ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Negative reaction to a Horsefly Bite

Updated on August 9, 2018

Was it a bee or a horsefly?

Recently whilst holidaying in Wales, my family and I visited Zip World at Penrhyn Quarry and whilst watching 4 humans speed overhead on the zip lines I felt a pain in my right upper arm the resembled a needle being stuck into my skin and removed a fraction of a second later.

I immediately smacked my arm in the hope to swat away whatever had bitten/stung me.

There was nothing there, I also heard no buzzing. My mum checked my arm to see if there was a sting in my arm but it was clear.

My arm began to sting and throb and thankfully I have my medical kit in the car, in which I had an after bite ammonia stick. I used this immediately in the hope it would help reduce the pain.

After some googling and looking at pictures of bites and stings, I came to the conclusion that it was in fact a horsefly!

I was wearing a black t shirt when I was bitten and my research suggested that horseflies are attracted to dark colours, this also helped me to draw the conclusion that it was this greedy monster.

10 minutes after the bite

2 holes! It must have bitten me twice
2 holes! It must have bitten me twice


I continued to use the after bite stick for the next few hours. I’m not convinced it made a lot of difference if I’m honest, but until I arrived home later that day I had no other medication.

I take an antihistamine on a daily basis for allergies and on arriving home I took another to attempt to reduce the swelling and the irritation.

Within 4 hours the area around the bite had begin to feel hard and it was like I had received a TB injection, my arm was tingly and appeared heavy.

I continued to take two antihistamines everyday for the next 5 days and applied E45 anti itch cream, which did help to reduce the itching.

I also applied an ice pack to the area a couple of times to try and reduce the heat in the area, this worked temporarily but withing a few minutes of removing the pack my arm was burning again.

After the first two days the area was still hard under the skin, hot to the touch and was incredibly itchy, so much so that it woke me up at 3am and it was agony trying not to scratch it.

I had to go to the kitchen, take an antihistamine and apply huge quantities of E45 before going back to bed and using ALL of my will power to not scratch the bloody thing.

3am scratch fest!
3am scratch fest!

5 days after and it still itches!

So even after 5 days of being bitten my arm still itches, I’m still applying cream 2/3 times a day and the area still feels very hot to the touch.

I suspect whatever it pumped into my arm reacted badly in my system. You can see on the next picture how the bite site is very small but the red patch underneath that looks all lumpy is the effects of the bite which is still really uncomfortable, although not nearly as itchy and uncomfortable as it has been.

Irritated skin, still looking raw
Irritated skin, still looking raw

On the mend

On day 6, although still itchy the redness has reduced. My arm still feels warm on the area underneath the bite and I’m still applying the E45 itch cream, I appear to be healing.

I continued to take additional antihistamine tablets for roughly 2 weeks to help reduce the itching, as I have quite sensitive skin this certainly helped make it more comfortable.

Thankfully my bite is now fully healed, it has taken about 4 weeks and although the area on my arm looked fully healed it was still on occasions quite itchy. Thankfully that has now gone and my arm is back to normal and thankfully there are no lasting visible signs of the bite.

Horseflies are viscous and will attack relentlessly, it appears that insect repellent is not effective either, so the best way to avoid being bitten are to keep as much of your skin hidden by clothing as possible when out of the house walking near to open fields and cattle.

I don’t EVER want to be bitten by another of these greedy monsters again!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • ThatOneTechGuy profile image

      That One Tech Guy 

      14 months ago from Texas

      We have horseflies here too and they are absolutely terrible, sometimes I get bitten when I'm out at the farm and there is almost nothing that hurts worse. I'd rather be stung by a bee or wasp because I have terrible reactions, much like a giant wasp + mosquito bite. Ammonia stick doesn't work I guess because it's not really a poison. However, I have found that Chiggerex (for Chigger bites) works really well. It has Benzocaine in it so it deadens it and reduces pain. As for the swelling, lots and lots of anti-inflammatory pills, so sorry that you had to go through this though!

    • Besarien profile image


      15 months ago from South Florida

      I feel terrible for you and the horses too because they probably get stung and bitten a lot. Glad you are feeling better.

    • greenthummy profile image

      Gene David Pangan 

      16 months ago from W. Australia/Philippines

      wow, that's a scary story you got there. In Asia, there are also lots of these bugs around. When I was visiting my relatives in the Philippines we were in a resort in the middle of a farm and we got into a swimming pool. The water is cold in the afternoon and the weather is fine. Then suddenly as our bodies submerged and only our shoulder and heads above water, these little monsters zip around and trying to bite whatever skin they could land on. My brother got caught up in the neck and he said it was painful. He thought it was a bee. But the next one he caught it, it was a horsefly. A large fly that sucks the blood even of animals and they bite painfully. So be aware when going out on any farm or you get a bad reaction to its bite like your story.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)