Do you want to know how to get rid of black flies in your yard? These tiny, blood-sucking insects can ruin any outdoor activity, leaving you with itchy, red bites and an aversion to your own yard.
But fear not, as we have compiled a comprehensive guide on how to get rid of black flies and reclaim your outdoor sanctuary.
The warm and sunny days of summer beckon us to spend more time in our yards, enjoying the fresh air and natural beauty. However, the presence of black flies can quickly turn this outdoor bliss into a pesky ordeal.
Understanding Black Flies
Before we delve into the methods of eliminating these nuisances, it’s essential to understand the enemy.
Black flies, also known as buffalo gnats or turkey gnats, are small, dark-colored insects typically found near slow-moving streams, rivers, and lakes. They are most active during the warm months, especially in early summer.
Female black flies feed on the blood of humans and animals to obtain proteins necessary for their egg-laying process. While males feed on nectar, it’s the females that cause the most trouble, as they leave itchy bites on their victims.
Preventing their breeding and targeting their habitats are the keys to reclaiming your yard from these tiny pests.
Black Flies vs House Flies
The species of black flies and house flies are two distinct species of flies that have different behaviors, appearances, and habitats.
Here are some key differences between black flies in the yard and house flies:
- As their name suggests, black flies are typically dark-colored, with a stout body. They are relatively small, measuring about 1/8 to 1/4 inch in length. Black flies have short antennae and a humpbacked appearance. Only the female black flies bite and feed on blood.
- House flies (Musca domestica)) are generally larger than black flies, measuring around 1/4 inch in length. They have a grayish appearance with four black stripes on their thorax. House flies have prominent red eyes and are equipped with large compound eyes and sponging mouthparts for feeding.
- As mentioned earlier, only female black flies feed on blood. They require the nutrients from blood to lay eggs. Male black flies, on the other hand, feed on nectar and do not bite.
- Both male and female house flies feed on various types of food sources. They are known as scavengers and are attracted to decaying organic matter, garbage, feces, and other rotting materials.
Breeding Habits and Habitat
- Black flies lay their eggs in or near flowing water, such as streams, rivers, and lakes. The larvae (also called “black fly maggots”) develop in water, attaching themselves to submerged rocks or vegetation while filtering organic matter to feed on.
- House flies breed in a variety of decaying organic materials, such as food waste, animal feces, compost piles, and even moist soil. They do not require water for their larvae to develop.
- Black flies are most active during the warm months, especially in early summer. Their presence is often associated with outdoor activities near water bodies, and they tend to be more active during the daytime.
- House flies can be found year-round in temperate regions, but they are most prevalent during the warmer months. They are particularly bothersome during late summer and early fall when their population peaks.
- Female black flies use specialized mouthparts to puncture the skin and prefer a blood meal from humans and animals. Black fly bites can be painful, and you may have allergic reactions. To avoid these painful bites, keep reading for traditional and natural fly repellents. .
- House flies do not bite. Instead, they use their sponging mouthparts to lap up liquid food, such as liquids from decomposing organic matter or sugary substances.
How to Get Rid of Black Flies in Your Yard
Eliminating Breeding Sites
Black flies lay their eggs near water bodies, and the larvae develop in the water. To reduce their population, you must eliminate potential breeding sites. Here’s how:
- Remove standing water: Check your yard for any containers or areas that collect stagnant water, such as buckets, bird baths, old tires, and clogged gutters. Empty them regularly to deny the black flies a breeding ground. Even a cup of water will attract adult black flies.
- Treat ornamental ponds: If you have a decorative pond, consider adding biological larvicides that are safe for fish and other aquatic life. These larvicides will target black fly larvae without harming other beneficial creatures.
- Properly maintain swimming pools: If you have a pool, keep it clean and adequately chlorinated. Neglected pools can become breeding grounds for various insects, including black flies.
Introduce Insect-Repelling Plants
Landscaping your yard with certain plants known for their insect-repelling properties can help deter black flies. Consider adding these plants to your garden or outdoor space:
- Lavender: Known for its pleasant fragrance to humans, lavender is an effective natural repellent for black flies.
- Marigold: Marigolds contain pyrethrin, a natural insecticide that can keep black flies at bay.
- Basil: The aromatic oils in basil plants act as a deterrent for various insects, including black flies.
- Citronella: Citronella plants are well-known for repelling mosquitoes, but they can also help reduce black fly activity in your yard.
Create a Breeze
Black flies are weak fliers and find it challenging to navigate in windy conditions.
Strategically placing outdoor fans or creating windbreaks with dense plants can help disrupt their flight patterns and keep them away from your yard.
Attract Natural Predators
Encouraging the presence of natural predators in your yard can help control the black fly population. Consider implementing the following:
- Bird Feeders: Attract birds that feed on insects by installing bird feeders. Birds, such as swallows and purple martins, are known to prey on black flies.
- Bat Houses: Bats are excellent insectivores and can consume a large number of black flies in one night. Installing bat houses can attract these beneficial creatures to your property.
- Water Features: Dragonflies are formidable hunters of flying insects, including black flies. Adding a water feature, such as a small pond or birdbath, can attract dragonflies and help keep black fly numbers in check.
Non-Toxic Traps and Prevention
Create DIY traps to capture and reduce the number of black flies in your yard. Here are a few simple and non-toxic trap ideas:
- Vinegar Trap: Fill a container with equal parts of water and vinegar and add a few drops of dish soap. The flies will be attracted to the mixture and get trapped in it.
- Sugar Water Trap: Mix sugar and water in a container and place it away from your living areas. Black flies will be attracted to the sweet scent and get caught in the solution.
- Fermented Fruit Trap: Place overripe fruits like bananas or peaches in a container and leave them outside. As the fruits ferment, they will attract black flies, which will become trapped.
Certain essential oils have natural insect-repelling properties. You can use these oils to create a homemade spray that deters black flies from your yard.
Dilute essential oils such as eucalyptus, lemongrass, peppermint, or citronella in water. Then, use your spray bottle to spray it around the areas where black flies are most active.
When spending time outdoors in black fly-prone areas, take measures to protect yourself:
- Wear light-colored clothing., Long sleeves and long pants twill minimize exposed skin.
- Use insect repellents containing DEET or picaridin on exposed skin and clothing to keep black flies at bay.
- Consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and neck from bites.
Traditional Chemical Treatment to Remove Flies
If other methods have proven ineffective, you may consider using insecticides specifically formulated for black flies.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, and apply the insecticide when black flies are most active, typically during the early morning or late afternoon.
Professional Pest Control
For severe black fly infestations or if you’re uncomfortable using chemical treatments, seeking help from a professional pest control service may be the best option.
Pest control experts have the knowledge and expertise to handle the problem effectively and safely.
With the right approach and a combination of methods, you can successfully bid farewell to black flies and reclaim your yard for peaceful and enjoyable outdoor experiences.
Remember, prevention is key! Make it a habit to eliminate breeding sites and create an environment that discourages these pesky insects from invading your space.
Embrace the outdoors without the worry of black flies, and let your yard become a haven of relaxation once again.
Before you go, here are more posts you’ll enjoy: