Subject: Asilidae feeling threatened by scent?
August 4, 2016 1:36 am
Just this morning, I went running down at Palo Duro Canyon in Canyon Texas. The entire run (2.2 miles), I experienced aggressive behavior from Robber Flies (Asilidae). They literally preyed on me the entire run, consistently going for my legs and hair.
I can’t tell if the aggressive behavior was from me running or from the new Tea Tree shampoo that I just started using. I go on runs all the time in Palo Duro and never before have experienced this. Perhaps the behavior wasn’t aggressive, still this is new territory.
My real question is, has all this branched out from me switching to this new shampoo? I look forward to hearing back from y’all.
Signature: Samuel Tenny
We wish you had sent an image to illustrate your query as it would make our response more definitive. Lacking an image, we have taken an image from our archives of Courting Belzebul Bee Eaters, Mallophora leschenaulti, a large species of Robber Fly found in Texas, to illustrate the posting. Texas has many large, predatory Robber Flies and we could easily have chosen the magnificent Heteropogon patruelis, also from our archives, as the illustration. Robber Flies do not normally exhibit aggressive behavior towards humans, so we have our doubts that members of the family Asilidae are the culprits. We would tend to favor blood-sucking Horse Flies, which can also get quite large, and which may have not had any nearby livestock or deer upon which to feed, causing them to turn their attention to the nearest large, warm-blooded meal they encountered, namely you. We say this from experience since our editorial staff was chased by large Horse Flies back in our youth in Ohio, and they even landed on the hood and windshield of the car once we had taken shelter. Please look at some images of Horse Flies and get back to us if you think our suspicions are correct. With that said, chemicals in shampoo, as well as scents in colognes, perfumes and antiperspirants, have been reported to attract bees and wasps, so that is a distinct possibility that they might attract Robber Flies as well. If the shampoo is the cause, we would also question why your aggressive flies were targeting your legs.