Blandford Fly Bites




Around this time of year, we see a significant increase in patients with bites from the Blandford fly – a bloodsucking black fly, 2 to 3mm in size, which gives a particularly nasty and painful bite.

It can lead to swelling, blistering, joint pain and sometimes a high temperature.

It normally bites ankles and legs, flies low to the ground and is most common during May and June.

If you get bitten, please follow this advice:

  1. Clean the bite area and dry gently
  2. Don’t scratch the bite, as this can lead to infection
  3. Apply a cold compress or calamine lotion
  4. Antihistamine creams are not recommended, as they can sometimes cause skin reactions
  5. Cover large blisters with a dry dressing
  6. If bites are on the lower limbs, there may be swelling of the ankles and feet for several days. Don’t worry about this, simply rest with your feet supported on a stool

You should seek medical advice if you have:

  • Discomfort, swelling or red lines in the groin or armpit
  • A fever
  • A spreading redness or hotness around the bite, which lasts longer than three days

If you do get bitten, it can often feel very uncomfortable with swelling, blistering, joint pain and sometimes a high temperature. However, there’s normally no need to visit a GP or MIU.

If you do feel unwell after a bite, please call NHS 111 or visit your local pharmacy in the first instance for advice on how to ease your discomfort.

For the majority of people, the symptoms will only last a few days before clearing up.

Published: May 2, 2024