We all love a heatwave, lying in the sun and getting a tan, but what about the insects that also like the warmer weather?

The horsefly is a nasty insect with a painful bite, so here is some advice if you are bitten by one.

Some people have very dramatic reactions to horsefly bites so it’s best to stay vigilant as the temperature rises.

Here is some advice if you are bitten by one.

What is a horsefly?

You cannot miss a horsefly because they are pretty huge. The females bite animals and humans for their blood.

Your Local Guardian: A horseflyA horsefly

They have razor sharp teeth and you will definitely notice if you are bitten because they are very painful.

What do they look like?

They are large and dark flies around 1 to 2.5cm in size.

They are usually found near cattle, horse stables and woodlands.

Why do horseflies bite?

Much like mosquitoes, female horse flies feed off blood, so they can produce eggs.

Their saw-like teeth slice open skin, while releasing an anti-coagulant to stop the blood from clotting as they eat.

The bites can take longer to heal than a mosquito, as they cut into the skin, rather than just piercing it.

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As the name suggests, these large flies like to feed off horses, so you’ll often find them buzzing around stables and fields.

However, they’ll feed off any large mammal they can access, like cows, dogs and humans.

What happens if I am bitten?

If you are bitten you will probably notice a raised red area of skin around the bite.

You may also experience:

  • a larger red, raised rash (called hives or urticaria)
  • dizziness
  • weakness
  • wheezing
  • part of your body becoming puffy and swollen

You should wash the bite immediately and add a cold compress.

Do not scratch it, instead take the maximum dosage of antihistamine.

For more information on medicine, you should visit your local pharmacist.

What should I do if the symptoms aren’t going away?

Horsefly bites can take a while to heal and can become infected.

See your GP if you have symptoms of an infection, such as pus or increasing pain, redness and swelling.