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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/tiny flying biting bug


Hello I was working at a cycling event in California, in the eastern sierra at an elevation of 8000" it is an arid area, the two closest towns were Lee Vining and June Lake just to give you a demographic profile. I was at the location for 9 hours working and was bitten all over my body on my head under my hair all over my entire exposed body area by tiny flying insects. Every bite left swollen welts on my body, some of the bites appeared hours after I got home. My eye was bitten and had  so I applied ice to it to relieve the swelling. They did not affect my husband. could you tell me what they were, Thanks


Please read the entire answer here, because I eventually give you a possible suspect "bug;" and believe me when I tell you that I am not insensitive to your experience, unsympathetic to your pain, or trying to be unhelpful, but.....

I explicitly state in my profile "No 'what bit me?' questions, please."  This is why:  Only rarely do I have someone submit an image of the creature they witnessed biting them.  Without evidence of *that* sort, I can't be of much help.  Images of the "bites" themselves are of no help, either, because welts and such can be caused by any number of things other than insects or spiders.  At that point it is a medical question, not an entomology question. the elevation you describe, you were probably attacked by black flies, family Simuliidae.  They are rarely found far from fast-flowing streams, however, because in the larval stage they are aquatic filter-feeders that anchor themselves to submerged stones.  Here's more about black flies:

I do hope you recover quickly, with minimum complications.  


Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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