Horsefly Bite

Horsefly bite is a common occurrence in people around the world. There are over 3000 varieties of horseflies recorded around the world. The three most common of these species are black horsefly, green-head horsefly and stripped horsefly. Horseflies are a member of Tabanidae family which dwells and breeds on marshy or wet areas near water bodies. These are extremely active during warm sunny climatic condition. Female horseflies feed on blood of mammals whereas the male horsefly feed on nectar and pollen. Thus horsefly bite is due to female horsefly and not because of male counterpart.  A horsefly bite in humans can be painful and may also lead to infections. However, these are curable condition which may take several days to be completely treated.

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Horseflies use their serrated scimitars to bite and sometimes cut the skin. They often slice away the flesh of the outer skin which gives a pricking sensation and then licks the blood. Sometimes horsefly bites may be more irritating than bee sting. It may take more time to heal as they cut through the skin.


Symptoms of horsefly bite

In case if a person is bitten by horsefly a red lump usually develops immediately on the punctured spot. This may cause itchiness and inflammation around the bitten spot. Such sensations develop as the body releases histamine from the tissues around the area. There are also other symptoms recorded in case of bite of horseflies. Such bites may also cause rashes and hives to develop. People may also react severely to the bite which is usually an allergic condition. These reactions are called anaphylactic reactions. Such reactions may lead to wheezing.


People bitten by horsefly may also experience pinkish swollen region around lips or eyes which often is accompanied with itchiness. Sometimes weakness and dizziness may be accompanied. There are chances that the condition may lead to infection which are often characterized by redness and pus formation along with pain. In case if infection is suspected it is crucial to seek medical help.


Treatment of Horsefly bite

Horsefly bite usually takes more time to treat as compared to bites from other insects. Other insect bites generally take 2 days to 3 day to be cured but bites from horsefly may take more than that. Usually there is no need to seek medical treatment in case if a horsefly attacks you. But you may need emergency medical aid if you experience allergic reactions.


Even if the symptoms of the bite are excruciating and discomforting, one can go for professional medical aid. Medicinal aid usually involves topical creams and medicines. Doctor would suggest appropriate antibiotic in case if infection is recorded. If there are irregularities associated with the skin such as itchiness, swelling, redness, infection, pus etc then the doctor would also recommend topical antibiotics and/or other lotions. Though in most cases horsefly do not need a medical intervention it is better to get it checked by a doctor if discomfort is experienced.


Home remedies for Horsefly bite

Generally, traditional techniques may help in alleviating the condition without need of medical support. If you are bitten by a horsefly then try covering the bittern region with your saliva. Saliva contains Histatin protein which has healing properties that restricts the negative effect of the bite. This is better until you seek professional medical treatment.

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Mild bites from the horsefly usually cure on its own without medical intervention in few days. You need to simply clean the puncture with running water and soap immediately after being bitten. Pat-dry the puncture using a clean cloth and avoid rubbing it hard. You can also use an antiseptic to sterilize the affected area. It is also essential to avoid scratching of the punctured spot. Scratching may cause the horsefly bite to take longer time to heal. It may also cause the infection to spread to surrounding skin region.


Applying hot compresses on the affected skin region can also help in alleviating any irritation or discomfort experienced at the bitten spot. To make an appropriate hot compress one should soak a clean towel in hot salt water and apply to the wound. Ensure not to injure the infected skin or even apply pressure on the affected area as it may increase discomfort.


There are different remedies suggested for treatment of horsefly bite. Icing is another technique that could help in decreasing swelling and reduce pain associated with the bite. One can also use aloe vera gel which can be extracted fresh directly from aloe vera leaf. There are other ingredients such as raw onion, Epsom salt, honey, and a paste made of baking soda and vinegar can help in reducing swelling and discomfort.



Prevention technique for horsefly bite is a better option to stay away from its complications. If you stay in regions where there are water bodies or marshy area, then you are more prone to horsefly bites than others. Hence, it is essential to take preventive measures. You can use effective insecticides to get rid of horsefly colonies in your surroundings. Try reducing horsefly by getting a horsefly trap. Install your house windows and doors with mesh cover to prevent these insects from entering. Wear full sleeves protective clothing which can drastically reduce chances of horsefly bite. There are creams available in the market that can prevent such insects from biting you; these are called ‘horse fly repellents’.  Ensure that your repellent contains DEET (or N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide). These measures will reduce the risk of suffering from horsefly bite.

Horsefly bite pictures

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