Flies that Sting
Types of Flies
Types of Insects
People often inquire into the types of flies that sting.
Of course, bees and wasps have stingers, and flies do not. Technically most people think of stinging flies as the biting flies.
Around the world, groups of flies get labeled as pests and medical pests because their bites transmit diseases. The tsetse fly fly, for example, a native African family of flies, are known for transmitting parasites known to cause sleeping sickness.
Closer to home, people easily forget that mosquitos are flies. Easier to remember are mosquito outbreaks combined with mosquito bites.
Health officials continue to warn populations about potential problems with mosquito outbreaks, especially as they relate to the spread of West Nile virus.
Mosquito control in residential areas can often be effectively implements by removing any stands pools of water, thereby preventing mosquito breeding.
Horse flies and deer flies often receive a good deal of attention due to the female's predatory nature. They inhabit most areas of the United States.
In other areas, specific flies cause specific problems. Florida, for example, has problems with sand flies. Colorado, on the other hand, has problems with black flies.
An application of DEET on the skin often serves as an effective repellent for most, if not all the native biting flies.
Two additional fly groups worth mentioning:
Snipe flies (family Rhagionidae) (second picture) often can be found in wooded areas near water sources.
Long, thin abdomens and long legs serve as good field identification clues, although many species as so small that seeing the legs and abdomen can be difficult without an enlarged picture.
Most snipe flies are labeled as insect predators and a few species are biting pests akin to horse flies.
The term midge fly applies to a handful of Diptera families which are related to mosquitoes and black flies.
Often midge families get differentiated along biting and non-biting categories.
The top picture shows a non-biting species typically found in large numbers near fresh water environments during the spring.
The thin body and feathery antennae indicate a male.
The biting midges, Family Ceratopogonidae, can be found throughout most of North America and go by a variety of common names such as no-see-ums, sand flies and punkies.
The no-see-ums nickname is indicative of their diminutive size. The sand fly nickname is indicative of their fondness for coastal and other aquatic areas with sandy shores, although they are not related to the separate sand fly family, Phlebotomidae.
Found in most aquatic areas, biting midges are considered an annoyance, however they are not known to transmit disease.
© 2010-2011 Patricia A. Michaels