Facts About Face Flies
These non-biting face flies are known as pests, but more so to cattle than to humans. While they do not suck blood like many other lies, they do absorb the saliva and mucus secretions of beef and dairy cattle. Their name comes primarily from their tendency to swarm around the face of these cattle when feeding, often in large quantities.
Because of this evolutionary preference for cows, they are of little concern to most homeowners (unless you own a farm that is). They are most active in early spring all the way until autumn, and are only commonly found in areas known to have large livestock populations.
Face Fly Bites
These flies rarely bother humans, although if close enough while shooing them away it is possible that they may change their attention. Fortunately for us they have no means of piercing our skin, and aren’t particularly fast.
Life Cyle & Habitat
The life cycle of this fly begins in manure, where the female lays its eggs. This will occur usually near the livestock, because the face fly only chooses freshly created manure for its young to be buried in. Once the development from the maggot stage is complete the flies will emerge, and the males begin to search for a mate.
Males are found nearby on leaves and plants, often consuming nectar while they search for a suitable female. Females can be found pestering cattle, and swarming around their faces. The entire habitat of the face fly is fairly well contained to the fields of grass fed cows, and they rarely enter nearby homes.
In the early stages of life the developing eggs of this fly will feed from the manure in which the female deposits them. This is only until the maggots develop into flies, at which time they will begin to change their diet. As mentioned above, the face fly swarms near the face and eyes of cattle, causing irritations in their eye. This irritation causes the eyes to produce mucus, which the flies then consume. Only the females practice this however, as the males are more commonly around vegetation, and consume nectar. The females have been known to consume blood, but since they have no means of piercing the skin they only do this when cattle blood is already exposed.
Types of Face Flies
Face Fly Identification
Commonly described as: act like cluster flies
The body of a face fly is gray with four dark stripes, with both males and females showing tinges of orange. These are some of the smallest pests around, with most measuring at less than a centimeter.
Face Fly Infestations
For the most part, face flies aren’t a nuisance to humans. They primarily annoy pasturing animals like cows because they feed off the mucus, tears and saliva of the animals. During the summer months the flies are found outside, but like many species, they will seek shelter to overwinter. This can cause them to cluster around your windows and doorways. Once the weather warms up, the face flies will leave their overwintering site and return to fields and pastures.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you prevent a face flies infestation?
As mentioned above this fly is really only a concern if a homeowner is in the cattle raising business. If this is not your case then little contact is likely with these little nuisances. If this is the case for you then it is important to remember that these flies are heavily responsible for the spread of diseases and bacteria between cattle.
The female buries its eggs in manure, but only if it is recently found (15 minutes or less). Thus the easiest way to prevent further flies from bothering your cattle is to quickly dispose of any manure deposits far away from the livestock.
What are the Benefits of Professional Face Fly Pest Control?
A pest management professional has the education, equipment and skills necessary to effectively address a face fly problem. Finding and treating the face flies can be challenging, especially if they are hidden in the building. A pest management professional provides their expertise to identify the pest problem and determine the best possible solution to resolve the face flies infestation.