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Fly infestation captured on Simpson Desert cameleer's video creates social media buzz

Katrina Beavan, Wednesday May 16, 2018 - 06:24 EST
ABC image
Cameleer Andrew Harper says thankfully most of the camels are not bothered by the flies. - ABC

In outback Australia it is not unusual to have large amounts of flies buzzing around, especially when travelling in remote areas.

But a recent video taken in the Simpson Desert has highlighted how bad the insects have been as of late.

When Andrew Harper from the Outback Camel Company was travelling through the western Simpson Desert in the last couple of weeks the number of flies he saw shocked him.

The cameleer said he had never seen the flies this bad in his 22 years traversing the outback, which is why he subsequently took a video of them, racking-up hundreds of thousands of views on social media.

"The flies have been atrocious to say the least," Mr Harper said.

"We all had fly nets on and we stopped for a break. I was looking back at my lead camel and her saddle and the front of the saddle. Right across both sides was just black.

"There must have been hundreds of thousands of them. Worst I've ever seen for bush flies at this time of year."

Mr Harper said he never usually wears a fly net, but this trip it was a must. Along with a mosquito net at night for sleeping too.

"We would time it in the morning, about half an hour before sunrise. The swarm would arrive and on go the fly veils."

Mr Harper said naturally he, and the rest of the crew, swallowed quite a few flies, whereas the camels were not too bothered by the influx.

Where do the flies come from?

Mr Harper said the flies were high in numbers because of recent rainfall and high temperatures.

"We had good rain up here in March and we're working on a desert fringe cattle station at the moment," he said.

"So the cattle follow the feed, the flies follow the cattle, and of course flies need cattle poo.

"With the extended warmer temperatures their life cycle is thriving."

Mr Harper said the flies live for about a month and they were looking for moisture.

The female flies were looking for protein.

"There's about three females to every male in bush flies and they need protein to reproduce," he said.

"That's why they get in your eyes, up your nose, in your mouth and in your ears. It becomes very annoying."

Thankfully Mr Harper said there should be less flies on his next trip with the cooler weather starting to drive them away.

"We just need one or two more frosts and that'll be it," he said.


© ABC 2018

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