How to treat Black Fly bites on horses
If you live in New England and have horses, then the arrival of Spring can be both a blessing and a curse. You finally get out of that indoor arena where you have been riding all winter, but the tradeoff is that it's Black Fly season. Aka May flies/MayFlies season, Black flies are transmitters of pathogens (nematodes, protozoans and viruses) that can cause disease. Black fly females have very painful bites and can exhibit nuisance swarms. Large numbers of black flies can cause death as well as create a stampede of your horse/s in an effort to escape. Excess blood loss can be detrimental to your horse’s health. Most deaths are caused by toxemia and shock to the actual bites. Persistent attacks cause unruly host behavior, weight loss, and malnutrition of young animals, dermatitis and epidermal necrosis and stress-related maladies. Black Flies show up quite suddenly and as one Equine Vet in Massachusetts says…. “causes horses to do the dumbest things to try to get away from them.” Black Flies tend to go for the ears, chest, stomach and the groin area of a horse. A horse that is turned out all day can come in to feed and have bites and scabs covering their entire stomach area. Others will scratch their chest on a post or rails until it is raw or grind their stomach into the ground until the skin breaks open to get some relief from the intense itching of the Black Fly’s nasty bites. Fly masks and fly sheets are a must for Black Fly season but if you’ve been caught off guard by a sudden hatching, be sure to have our Banixx spray and our NEW Banixx® Wound Care Cream on hand.
Consider beginning with the regular Banixx® spray to clean the affected area. Banixx spray gives soothing relief even in the worst of black fly bite cases with no burn/sting and no clinical odor to traumatize. Spray the area well, even patting it gently into the skin for complete saturation; you may decide to wear gloves to do this if the area is open and raw. Leave the Banixx spray solution in place for ten minutes if possible. Then, pat the area gently with gauze or a clean towel to remove excess moisture. Apply Banixx®’ Wound Care Cream. Banixx® soothing Wound Care Cream contains sea-sourced amino acids (via superior Marine Collagen) that fortify fibers and repair the raw skin that’s been bitten by Black Flies while providing a deep-skin, gentle moisturizing action. Banixx® Wound Care Cream is chlorhexidine-based and contains no alcohol or steroids, it’s non-toxic, with no added color or fragrance and can be used daily to treat the raw skin caused by those nasty Black Fly bites. Once applied, Banixx Wound Care Cream sets up as an invisible, medicated band-aid. Repeat the process am and pm for several days or until you see hair growth in the affected area.
And now we must set the record straight. Mayflies have been confused with Black Flies. They do both emerge at the same time in May and hence have received bad, incorrect press. Black flies are indeed the culprits with our horses (and humans alike). They mate in May and June, depending on water temperatures, and find any patches of unprotected skin to quickly attack ferociously. Their bites, along with salivary protein, penetrate any system and cause an allergic, swelling, itching reaction. Mayflies, on the other hand, are a benign, non-harmful species. Unlike other flies, that have horizontal wings similar to airplanes, mayflies have distinctive, vertical wings, not unlike a sailing boat. Mayfly adults also have shrunken jaws that are not only incapable of eating, but undoubtedly incapable of biting. They are predominant in areas with running streams and water, providing a steady diet for fish, birds, and bats.