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Not long ago, a study was published that revealed the internet’s most commonly searched household pests in each of the 50 US states. Not surprisingly, the most commonly encountered and annoying pests that exist in America were at the top of the search queries. Despite the fact that both arthropod and vertebrate household pests were included in the study, the vast majority of states had an arthropod as the most searched household pest. Only four states had a vertebrate animal listed as the most searched household pest, and only one single vertebrae pest was represented. This top searched vertebrae is not, as many would expect, the rat; instead, it was mice. Considering that few insect pests establish large populations in the relatively cold climate of the northeast US, it is not necessarily shocking to learn that all four states that had mice as the top searched pest are located in this region. However, Massachusetts was one of the exceptions, as flies are the most commonly searched household pests in the state. This is understandable, as Massachusetts is home to certain fly species that are considered a nuisance as well as a threat to public health within the state.

Greenhead flies are one of the most menacing fly species in Massachusetts. These flies are categorized as horse flies, and they are problematic within the state due to their habit of inflicting painful bites on humans, pets and livestock. Greenhead flies rapidly produce offspring, and they are known for attacking humans and animals in large groups that resemble social insect swarms. These flies propagate within coastal swamps, making large crowds of beachgoers at popular Massachusetts’ beach towns particularly vulnerable to greenhead fly attacks. These flies are economically harmful, as the value of beach real-estate is negatively affected by the mere presence of these aggressive flies on the state’s coast. Although greenhead flies do not transmit disease to humans, their painful bites can cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals, and their large and powerful jaws can remove a chunk of skin, sometimes resulting in the formation of scar tissue.

Have you ever sustained a bite from a greenhead fly?