This crazy weather we have had here in the Goldfields - the North in particular has caused the WA Country Health Service to send out a warning particularly around the Laverton area, to avoid being bitten.
March flies are not known to transmit disease to humans or livestock in Australia, however, their bites are painful and can cause adverse allergic reactions in some people, sometimes requiring hospitalisation.
WACHS Goldfields Public Health Clinical Nurse Manager Claire Woollacott said to avoid being bitten, people should wear long-sleeved, loose fitting, light coloured clothing and a good insect repellent containing diethyl tolumide (also known as DEET).
“March flies are known to be attracted to dark blue, so it is advisable to avoid wearing blue and other dark colours,” Ms Woollacott said.
March flies, also known as horse flies, are stout-bodied flies measuring 6-25mm in length, with large eyes. There are more than 200 species and they can occur anywhere in Western Australia, in a range of habitats. They are most active during daylight hours.
“Painful bites may be treated with ice packs and mild anti-histamines,” Ms Woollacott said.
“If a bite becomes infected due to scratching, an antiseptic cream or antibiotic may be required. Patients with severe allergic reaction, such as widespread swelling or rash, or difficulty breathing should seek urgent medical attention.”