By that I mean there are a lot of them around. I realize that many people would prefer this particular nuisance disappear entirely and to them I imagine this would be a bad year for Horseflies. I have always been fascinated by these large flies and enjoy having them around.
This beauty with its
soot black finish appears to have been assembled by fine craftsmen. Female Horseflies feed on fresh blood,
primarily taken from large mammals.
Males feed on nectar and pollen and I suspect sweat, since I’ve been
buzzed by male Horseflies that land on my sweaty shirt, but do not bite.
The eyes of the male meet on the
top of the head.
I’m quite impressed with the brightly colored
antennae. Their shape reminds me of some
Klingon weaponry, but these are sensory organs, not defensive structures.
mouthparts pierce the skin to allow the blood to flow. The blood is then taken up by the labella,
that dark sack-like structure located below the sheaths. Human blood is readily taken by Horseflies,
much to the discomfort of the donor. Fortunately,
the larger species of Horseflies are quite noisy in flight and can be heard
long before they settle down to bite.
I’ve noticed that if you wave and swat at a circling Horsefly, it just
widens its circle until you calm down.
If you catch the Horsefly in your hand, hold it for a moment and then
release it, it will fly straight away and not come back. That bit of information probably won’t help
many people cope with their Horsefly encounters, but it is interesting.
I’m used to watching Horseflies cruise above
small pools and suddenly drop down to smack the water and fly quickly
away. They have been making daily
assaults on my Water Garden for the past several weeks. The image above is the closest I could come
to capturing this activity. I have always
assumed that these flies were females depositing eggs, but I’ve never read
anything that affirms that assumption.
Carrying along a mite of two seems to be all
the rage this season. I can’t remember
when I’ve seen so many of these red riders on the bodies of large flying
insects. Some may be permanent residents
and others just hitching a ride.
Whatever they’re up to, they always make their host a bit more interesting.
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