Horse flies, known in German as "Bremsen"

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This is my fourth summer here, and I haven't had a problem with horse flies in any other year, but this year I've had a number of bad incidents.

 

For those who don't know, these "Bremsen" are the nastiest insect known to man. I'm from Australia, where everyone goes on about dangerous insects and snakes but I would trade all that dangerous stuff for the simple Bremsen. Leo says that a Bremse is a Horse Fly, but these bastards don't look like the horse flies that I am used to, hence I will keep referring to them as Bremsen, because these are like Horse Flies on drugs. See the picture for what I'm talking about.

 

My first incident ever was this year in June. I was out in Feldmoching, near the lake, and got bitten on the arm. I've never seen anything like it. It itched like hell, and swelled up in a hard lump. I actually went to the doctor about it, because there was at one point a ring around it and I thought I might have got done by a tick, which are known to be problems here. She just told me it was a Bremse bite.

 

Anyway, a few weeks ago I went up to fly a model plane with a friend on the Panzerweise. There is lots of long grass up there, and I was running through it just in flip-flops and shorts, which was probably a bad move. This time I got done bad. I had about 15 bites. These ones itched even more than the first one, and they would break open and seep, and the area around the bite (maybe 3-4cm radius from it) became really hard and swollen. This continued for about a week. 4 weeks later, I can still see the remnants of a few of these bites and they still itch a bit. I've never seen anything like it.

 

The icing on the cake happened on Saturday. I was on the old airport runway near Unterhaching, again flying a model plane and got done again. This place isn't even so rural! I got done once of the ankle, which was noticed by the missus because she saw blood dripping down my leg. Towards the end of the session, I felt my head starting to itch. I didn't think much of it till the next morning (as usually happens, they normally get worse and worse for about 4 days before starting to get better), at which point I realised that these fuckers had somehow bitten me on my scalp! I have thick hair too. They got my twice at the front, about 5cm into the hairline and once on top. As a result I have a killer headache, and my forehead is swollen like hell.

 

I thought maybe I have an allergic reaction to them, but upon further research, this is just normal.

 

I don't want to hear anything from German's about creepy crawlies in Australia. They have something 10 times worse than anything Australia produces, and it's name is the Bremse.

 

What I find strange is that it's my forth summer and this is the first time I have experienced this. Anyone else having a particularly bad summer in this regard?

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The proper name is actually a "Dasselfliege" not a Bremse, that is just colloquial. The horse fly is a species of one of the three "Dassel" taxa. The nasty that bit you may have been a Dassel but also may not have been a horse fly which is why it might have looked different than you are used to.

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Yeah, I get bitten by the things quite a lot when I'm out with the dogs - they always seem to hang around in certain cool, shady, damp spots. Luckily I don't seem to get any bad reactions to the bites.

 

But I wouldn't say they're any worse than the marsh flies back in Oz... They're not particularly light-footed - if you're on the look-out for them you'll usually feel them land before they bite. And they're slow, so swatting them is pretty easy.

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March flies are also "Dasselfliege". Not sure what the English for "Dasselfliege" is, though. I think people generally call all of them by the species they are most familiar with like horse flies, deer flies, march flies etc.

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I got one on my calf this year while hiking out in Bad Gastein.

At it's worst the bite got to be about 12 cm in diameter and the entire area was rock hard. Lasted about a week.

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about 12 cm in diameter and the entire area was rock hard. Lasted about a week.

Is this Bavarian Fly? Or Bio-Viagra?

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I got one on my shoulder this summer. I looked like Quasimodo for a week. Was cooking hot to the touch and as hard as bone.

Bastard things. I'm sure I saw the little thug flying away with his hoodie up, tucking away his blade.

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I got three in one month and it got bigger every time. Sunday Aug. 30 got one on my right arm and was krankgeschrieben for three days -- Mausverbot.

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Wonder if anyone else thinks the bites are getting worse? I had quite a few when I was a kid, and while they were quite painful I do not remeber my entire arm swelling or the lump lasting for a whole week?

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All I know is that I can't remember any insect bite worse than this. I would much prefer to be bitten by a bee or wasp, by a long shot. They sting like hell when they bite, but a couple of hours later, they're nothing worse than a mozzie bite. These Bremse bites make you suffer for weeks and the fuckers seem to be literally everywhere here this summer.

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I got stung by a wasp once and was surprised at how little it actually hurt. I lay down on the sofa without a shirt on and felt what I thought was pin prick. I sat up and looked for the offending pin only to discover a wasp. It itched a little but it certainly wasn't anywhere near at irritating as some of the horse fly bites you can get.

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Hutcho, the first thing to do is stop flying model airplanes; they seem to attract these buggers.

The effects of such stings have been the same for the last 30 years, the flies aren't getting more aggressive or poisonous. I recall one terrible muggy Saturday evening when I swam through the Happinger See (around Rosenheim) and encountered a school of very dead fish. So quick as a flash I exited the lake to walk back to my friends only to be eaten alive by Bremsen.

That's that last time I swam in that lake, the mere thought of the flies and/or fish makes my flesh crawl.

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Is it possible that as adults our immune systems are less efficient which make the bites worse or at least last longer than when we were kids? I also remember being bit by Canadian horseflies at our cabin as a child and them not being nearly as bad. Could just be my imagination.

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Hutcho, the first thing to do is stop flying model airplanes; they seem to attract these buggers.

There could be some truth in this - I used to fly R/C model aircraft whilst in UK & these flies were a pest.

 

However, upgrading to the full-sized but engineless things doesn't help either. The Bremsen were a real pest whilst we were on the schwäbische Alb end July/early August but since being back oop North I havn't seen any (too cold maybe...)

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... and encountered a school of very dead fish.

Quite impressive then that they were still able to swim in formation.

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Is it possible that as adults our immune systems are less efficient which make the bites worse or at least last longer than when we were kids?

1) those minor nuisances are easy to forget

2) for kids life is a lot more exciting, no time to whine about insect bites...

3) ... other than adults, who sit in an office, bored to death, spending their time on TT, instead of working. ;)

 

Of course No.2 only applies to kids that actually leave the house and put themselves in a position where they could get bitten by horseflies.

 

I do remember though, that when I was a kid, we started to visit a lake in Pulling that was basically a water filled gravel-pit in a dusty wasteland, instead of some much nicer and closer locations, because there were no plants and no horseflies.

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