Horse fly numbers surge in sweltering weather

Ilfracombe, Decon, where there have been reports of horse fly bites Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Ilfracombe, Decon, where there have been reports of horse fly bitesCredit:Christopher Jones With temperatures reaching up to 30°C following a wet spring, reports of people being bitten by the horseflies are expected to continue to surge as we enter July.Ben Keywood of the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust said: “In the UK this year we are seeing similar levels of horseflies to those found in Eastern European and parts of the Mediterranean. An invasion of biting horse flies are sweeping the country due to the warming weather, wildlife experts have warned.Reports of painful bites across the country have surged after the size of the insect population in Britain has been compared to those in Mediterranean countries.The blood-sucking insects, who thrive under the summer conditions, have even led to people being admitted to hospital to be seen for their bites.After being plagued by so many biting horse flies, the chemist in Ilfracombe, Devon, has ran out of insect cream to treat those affected.One Devon local said: “My partner was bitten last Monday on Hele Beach. He ended up in A&E overnight Tuesday on an antibiotic drip. “So please keep a close eye on the bite and make sure the redness doesn’t start spreading. He was the third person in that night.”Another person said: “Just came back from a fortnight in Ilfracombe and my parents have probably got 20 bites between them.” “The cold winter meant fewer died and now the hot temperatures in spring and early summer mean they are breeding faster and more of the brood are surviving.”Horseflies are more common in rural areas because they reproduce by biting larger mammals and lay their eggs in standing water.Although, local residents in Sheffield , Rotherham , Devon are also among those who have reported suffering from their painful bites that can last weeks.Also known as ‘clegs’ ,these large, big-eyed flies can inflict a painful bite that cuts skin rather than piercing it, often causing swelling and sometimes even infection.Experts have given tips to those who have been bitten, urging them to use insect repellent, and making sure to keep the wound clean and applying a cold compress to it.An NHS spokesman has said: “anyone who has been bitten and is concerned about it should go to their local chemist, who should be able to help them in the first instance.” read more