How to kill a march fly every time (*#&^@!!!!!!)

A large march fly taking a rest at Dinner Plain, Australia. I didn't kill this one.

A large march fly taking a rest at Dinner Plain, Australia. I didn’t kill this one.

Recently I was away at the coast where Australian march flies (or horse-flies as they’re known elsewhere) were making their summertime presence felt. Then we went to the mountains where they were in even greater numbers and double the size of their coastal relatives!

Females of the species must feed on blood in order to reproduce, unfortunately for us (this has a cool name – anautogeny). Their bites hurt and can result in a large painful swelling that lasts days.

March flies are tenacious and will keep on trying. However, if you keep walking so it can’t land eventually it will give up and go away. That said, we can’t be moving all the time so a survival strategy is necessary.

Fortunately for my holiday companions, I have experience dealing with these critters. And now I pass on my skills to you too!

Important to keep in mind

  • These buggers can bite you through your clothes, so covering up totally may not help and is impractical anyway in summer (unless you’ve bought into the hardcore hiker lifestyle of course).
  • March flies make lots of noise on their approach, so you’ll know when one is near and can prepare. They sound sort of like a bee, but not really.
  • Remember to keep an ear out for them, as you won’t feel it on your skin when one lands.
  • Most importantly, a march fly needs to be in a state of total concentration before sucking your blood.

How to kill a march fly every time – step by step

  1. When you hear or see a march fly near you, it’s vital you DO NOT PANIC! Don’t swat at the fly, don’t do a little go-away-nasty-fly-dance. Instead, allow it to land on you. Yes. Land on you.
  2. It will settle on you and start to concentrate deeply, channeling its inner bloodthirstiness.
  3. You now have a window of opportunity while it is concentrating to kill it. Wait two or three seconds after it lands and stops moving, then slap it hard with the flat of your hand! Bingo – dead. Easy. You may need to use some trial and error to establish the ideal wait time – too long and you may feel the start of the sting, too soon and it will scoot away.

Good luck!


(Apologies to the animal lovers out there. I love animals too, but these ones, well it’s them or me and I’d rather it was them thanks.)


2 Responses to “How to kill a march fly every time (*#&^@!!!!!!)”

  1. 1 Too Mutch For Words February 7, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    My partner and I spent time working in the Pilbara region, where the bite of a particular local March Fly causes agonizing swollen lumps the size of golf balls! Sounds like you’ve earned your Aussie experience : )

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