Black Flies | Facts, Identification & How to Get Rid

What are black flies?  Do you know how to get rid of black flies? Black flies are small fighting pests known to attack both livestock and humans.

Any family picnic or camping trip is easily ruined by the swarms of these harmful flies. While these flies are known as biting pests to humans, cattle, and poultry, populations are vulnerable to diseases transmitted by these flies.

However, in this article, we are discussing how to identify and control black flies on your property. So you can protect yourself and your livestock from these pests.


Facts About Black Flies

Black flies are small flying insects ranging, from 2 to 6 millimeters in length. This includes any fly in the simulated family encompassing over 2,200 species.

These pests are sometimes called Buffalo Gnats because when viewed at the side, they have distinct humpback thoraxes similar to the shape of the American bison’s back. Other names for black flies include the turkey gnats or white sox.


Read also: Deer Flies | Identification & How to Get Rid of Deer Flies


Black Flies Bites

Only females will bite people, livestock, and animals as they require a blood meal in order to lay eggs. Males will only feed on nectar, typical areas for black fly bites include:

  • Around the neck
  • Behind the ears and
  • The lower legs

Bites are very painful and may swell and itch. Inspection is the next phase of any good pest control plan, lets proceed to identify possible areas blackflies breed.


Read also: Blow Flies | How to Identify, Prevent and Get Rid of Blowflies


What Does Black Fly Look Like?

Below is a picture of a black fly.

Black Flies
Black Flies


Where Do Black Flies Come From?

Once you know what the pest looks like, check around your property to confirm their presence or find hot spots of their activities. Do you know how?

Black flies live and breed around areas with running water. These flies are more likely to come from lakes, streams, and rivers which are perfect for laying their eggs.

However, rural properties close to running water may be more prone to black fly activity than suburban residential areas, but that more or less depends on the local geography.


Read also: How to Get Rid of Flies; Fast and Effective Ways


What Should You Do When You Spot Black Fly Activity On Your Property?

If you’ve been experiencing black fly activity on your property. Below are procedures you should follow:

  • Take out any sources of running water that is on or near your property.
  • Be sure to examine any animals you own, including dogs, chickens, or even cattle.
  • Check for signs of pests including welts or swelling.
  • Female black flies may be found on or flying near your animals while male black flies can be seen swarming around animal waste or water sources.

Read also: How to Get Rid of Maggot in Trash Can | Step by Step


How To Get Rid Of Black Flies?

After identifying your pests and inspecting for activity on your property. It’s time to start the elimination process before starting any treatment.

Be sure to wear your personal protective equipment or PPE and remember to keep all people and pets off the treated areas until dry.

Black fly elimination can be difficult, but since the goal is for total elimination, you start with treating larval stage flies and running water.

In many situations, this can require community-wide efforts too large for an individual homeowner. However, there are products you can apply on your property to provide relief from ongoing or upcoming swarms of flies.

In order to control black flies on your property. You’ll need to make a residual insecticide application to kill flies outdoors and around any animals, you may own.

We recommend you use a product like:

Flex 10-10: This is a liquid, insecticide concentrate, made with Permethrin oxide.

PBO-Pyrethroid: This is a flexible product that can be used in a variety of ways to treat many flying pests, like black flies to treat outdoor surfaces.


How to Apply Flex 10-10 Insecticide

We recommend you use a 1-gallon handheld pump, sprayer with an application rate of 6.4 fluid ounces of product per one gallon of spray solution to mix your solution.

First, fill your sprayer halfway with water and your measured amount of flex 1010 into the sprayer.

  • Add the remaining water up to the 1-gallon line of the sprayer
  • Shake to ensuring even distribution.
  • Pump the sprayer a few times to produce a low pressure.
  • Spray treat areas where flies can land to rest such as walls, ceilings, screens, door frames, window frames, and other similar places.
  • Do not apply when the premises are occupied by humans or animals.

When black flies land on the treated areas, it effect of Flex 10-10 will have their nervous systems affected dying within several hours.

Flex 10-10 leaves a residual that lasts for up to 30 days in normal weather conditions. So, we recommend you apply this product quarterly for year-round control for a more active approach to treatment.

Flex 10-10 is labeled to treat black flies in the air with the use of a space spray application, or an automatic misting system with the proper equipment.

You can space spray Flex 10-10 with an application rate of 3.2 fluid, ounces of product per one gallon of spray dilution. Do not apply with humans or animals in the vicinity and keep the area closed off.

At least 10 minutes with an automatic misting system setup in livestock or animal housing areas create and apply a solution of 0.09% Permethrin and 0.09% PBO.

This is done by mixing half a gallon of product with 55 gallons of water to delivery rate, which should not exceed 1 .25 fluid ounces of solution per minute.

The automatic misting system must not be designed to release pesticides or feed or water is directly exposed to the spray mist.


How To Prevent Black Flies From Returning?

Prevention is central to keeping pests in check, even after you’ve applied pesticides, the best way to stop pest activity is to make sure it can happen again.

Once your black fly activity is down, ensure to continue your times’ applications of Flex 10-10. The residual protection is valuable for keeping black flies and other flying pests from infesting your property and reproducing.

Additionally, you can try reducing your yard’s moisture content since black flies need running water to reproduce.

If you’re concerned about black fly bites outdoors, we recommend you apply an insect repellent containing Deet.

Deet is known to repel pests, insects, like black flies, or even mosquitoes from detecting your presence, ensuring a safe expedition outside.



Black flies are biting pests known to frequently bite animals and even people spending time outdoors.

With these tips, you can stop black flies from investing in your property. What are your secrets to getting rid of black fly? Let me know down the comment.

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