cannot find their preferred host, the will bite humans, as you have experienced.  Alas, we don’t have advise regarding how to keep them from landing on you and biting, but we would guess that insect repellant might be a good place to start.

Daniel,
thank you for your response. Unfortunately I’ve tried with most standard insect repellants that I found but nothing is effective : (.
Br,