Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Who are these rapscallions?

These bloodsucking flies come out of the swamp and eat me bodily, especially along my chest, girth, and underline and in my majestic ears. They seem to love the taste of DMSO, having come on thickly since my treatment began.

Natural fly repellants work for about an hour, and chemical insecticides (pyrethrin-based pour ons, even!) hardly work at all. They are bigger than a black fly, smaller than a deer fly . . . I think.  (Not 100% sure on that point, since I am not a deer.)They are awful. They cluster on me so thickly that when FarmWife wipes my hide with a wet cloth it comes away dotted with a dozen insect corpses. My fly sheet offers some protection, though inadequate, and my poor sensitive skin is riddled with scabs and swellings. If there was an airtight barn into which I might be secreted for the duration of the springtime, we would consider it. As it is, there is only a shed, and it offers little relief. Barnyard sanitation does not seem at fault, as I maintain a clean manure heap and FarmWife removes it to the compost regularly.

Who are these villains, and by what means can they be stopped? We were all about the green products, once, but at this point FarmWife would dip me in bleach and wash me in diesel if it would help me avoid these terrible parasites.

Yours plaintively,


  1. Dear Fenway,
    Have farmwife spray deep wood off on your fly sheet and ear covers It helps!
    Best Regards.
    Sebastian Del Prado, Show Pony Supreme

  2. those are black flies, or may flies. I can sympathize with you, dear Fenway, as when I was a child, I was bitten so badly, that I had to soak my legs, and arms in buckets of water, and icepacks on my face, head, and other parts of my body. I still have the scars.
    Fear not, beautiful Fenway, they will begin to dissipate soon. I swear.
    They are resiliant to all types of fly spray, I agree with you.
    Good luck, and nice cool baths will help the scabbing, and the burning/itching.
    By the way, i also wanted you to know that I have asked for Fenway gear for Christmas.


  3. The only thing I know that works is fly predators spread at the beginning of May. Flash is also getting attacked by such things, but since I've employed them we haven't had an issue as the predators eat these flies in their larval stage...

    Spalding Labs is where you can get them... good luck, dear friend

  4. I was also going to suggest the fly predators. Good luck!

  5. Oh Fenway - I feel your pain. The flies are awful here - just awful - fly spray lasts about 5 minutes. Mom was gonna get the fly predators but he have such high winds here - most people said they blow away in the wind. Thank God I have a fly mask.

    Your fren,

  6. These are most likely black flies. Per Wikipedia:

    Eggs are laid in running water, and the larvae attach themselves to rocks. The larvae use tiny hooks at the end of the abdomen to hold on to the substrate, using silk holdfasts and threads to move or hold their place. They have foldable fans surrounding their mouths. The fans expand when feeding, catching passing debris (small organic particles, algae, and bacteria). The larva scrapes the fan's catch into its mouth every few seconds. Black flies depend on lotic habitats to bring food to them. They will pupate under water and then emerge in a bubble of air as flying adults. They are often preyed upon by trout during emergence. Adult males feed on nectar while females also feed on blood.

    I Little Big Red have learned a new word today "lotic". I also have learned that I do not have to fear this type of fly because I live in Central Texas which is not a lotic habitat.

  7. Fenway,

    Mother found my Ultrashield wasn't as effective, so she tried Endure... and now she sprays me with both. It works really well.
    You could also have Farmwife get Swat for the worst places, and really smear it on. Mother claims the pink kind holds better than the clear, but I think she just likes to embarrass me.
    I've also heard good things about Zonk, but haven't tried it myself.

    Best of luck! Bif

    I am Boyfriend

  8. nickers Fenway,
    my Always Fussing Biped brushes neem oil on my coat to keep pests away. so if you wish to be even more *SHINY*, and while *SHINING* to repel some flies, mosquitoes & assorted "rapscallions", ask FarmWife to "dress" you all over with said neem oil.
    as for bites, scabs etc: a mix of green clay+water+lenitive tea-tree gel (mind you: gel, never essential oil!), should avoid you the itch and burn. hope this helps.
    be well, may The Muleness always be with you
    your short-eared, Brown friend from Tuscanyshire,

  9. Thank you all for the tremendous advice! Thankfully, a 24 hour torrential downpour seems to have settled these buggers down. Living as I do in an Iotic environment (thank you, Little Big Red), I suppose it should come as no surprise that I suffer the visitation of swamp creatures. At least there is no Black Lagoon in Wickersham, to my knowledge.

    I will try some or all of your advice next time the pests descend!


  10. Dear Fenway,
    I feel your buzzing annoyance! I live at a ranch with many other four legged creatures and my adopted Mom is taking care of me at my current location until she can buy her own ranch...She cleans my stall daily for me but, I'm being buzzed again! flies are really attacking my legs - I think they are vampire flies! After my Mom knows I've had a good dust bath she comes down and putsswat AROUND my wounds - this really helps.. She also uses Horsemans dream on any open woulnds as it's aloe based and really soothing. the same thing happened to me last year and beyond a bit of fly boot help the only thing that really finally stopped the biting (although it took a couple of weeks) was fly rid. They told me it was like advantage for bigger four legged animals. It works great! I'm not really fond of this but, it was such a relief and Mom really took the time with me to make sure I wasnt afraid of anything before she put it on... I hope this helps and may the fly rid be with you!
    Your distant cousin with the best ears on the west coast -
    Joey the Donkey


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