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The stable fly can hardly be distinguished visually from the ordinary housefly. However, their sting is not only extremely painful. We show ways to combat and prevent insects here.

In a nutshell

  • also known as calf biter, burn fly, stable fly, calf stitch or horse fly
  • belongs to the family of "true flies" (Muscidae)
  • can transmit borrelia, faecal germs, listeria and salmonella
  • Prevention reduces risk of disease
  • It can also be combated by natural means and in a health-friendly manner

recognize biting flies

In order to effectively and specifically prevent the bites of stable flies or horse flies, the way of life and the distribution of the insects must first be known. The following points can help:

  • Occurs mainly late spring to early fall
  • Activity also possible in winter
  • preferred food sources humans, cattle, horses and other mammals
  • Prefers to lay eggs in compost, rubbish or stable manure
  • Males and females feed on blood, among other things
  • can trigger allergic reactions
  • can absorb 10 to 17 milliliters of blood per day
  • The suction process lasts up to several minutes
  • very painful stings
  • diurnal
  • Transmission of germs through bites possible

Visually, the stable flies can be distinguished from the common house flies - which by the way can neither bite nor sting - on closer inspection by a few details. These are:

  • conspicuously protruding proboscis on the head
  • Wings visibly spread wider than in houseflies
  • light longitudinal stripes on the back

Notice: Since the intense pain is already triggered by the sting, experience has shown that the stable flies can also be easily identified.

Prevention through hygiene

Stable flies are attracted to strong, organic odors. These include, for example:

  • Food with a strong smell, such as cheese, sausage and meat
  • compost
  • Waste, especially organic waste
  • stable dung

Effective preventive measures are therefore to pay attention to appropriate hygiene both indoors and outdoors. Which also includes:

  • cover compost
  • Close rubbish bins tightly and clean them regularly
  • Don't leave food out in the open, keep it tightly closed and refrigerated
  • Remove stable manure, such as horse droppings or cow dung, quickly and regularly

clothing protection

Stable flies find it difficult to penetrate even thin layers of fabric with their proboscis and switch to other food sources. A certain amount of preventive protection can therefore be achieved by wearing long clothing. Breathable sportswear has various advantages, as it also protects against other parasitic insects such as ticks and mosquitoes. In addition, it is comfortable to wear even at high temperatures.

Tip: Animals can also be protected from the annoying and potentially dangerous insects by cloth. Light, cooling special jackets for dogs and animals or special blankets make it more difficult for the stable flies to use them as a source of food.

Keep away with fly screens and nets

Since the stable fly is not only outdoors, but can also be attracted by smells, for example, it can also be found in living rooms. However, these can be easily protected against brakes and the like. Simple fly screens in front of the windows and nets in front of the doors largely prevent insects from entering. They are easy to attach and can also be used in rented apartments without restrictions - as long as they are versions with Velcro fasteners or for clamping.
Garden pavilions, balconies and terraces can also be protected from stable flies with mosquito nets. The advantages here are:

  • also available specifically for pollen allergies
  • a simple assembly
  • no follow-up costs
  • several species of insects are kept away
  • easily reusable
  • comparatively low acquisition costs

Use essential oils

In addition to prevention, there are also various measures available to combat annoying burn flies. Essential oils or plants with a high content of essential oils are effective and yet health-friendly. They can be planted in the garden near dining areas, doors and windows, or cultivated in containers on windowsills and balconies.

  • basil
  • lavender
  • mint
  • rosemary
  • sage
  • tomato plants

Notice: The plants alone are usually not enough to keep all biting flies away, but should still offer some protection. Alternatively, the prepared essential oils from the plants can be placed in aroma lamps or damp cloths.

Use stable fly traps

Special traps are easy to use, inexpensive and effective as well as health-friendly. A basic distinction is made between two types: sticky traps and UV light traps.
Glue traps are strips or plates coated with glue and pheromones. The stable fly is attracted by the pheromones and sticks to the glue. If the traps are placed near organic waste, compost or manure, a large number of calf stingers can be eliminated in a short time. The problem, however, is that useful insects can also stick to it.
Traps with UV light are more expensive to purchase and generate follow-up costs due to operation. The light attracts insects, but for this very reason they may not (any longer) be used outdoors. Because in addition to annoying bloodsuckers and other pests such as mosquitoes and moths, beneficial insects can also fly into the light and burn in the process. Stable flies are not attracted to the light, but can also be lured into the trap by the smell produced. A disadvantage is therefore that the calf stabs have to get indoors in the first place.

Use mechanical weapons

Mechanical weapons can be used in a targeted manner when the burning flies become a nuisance indoors or outdoors. You can choose from:

  • electric fly swatter: This weapon electrocutes insects on contact. Strictly speaking, it is not a purely mechanical countermeasure. Nevertheless, the electric fly swatter is practical because it is comparatively cheap, can be used mobile due to the battery operation and also avoids stains on walls. The stable flies can even be killed directly in the air with it.
  • Fly swatter: The classic fly swatter is used for the targeted killing of insects. The advantages are that it can be used almost anywhere and is very cheap to buy. The disadvantage is that flies and the like leave unsightly stains on walls and other surfaces.
  • Insect Gun: They are still comparatively unknown and are reminiscent of water pistols. Salt is used as ammunition. The vermin are thus literally shot. Insect guns, such as the Bug-A-Salt, are relatively expensive and require accuracy. However, they are non-toxic and with a large number of flies, several insects can be killed with one charge.

Bring in and attract predators

Making the garden safe and attractive to birds and hedgehogs helps to attract these useful predators of horse flies and thus reduce the spread of the bloodsuckers. Ichneumon wasps and lacewing larvae can be purchased from specialist retailers and placed in the vicinity of compost, rubbish and stables.

Tip: Experience has shown that one measure alone is not enough against the stable fly. It is therefore better to use various means of protection, scents, traps, weapons and predators against the potentially dangerous calf stingers.

frequently asked Questions

Are the stings of the calf stabs dangerous?

Because the stable flies can transmit pathogens and cause allergic reactions, the stings are potentially dangerous. Slight redness and swelling are normal. If other or more severe symptoms occur, these must be observed closely and, if necessary, treated medically.

When do I have to go to the doctor with a sting?

In the case of severe pain, extreme swelling, heat development or inflammation, a doctor must be consulted. Dizziness, nausea or shortness of breath are clear indications of an allergic reaction. Emergency medical treatment is required immediately in these cases.

Do chemical agents help against calf stitches?

Insecticides are useless against the stable flies. Because the insects get used to it very quickly and develop resistance. Only the environment, the health of other animals and the wallet are burdened with the insecticides.

What effects can stable flies have on animals?

Pain, panic, itchy eczema, inflammation, diseases and reduced milk production in cows are possible consequences of the bites of the stable fly. Therefore, pets and farm animals should also be protected from the insects.

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