If you have been to the beach recently you likely encountered some pesky black flies on the visit. Many beachgoers in Marco and Naples have noticed the insects, and have questions about the black flies. Why are the flies here, and for how long? What exactly are they?
Staff at the City of Marco Island began receiving complaints regarding swarms of black flies on the beach beginning on January 12, 2017.
There are over 100 species of black flies. City of Marco Island Environmental Specialist Chadd Chustz stated, “We now have empirical evidence that an exceptionally warm November and December, followed by a substantial rainfall is ideal breeding conditions for this particular Simulium species.”
Once the species has been identified, Chustz will follow up with a management control plan for the future. Samples of the flies have been collected and mailed to an entomologist at the University of Florida. Once specimen samples are examined under a microscope, the species can be confirmed, which is necessary in order to develop an effective control management plan.
Chustz said he “was advised that black flies are not known to transmit any human pathogens in Florida at this time and that they are simply a nuisance species in Florida.”
County Commissioner Donna Fiala contacted the Collier County Mosquito Control District to bring it to their attention, and obtain some answers for her constituents.
Mark Clifton Ph.D., Research Entomologist, Collier Mosquito Control District stated that Mosquito Control has been alerted to the presence of these nuisance flies along the beaches of both Marco Island and Naples.
Clifton stated, “Our biologist reached out to the Florida Medical Entomology laboratory in Vero Beach for more specific information about this fly. Apparently, this is a species within a group of black flies, which can temporarily become a nuisance when weather conditions are just right. Although they can bite, they are not known to carry any human diseases in the United States. Like many flies, they can become very numerous for short periods of time.”