If you live near the woods in the Eastlake Woodlands areas, you’ve probably fell victim to these powerful, fast parasites known as, simply, the Yellow Flies.
These pesky critters’ painful bite often leave their victims with painful swelling and itching.
According to studies by the University of Florida, it is the female yellow fly that is responsible for inflicting bites, as the males are mainly pollen and nectar feeders, while the female feeds on blood to develop eggs.
Yellow flies are ramping up in Tampa right now, said entomologist Pete Brabant, who works for South Walton Mosquito Control.
“They will reach their peak in the next month due to weather,” said Brabant. “As the weather gets more humid and rainy they live and breed in mud. Then, as adults, they go to the nearest shady spot and that’s where people are most likely to get bit.”
The adult grows to about half an inch long and is similar in appearance to a deer fly.
The yellow fly’s larvae is aquatic or semi-aquatic, slender, whitish grubs and larvae feed primarily on decaying organic matter, according to the University of Florida. They have been found in deeply shaded areas in root mats of cypress, shingle oak, and other woody plants, always beneath the water surface. Adults are often found around the larval habitat, but they may move considerable distances to find blood.
The yellow fly is one of the most serious biting flies, according to the University of Florida. It attacks vigorously and the bites are painful. It attacks throughout the day and is most active during the late afternoon and on cloudy days. They are common near large bodies of water, but tend to remain in or near forests. It also attacks indoors. Domestic animals may also be attacked.
The University of Florida’s studies have determined that mosquito repellents are moderately effective against the adults except when the flies are abundant or very hungry. Their studies state that Deet is the most effective repellent, but traps are sometimes effective in control of small areas such as yards, camping sites, and swimming pools.
“But Deet is only effective in high concentrations of the flies,” said Brabant.
Some helpful hints for not getting bit include covering up, wearing long sleeves and long pants, he added.