Free Shipping on all orders over $75! Shop Now

person (1)shopping_cart (1)

Get Rid of Black Flies from Your Yard

By: EarthKind

Swarm of black flies around trees

No one likes being bitten by bugs, especially during the summer when you’re trying to enjoy the outdoors. If it’s not mosquitos you’re worrying about, it’s black flies. When these pests bite, it hurts. Their bites leave itchy red bumps, so you’ll feel it if one does get you. But if a swarm takes a liking to you? That can be dangerous. 

Black flies – also known as “Buffalo Gnats” – are not mosquitoes, but it’s easy to mix them up. They are similar to the much-maligned mosquito, but with some key differences that will change how you keep them away from you.

In this article, we’ll cover facts about the black fly, DIY ways you can keep this type of pest away, and a repellent that can help you stay bite-free.

Black Fly Facts 

While mosquitoes only have some niche benefits for the earth, black flies have an important role to play in the ecosystem of streams and rivers, as their larvae feed dragonflies, trout, and other fish that can be found in similar environments.

Now that you understand their importance, here are a few other facts about these pests.

  • Unlike mosquitoes, black flies only lay their eggs in clean and fast-moving running water, so unpolluted streams are common nurseries. Most people don’t have clean streams near their homes so you probably don’t have to worry about black flies in your backyard. The bad news is that because they have stricter requirements for egg-laying than mosquitoes, black flies have evolved to travel further for their blood meal: up to 40 miles from their breeding grounds in some parts of the world!
  • Black flies track prey the same way mosquitoes do. They sense and are attracted to CO2, which can be exhaled or found on skin. They are also attracted to dark-colored clothing and sweet-smelling scents. 
  • Black flies can be dangerous. Their bites are painful and can cause severe allergic reactions in some people. Infestations can also be very dangerous to livestock, people, and pets. However, at least in the United States, they aren’t known to infect humans with any diseases like West Nile. You’re better off not risking it, though. In other parts of the world, black flies are one of the leading causes of blindness thanks to a parasite they often carry. 

5 Ways to Keep Black Flies Away Naturally

Black flies are a little easier to avoid than mosquitoes. You don’t have to worry about them if you stay indoors, and they’re only active during the day (often soon after sunrise and shortly before sunset) so you’re safe to crack the windows open after dark. 

If you are out during the day, keep these tips in mind. 

1. Protect Your Skin

If you do go out, make sure to protect your skin with light-colored clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible. Since black flies often go for the hairline and the back of your neck, it can be tough to protect yourself effectively. Wear loose-fitting clothing and hats with netting when you know these pests are active.

2. Use a Repellent

If you’re going to use bug spray, avoid sprays with DEET and opt for sprays with Picaridin. Picaridin is a compound bioidentical to those found in long black pepper plants and sprays using this are safer on skin compared to other options. Stay Away® Mosquitoes is an insect repellent that uses Picaridin as the active ingredient and can work to repel black flies.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Since we know it’s sweat and sweet scents that attract these pests, we need to make sure that our sweat won’t be on the menu. If you know you’re going to be in a place with mosquitos or black flies, consider drinking apple cider vinegar mixed into your water which can help make you less attractive to these pests. 

4. Keep Cool and Dry

It may seem obvious, but not sweating will give you the best chance at not attracting black flies. Keeping your body cool and dry will not only make you more comfortable outside, but you will also reduce the chances of experiencing a painful bite.

5. Essential Oils

There are certain scents that pests simply hate including mint, peppermint, and lemongrass. Using these essential oils can help keep pests away and peppermint can also provide a bit of relief for a bug bite!  

Use a Plant-Based Solution This Season

You can also stay bite-free while living your life the way you want to, wearing what you want and going out when you want. Just use a proven insect repellent, like Stay Away® Mosquitoes

It’s not just for mosquitoes: made with picaridin, Stay Away Mosquitoes can repel other insects including biting flies (like black flies), ticks, and chiggers all day long. It’s naturally scent-free and super gentle on skin, meaning it’s safe for the whole family when used as directed–pregnant women and children included. 

So get outside, enjoy nature, and tell the black flies and their pals to stay away.