Blandford Black Fly

oldtimer

Full Member
Not sure whether this should have been posted here or under Fauna and Flora!

I developed a strange rash and a couple of blood blisters on the calf a few weeks ago. It wasn't especially painful but I had no idea what had caused it. I wondered if I may have snagged myself on some plant, got an insect bite or even if it was a side effect of medication. As it healed up with no further problem I thought no morel about it.

Last week, my wife was at the doctor's and noticed a pamphlet pinned up warning that Blandford Blackfly was active in our area and that it seemed the likely culprit for my rash. I had never heard of it before, but a web-search revealed that it is named after Blandford as it is prevalent in Dorset. It is also found in Oxfordshire along the banks of rivers. As I live at the conjunction of the Ray and Cherwell outside Oxford, circumstantial evidence points to Blandford Blackfly as the guilty party. (This way of thinking is probably the result of living in the territory of Morse, Lewis and Barnaby.)

Apparently there are no serious complications following a bite and I guess it's yet another of those annoying side issues of being outdoors. Any Scots reading this must be wondering about the fuss given the menagerie of winged wee monsters they have to put up with. What tickled my fancy about the BBF was that the female has a hearty blood meal before going out to mate. Reminds me of a few bloodsucking encounters in my far distant past before I found the right woman.
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,959
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S. Lanarkshire
I'm sorry you've been bitten, but I wholeheartedly hope the damned things stay where they are. Between midges, clegs and berry bugs, I have enough to contend with here.

I'd never heard of those black flies though, and the bites that are shown in images when googled, look absolutely miserable.
Best of luck avoiding them in the future.

M
 

Dogoak

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 24, 2009
2,108
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Cairngorms
Always known as the Blandford fly, never heard of the 'black' before. I think they are related to the birch fly?

I've seen some awful reactions to them, unfortunately the female of our species tends have the worst.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,706
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McBride, BC
If it's Simulidae, they rasp the skin and regurgitate saliva etc, to prevent coagulation.
Local allergic reaction to the foreign proteins (aka antigens) in the spit.
Opposite to a developed hypersensitivity, I've got a modest tolerance for the local flying vermin.
 

dean4442

Full Member
Nov 11, 2004
536
2
Wokingham UK
Hall and Woodhouse brewers based in Blandford craft a very tasty tipple called "Blandford Flyer" it has ginger in it which is supposed to ward off the evil little critters. Not sure if it works but maybe experiments should be tried out with larger doses.
Colin
 

Nice65

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Apr 16, 2009
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W.Sussex

moocher

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Mar 26, 2006
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Dorset
I am from Dorset,from the blandford/dorchester area,and it was always the blandford fly,never heard of the black part?
 

Tonyuk

Settler
Nov 30, 2011
882
50
Scotland
You'll be sucked dry if you go anywhere near Garelochhead up here. The official home of the midge by the looks of it, which is a shame since its a decent area in the autumn/winter. Good for a bit of fell running.

Tonyuk
 

oldtimer

Full Member
Dammit! Got bitten again. I think I must have been put in the Insect Michelin Guide with at least a two star rating.

This time it happened while gardening in shorts. I now have half a dozen large blistered lumps on my knees and calves. Good job they only fly just above the ground- it could have been worse.

It had me wondering if it had any connection to the recent cut of the water-meadow adjoining my vegetable patch. However, it is a good reminder to wear long trousers tucked into socks when out.
 

Toddy

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Jan 21, 2005
35,959
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S. Lanarkshire
Touch wood, I have totally avoided the clegs so far. The midgies got me the other evening though. One on my forearm, just below my elbow (think shin part) is so incredibly itchy. It stretches every time I move my arm and I could shred the skin scratching if I gave in to the itch.

Ye'd think that as we get older we'd be so used to being bitten that the body would just cope; I think it's worse though, and we take longer to heal as we age too :sigh:

On the whole (sorry you got bitten though) I'm rather glad that the Blandford black fly just stays down there.

M