What to do for a Horsefly Bite?

Horsefly attacks not only humans but animals too and feeds on the blood. The bites can prove to be extremely itchy and can cause unbearable pain along with toxic material that can enter the body through the bite. A horsefly is also known as a deer fly, gadfly and breeze fly. They are one of the most dangerous ones as they feed on the blood and can transfer diseases and parasites from one organism to another. They are usually the size of that of an average housefly but some of them can be noticeably big. They also serve as pollinating agents for the flowers apart from being pests.

Their long mandibles help them to pull the skin open so that they can feed on the blood easily which is difficult for other flies like mosquitoes that have to use their needle-like for easier access to the blood. This is one reason that a horsefly bite is more painful. Usually the pain forces the victim to focus on healing the bite and ignore the fly which could later return to bite others.

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Typical symptoms of a horsefly bite

  1. As already mentioned horseflies give a painful bite, rips the affected area and makes it sore. You might also experience red colored lumps or swelling  around the affected part as a result of histamine reaction. The bite usually becomes itchy and burns as it undergoes different attempts to get treated.
  2. Apart from the general pain and soreness, some people can also experience allergic reaction which can give a body rash and as the infection grows, it can also develop wheezing and break out in hives. The skin could turn pink, eyes and face could swell and one might feel dizzy.
  3. The fly usually carries parasites or bacteria which increase the chances of infection and the bite being extremely painful. The wound can be abscess filled and has to be attended with proper medical care.


It is well known that prevention is better than cure. Thus, before we jump onto the treatment, it is better to consider how this ferocious fly’s bite can be prevented.

In areas where there are chances of these flies being in abundance, there must be a provision of traps in order to catch the flies. If you work in such areas it is always a wise idea to wear long sleeve shirts and trousers instead of shorts to protect the skin. This will somehow reduce the chance of being bitten.

Using insect repellent can also be of a good use as most horseflies tend to avoid the place and people using insect repellent. Thus by spraying a good quality insecticide in the area where you live or work and on yourself too will also help in warding off these flies. Repellents like the ones with diethyltoluamide are more effective. Another preventive measure is the traditional intake of garlic supplements that will give you a natural odor to keep these horseflies away, especially when you sweat.

Horsefly bite – treatment

When you are bitten by a horsefly you can follow these simple guidelines to reduce the infectious effect till the time you visit a doctor:

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  1. Cooling the area with a cold, wet and clean cloth, preferably with ice cubes in it.
  2. Washing it carefully but thoroughly with a soap, alcohol or vinegar to disinfect the bitten area.
  3. If you can’t make it to the doctor then you must keep an eye on the affected area some days as a bacterial infection could take place.
  4. Taking anti-allergy tablets such as the ones for hay fever can reduce itching and other symptoms.
  5. Using the saliva to cover the wound can also be helpful as it has Histatin protein which consists of the healing properties and limits the harmful effects of the bite.
  6. Scratching should be avoided at all costs as it will delay the healing time and increase the chances of bacterial or other types of infections.
  7. You can also put aloevera , Epsom salt, honey or raw onion to ease the pain and discomfort. They also help in reducing the swelling.
  8. Drugs like Benadryl or hydrocortisone cream can also be applied to eliminate the symptoms. One can also take the Oral antihistamines to prevent any allergic reaction.

A horsefly bite is not like any other insect bite. It can cause unbearable pain and other associated symptoms like fever, nausea and weakness. The preventive measures are sure to reduce the chances of being bitten and the immediate action should be enough to relieve you from the pain but eventually if you have allergic reactions then you must seek medical assistance. If the histamine reaction is severe then one could get critical too as the bacteria and parasites lead to a dangerous infection throughout the body. The doctor can professionally address the problems and evaluate the condition for a more reliable treatment.

Horsefly bite pictures

horsefly bite pictures


horsefly bite pictures 2

horsefly bite


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