Old Black Fly's been
Old Black Fly's been
And he's had a very
busy bad day.
He ate on the crust of the Apple pie.
He bothered the Baby and made her cry.
Shoo fly! Shoo fly! Shooo.
From the book Old Black Fly by Jim Aylesworth. An entertaining, surprising twist on the traditional alphabet book. The pesky old black fly is making trouble all over the house and all through the alphabet.
Like mosquitoes, black flies gain nourishment by sucking the blood of other animals. Actually, it's just the females who feed on blood: the males feed mainly on flower nectar. Unlike mosquitoes, black fly eggs are laid in moving water where the larvae attach to rocks using tiny hooks and survive under ice, waiting for the spring thaw. There, they pupate under water feeding on passing organic debris and emerge in a bubble of air as flying adults. When they hatch, they are often preyed upon by fish, such as trout. They live about 4-6 weeks, depending on species, temperature, and food supply.
Black flies are small black or grey insects with short legs and antennae. Bites can be extremely painful, and their mouthparts are similar to those of a horse fly. Some species of adult black flies prefer humans whereas others target specific animals or birds. On people, they crawl into sleeves and around boot tops, especially favoring the head just beneath the rim of a hat. Bites can cause swelling and soreness for many days. There are records of both domestic animals and people being killed in a few hours through bites and blood loss.
Flies usually bite during the day in outdoor shaded or partially-shaded areas. They do not bite indoors or late at night. They are less numerous at higher altitudes due to a lack of breeding sites, cooler temperatures and the the presence of breezes. Black flies are attracted to mammals by the carbon dioxide and moisture in exhaled breath, perspiration and perfumes. They are also strongly influenced by color — they find dark hues more attractive than pale ones, and blue, purple, brown, and black more attractive than white or yellow. A light-colored shirt, therefore, is a much better choice of clothing than a dark blue one.
All this said, just know black flies come with the territory when out and about in the Upper Peninsula this time of year. So why not have a sense of humor about their incidious attacks?! Show your humerous side by sporting one of the DI CafePress storefront's new tees:
Mosquitoes drill for lunch, Black flies strip mine for it!