Monday, July 2, 2012

Horse Flies

This picture doesn't show their fangs.
These guys are just plain MEAN!

Well . . . that's not entirely fair!  If there are any horse flies at all there simply have to be female horseflies too.  And they also must be mean (probably meaner than the male horse fly but in a passive-aggressive way!) 

I wonder why God put them on this earth?  What the hell good do they do?  There must be something . . . some value to our ecosystem.  But I just don't see it.  Apparently, based on my observations they are only present on earth for one reason - to harass humans each summer.  Sure they do harass animals too, but most animals seem more capable of taking their attacks in stride.  People . . . not so much.

Horse flies have their favorite haunts . . . places where they know it will be easy to find people to attack!  Pools and lakes are one of their favorite hunting grounds.  They first just 'glide' in quitely and light somewhere on you . . . usually your head or your back.  Not sure why they go for your hair / scalp but I'm certain they KNOW an attack on your back makes it hard for you to swat them.  They are sneaky, plotting little bastards!  You never know they are there until the chomp down on you, injecting something like alcohol immediately just to make it painful.  Then, the real fun begins for these little asses!

You start swatting at them, you really don't know where the hell they are, you just hear them buzzing around and every once in a while you see a blur as they circle in for another round of attack!  I'm thinking they MAY attack in packs!  All you ever see is one at a time, but the others are behind you, coming in for the kill as one buzzes in front to distract you.

Eventually, there is only one solution you think . . . jump in the water and go under!  Ahh that should outsmart the little bastards!  I'll just hold my breath for awhile and they will think I disappeared and move on to torment someone else!  Brilliant!  So once you come back up for air, you are SURE you've outsmarted them.  Immediately you're attacked again!  The little SOB was just circling . . . waiting for you!

The only way to deal with these little wolves is to go sit in a chair and put a hat on.  That forces them to attack a portion of your body that is visible.  Brilliant!  So eventually one lands and quickly prepare for their meal and you swat . . . hard!  They simply take to the air for a few seconds!  And we humans are too slow to see that they are gone and we can't stop the slap!  So we slap ourselves!  If you don't shout out a cuss word, but instead listen closely . . . you can hear the little bastards laughing!

And don't think insect repellants are of any use.  Actually, it's a little known fact that DEET is an attractor to horse flies!  They LOVE the stuff!  When they smell DEET, it's like us smelling a barbecue . . . we're heading to it!  Even if we aren't invited to eat, maybe we can at least score a free beer or two!

While lakes and pools are easy pickings, sometimes they opt for forest trails where they know a runner will soon come by.  They choose these places because they are bored.  Basically a bunch of horse flies get in a group and just "hang out" together.  Resting and taking it easy.  I'm guessing they probably are drinking some horsefly version of beer or liquor, singing and just having a good ol' lazy time.  Then, when a runner approaches they decide to have some fun!

On the trails, the attacks usually are just a single horse fly!  So I'm thinking they're attacking just to show off to the others!  Good sport!

I love it when I'm in the rear and start to see someone in front of me start yelling and waving their arms like they are a crazy person!  (The reason I love it is two fold . . . first it's just plain funny as hell and second I'm almost laughing cause it's not me the attack has been launched against!)

Sometimes you get "lucky" and one of your wild swats actually connects!  I put the word "lucky" in quotes because unless the swat was lethal, all you've done is now pissed off a drunk horse fly!

The dam little SOB will circle and attack, then circle again and attack, circle and attack, again and again.   You would think he would either get tired flying that far, or he would get dizzy and crash into a tree or something.  But hell no!  The pissed-off, drunk six-legged little wolf bastard will chase you literally for miles! 

Usually this ends badly . . . either for you or the horse fly!  Sometime you get really luck and manage to connect with a swat and kill the little bastard.  But sometimes all your attention being paid to the attack diverts your attention from where it should be . . . the trail.  The result is a human face plant.  I find that usually this seems to satisfy the horse fly and he'll fly off back to the party, laughing all the way.

One NC horse fly coming back to base ofter a mission.
Most folks in North Carolina don't realize that a significant reason why we have such a real issue with horse flies is our state government.  Working together, Medoc Mountain State Park and Umstead State Park have secured a secret research grant from a little known agency of the CIA to develop a new variety of genetically-engineered horse fly to be used as a biological weapon in the war against terror!

And these two parks then use their trails as testing grounds for these nasty little bastards.  So if you do run trails at either of these parks you will be up against some of the biggest, baddest horse flies known to man!  I've heard rumors of horse flies so big they can actually sink the little claws into your head and fly you away to their hidden lairs to be eaten later!  So be extra careful out there!

That is all.


  1. Ha! DEET is horsefly BBQ! Damn if that isn't true though.

  2. Damn! Frank, I knew it was a conspiracy! I swear the horse flies we see at Umstead have serial numbers on them.



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Littleton, North Carolina
World's Slowest Runner . . . well, at least in contention for the honor. Just your average "below average" runner.