The trigger of the sweet itch eczema is the sting from the black fly. In contrast to mosquitoes that suck the blood though its proboscis, the black fly uses its mouth brushes to penetrate the surface of the horse skin.The black fly licks the blood from the wound much like a pool sucker, and digs very deep into the horse skin. The salivary secretion from the black fly contains blood thinners and blood clotting inhibitors. This way the blood forms into a pool in the deep wound, so that the blood can easily be sucked up by the black fly.
In our regions, there are up to 50 different species of the black fly with a size of up to 5 mm. Especially during the breeding season, the female black fly needs a lot of blood and are biologically fully focused on getting its need for blood met. The blood required, is often sucked up from the horses by the "bites from the black fly”, which causes a lot of suffering to the horse, often resulting in sweet itch eczema.
In the pursuit for horse-blood the black flies love damp hunting areas such as, for example, streams, ponds and wet pastures. Large swarms of black flies causes a lot of panic to the horses. The attack from the black fly usually takes place during the morning, or late afternoon. The black fly is particularly active during the warm season. The attack is influenced by the insects’ olfactory sense, which means that the odour from body, or sweat, plays an important role. In contrast to mosquitoes, the black flies only occur outdoors. They are practically never to be found in stables, or houses.
What causes the sting from the black fly?
The black fly’s bite is very painful and usually leads to an open wound. The sting from the black fly releases saliva secrets into the wound. The saliva secretion dilutes the blood and reduces blood coagulation. This causes a defence reaction in the infected animal. The attacked body thus releases its own histamine to prevent penetration of the harmful foreign substances from the black fly. The histamine irritates the nerve endings and causes the tissue to swell. It triggers severe itching and ultimately leads to inflammation of the wound. The healing of the wound is prevented because of the salivary secretion from the black fly, which always releases in the open wounds.
As a rule, the black flies mostly attack in swarms. The most popular target in the horse is the inside of its thighs, the tail, the abdomen, or the mane. The horse develops a strong urge to scratch and scrub itself. The scrubbing and scratching causes hair to fall out and open, purulent spots (sweet itch eczema) are likely to develop. The open wound, the sweet itch eczema, will attract more midgets and black flies, which then aggravates the eczema further.
How to Prevent the Black Fly Bite (Attack Stop)?
In order to prevent the black fly bite one has to stop the "attack from the black fly”. By stopping the attack from the black fly, prevention of the allergic reaction - and the consequent sweet itch eczema in the animal - is obtained. The attack from the black fly on horses, and consequently the black fly bite, can be stopped with a pheromone specifically developed against the black fly and midges.
Pheromones are semi-chemicals (usually glandular secretions), which is used for communication between individuals of a species (in this case specifically the black fly). This particular pheromone is a biochemical messenger, which determines the communication among black flies. In order to prevent the attack on the horses and thus the black fly bite, a special alarm-pheromone is used. This messenger stimulates an escape behaviour in the black fly and the black fly then goes searching for another victim.
How to Use Black Fly Attack Stop
Horses and other farm animals are sprayed in 3 to 4 places with the "Black Fly Stop" remedy. The pheromones are embedded into a tiny, porous and homogeneous structure (matrix) and are therefore released evenly over a long period of time. This high-tech device makes this product a depot / and retard remedy. The pheromones are stored and delayed and released slowly and evenly. This slow release of the alarm-pheromones protects the horse from the black flies. The effect lasts up to 24 hours, which makes one or two applications per day sufficient.
We are happy to answer any questions that you may have about black flies:
• How can you stop the attack from the black flies?
• What does black flies have to do with sweet itch eczema?
• How can you protect your horses from the black fly?
• What helps against the black fly bite?
• Is it possible to prevent the black fly bite?
• What is the allergic reaction to the black fly?