Heatwave means it’s open season for clegs

What you do not want to find clambering up your pair of specs - a cleg.
What you do not want to find clambering up your pair of specs - a cleg.

The British Pest Control Association is urging people to be “pest aware” following a surge in fly bites from horseflies - or clegs as they’re known in Scotland.

The blood-sucking insects cause a searing pain as they puncture skin - whether animal or human - and are not a minor irritation like midges.

The BPCA has received enquiries from across the country – and says rural areas are more likely to see an increase in numbers due to the presence of livestock.

Standing water in troughs, ponds and marshe provide a food source and an environment where clegs can breed.

Natalie Bungay, BPCA Field Officer, says that while the prolonged soaring temperatures mark a clear change in weather patterns for the UK, it is unclear what has caused the increase in bites.

One theory is that amore people are simply outdoors more than usual, increasing the opportunity for insects to bite and sting.

Ms Bungay said: “After a prolonged period of hot weather, or rather without cold and uncomfortable conditions for invertebrate pests, insect numbers may see an increase and infestations can develop if left alone.

“This, for some invertebrate species, is more likely to be rural locations, which will generally have more available breeding opportunities in ponds, marshes and other types of standing water.

“For blood sucking insects such as horseflies, the countryside also gives access to food sources, mainly cows and horses grazing in fields.

“Horseflies and mosquitos are interesting because they rely on aquatic larvae in wet and marshy areas, which won’t have necessarily dried up yet, even after the last four weeks of hot and dry weather conditions.

“If members of the public do have an issue, we strongly encourage you to contact a BPCA member to get any problems resolved rapidly, and professionally.”

According to BPCA, the top five most common bites and stings are false black widow spider, mosquitos, horse flies (clegs), wasps and horne

Ms Bungay added: “Horsefly bites are particularly painful because their main food source is livestock, which have a limited ability to move the fly away”.

“This is as opposed to mosquitoes, which extract blood through a painless bite.”

BPCA advises the public to be pest aware and on their guard against bites and stings, by taking steps such as removing standing water from the proximity of their homes and areas of the garden used in the summer.

Medical advice should be sought if problems emerge, such as swelling.