Black fly in a persons palm - Keep flies away from your home with Kona Coast Pest Control in Kailua Kona

Black Fly

Actual Size: 1 to 5 mm

Characteristics: Black, with some gray and possibly reddish color.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Yes

Habitat: Found close to flowing water near slow-moving streams, creeks, or rivers.


  • Adults seek moist environments.  
  • Only the Females bite and they are quick to bite. 
  • “Black fly fever” is the term used to describe the various reactions to their bites. 
  • Known to feed on a variety of hosts including, livestock, birds, and humans.

Black Flies in Kailua Kona

Black flies are tiny, blood-sucking insects, that inhabit numerous regions in the United States and Canada. Commonly called buffalo gnats or turkey gnats, these pests are recognized for their tendency to fly around people’s heads, sometimes venturing into eyes and ears, and even crawling into hair. The blood-feeding behavior is exclusive to the female, which readily bites humans and animals. In late spring and early summer, especially in more northern latitudes, black flies can be present in substantial numbers.

Black Fly Habitat

The breeding of black flies occurs solely in running water, where larvae and pupae undergo development in flowing, usually unpolluted water with an abundance of dissolved oxygen. The immature stages thrive in oxygenated water sources, leading to adults commonly being found in sluggish streams, creeks, or rivers where these stages mature. The requirement for black fly development is met by moving water, not necessarily fast-flowing rapids. Lakes and stagnant ponds are unsuitable for black fly growth.

Black Fly Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Black flies, while annoying as biting pests, do not transmit diseases to humans in the U.S. The reactions to their bites can vary, ranging from small puncture wounds to swelling to the size of a golf ball. These reactions, collectively termed “black fly fever,” may include symptoms such as headache, nausea, fever, and swollen neck lymph nodes. While a source of irritation for humans, black flies can jeopardize livestock by transmitting diverse disease agents, such as protozoa and nematode worms, which don’t impact humans. If you are dealing with a black fly problem on your property, contact your local fly exterminators.