Swarms of flies worse than ever in outback Australia

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Flies in Outback
The Outback Camel Company says the flies in the Outback have been atrocious so far this year. PIC: Outback Camel Company/ABC

For grey nomads travelling in outback Australia, being harangued by swarms of flies is an occupational hazard. It can make stopping in a remote spot for a quick sandwich or a drink a bit of a nightmare … and so far this year that nightmare has been worse than ever.

Andrew Harper from the Outback Camel Company has been shocked by the number of flies he has seen while travelling through the western Simpson Desert in recent weeks, labelling it the worst he has seen in his 22 years of traversing the Outback.

“The flies have been atrocious to say the least,” Mr Harper told the ABC. “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 in recent trip it had been a must. Along with a mosquito net at night for sleeping.

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

Mr Harper told the ABC that 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.

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

The female flies were looking for protein.

“There are about three females to every male in bush flies and they need protein to reproduce,” he told the ABC. “That’s why they get in your eyes, up your nose, in your mouth and in your ears. It becomes very annoying.”

  • What has been your worst ever encounter with swarms of flies? Comment below.




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3 Responses to Swarms of flies worse than ever in outback Australia

  1. Just got back from a trip through Cunnamulla, Quilpie, Windorah, Longreach to Hughenden – massive numbers of flies, had to purchase a fly net for the first time in 8 years of travelling.

  2. It was worth putting up with the flies to see all the ventures at Winton Qld. Especially the Dinasour tours

  3. i can only agree with the fly problem we recently returned from Longreach and we had a good time but the flies made it very uncomfortable even with fly nets but at least i was not game enough to open my mouth and comment on anything that would upset anyone

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