Deer flies are unpleasant pests that can transmit several nasty diseases. If you’ve noticed some around your property, consider getting deer fly traps. While these species won’t attack your plants, they will definitely attack you!
What are Deer Flies?
However, deer flies will also bite humans if given the chance. Deer flies are attracted to movement and heat, so they are often drawn to people in the wild or who are active outdoors.
Dragonflies, wasps, spiders, and birds are some of their natural predators, along with frogs, toads, dragonflies, spiders, hornets, and other species.
Additional Information: Life Cycle of Deer Flies
Anyone who’s ever been outside in the summer knows that deer flies can be a real nuisance. But what exactly are these pesky insects, and where do they come from?
Deer flies are members of the family Tabanidae, and they generally have a one year life cycle.
Deer fly females require a blood meal in order to lay eggs, and after a few weeks of development, the larvae hatch and fall below, where they feed on decaying organic matter or small organisms.
The larvae then develop through 6-13 larval stages before crawling to drier areas to pupate. In a matter of weeks, these larvae emerge as adults.
When not flying to locate a host, adults rest on shrubbery or tall grass. So next time you’re swatting away deer flies, remember that they’re just trying to get by like the rest of us!
Deer Fly Bites: Are They Deadly?
While deer flies do suck blood, they don’t transmit diseases like mosquitoes can. However, their bites can still be quite painful. deer flies tend to be most active during the summer months, when they can be found buzzing around picnics and outdoor events.
Their bites are painful because they are blood suckers, and they may be very annoying when there are a lot of them. The bites can cause allergic reactions in certain people, causing the bites to grow and transform into painful red blisters.
If you spot a deer fly, your best bet is to try to avoid it. But if one does manage to bite you, don’t worry – it’ll eventually go away. Of course you might have allergic reactions to it. Just remember to put ice on the bite and try not to scratch it!
The Feeding Behavior of Deer Flies
If you’ve ever been bitten by a deer fly, you know how annoying they can be. And if you think one bite is bad, just wait until you hear about their feeding behavior.
Unlike other insects, which will take a few sips of blood and then move on, deer fly females will continue to return to a host and bite repeatedly if their feeding behavior is interrupted for some reason.
So what’s the deal with these insects?
Much like mosquitoes, the stimuli used to locate a host involves carbon dioxide given off by warm-blooded animals plus visual cues such as motion, size, shape and dark color.
However, carbon dioxide isn’t the only thing that attracts deer flies – they’re also attracted to the smell of animals, particularly livestock. This is because the genus Chrysops, which includes most deer fly species, feeds primarily on horse blood.
So if you’re looking to avoid these pesky species, it might be best to stay away from farms and other areas where livestock are present. As part of their biology and behavior, they are most active during the day.
Bitten? Here’s How You Deal with Deer Fly Bites
If you find yourself being bitten by a deer fly, there are a few things you can do to help alleviate the pain.
- First, try to avoid swatting at the deer fly. This will only make it more agitated and increase the chances of being bitten again.
- Second, use a cold compress to reduce swelling and itching.
- Finally, try to stay calm and avoid sudden movements, as this will only attract more deer flies.
By following these simple steps, you can help to make your encounter with deer flies a little less painful.
Are Horse Flies The Same as Deer Flies?
Deer flies and horse flies are both common summer pests that can be found in the wild, near wooded areas, or bodies of water. While they may look similar at first glance, there are a few key ways to tell them apart.
For one, deer flies are generally smaller than horse flies. Additionally, deer flies have clear wings and dark stripes on their legs, while horse flies do not. Finally, deer flies typically bite humans around the head or neck, while horse flies tend to bite the legs or arms.
While both deer flies and horse flies can be annoying, knowing how to tell them apart can help you avoid their bites!
Are Deer Flies and Yellow Flies The Same?
Deer flies and yellow flies all have something in common: they love nothing more than to pester humans! But what’s the difference between these two winged pests?
The yellow fly and the deer fly are two different species of fly that look very similar to one another. Both flies are yellow to black, have stripes on the abdomen, and have dark patches on their wings. And deer flies are slightly larger, ranging in size from 1/3″ to 4/10″.
What’s the main difference?
The main difference between the two species is that deer flies have dark purple-black eyes with florescent green lines, while yellow flies do not. Both deerflies and yellow flies are capable of biting humans and animals in order to get a blood meal.
In general, deerflies are more aggressive than yellow flies and are more likely to bite. However, both deerflies and yellow flies can be found near bodies of water where they breed.
When outdoors, it is important to be aware of both deerflies and yellow flies in order to avoid being bitten. Deer flies will leave a sticky mess on your skin when they bite, while yellow flies don’t.
Getting Rid of Biting Flies
I’ve been through this struggle before, and I tried many solutions to controlling deer flies. In this article, I’m sharing with you the best of these solutions.
This concept is what we’re using to make our traps. However, I understand that not all people like DIYs, so I listed options that you can buy as well.
Repellents Don’t Work
As any hiker knows, walking in the woods can be a troubling experience if you’re not properly prepared.
You might not think twice about lacing up your hiking boots and heading out for a leisurely stroll in the woods, but if you’re not careful, you could end up being terrorized by a swarm of deer flies.
These pesky insects are attracted to any movement, making them a real nuisance for anyone who enjoys spending time outdoors. And unfortunately, mosquito repellents don’t seem to work against them.
The Fastest Fliers
The main reason for this failure is that tabanids do not use scent to find their hosts. They use their keen vision and key in on anything that moves.
They are among the fastest fliers in the insect world, so somebody who is walking in their yard or jogging down the road, or running full speed for that matter, is really no match for a swarm of hungry and determined deer flies.
Wearing a hat definitely helps, they seem to be attracted to hair. So if you’re planning on spending any time outdoors this summer, be sure to pack a hat – and maybe some lunch meat too, just in case.
Deer Fly Homemade or DIY Traps
Deer flies can be a real pain, especially when you’re trying to enjoy a nice summer day outdoors. If you’re looking for a way to get rid of deer flies, one option is to make a trap to protect yourself and your home from deer flies.
Bright Blue Traps
What trap you make and the materials you use depends on trap placement and what you wish to do with the trap. Through careful experimentation we have determined that a 6-inch plastic nursery pot painted a bright blue is the optimum size and color.
The blue attracts deer flies, and the small diameter of the pot prevents them from escape. To make the trap even more effective, you can add some sticky stuff to the inside of the pot. This will ensure that deer flies get caught and can’t escape.
Black and Red Traps
Black and red colored traps will catch deer flies, but they will be less effective than other colors. However, it’s important to make sure that the traps are covered with a sticky material, such as Tanglefoot, which you can get at most garden centers.
This will help to catch and remove the flies. Tanglefoot can be difficult to use, but it’s much better than being bitten by deer flies all day long! If you’d prefer not to use chemicals, there are also hand cleaners that contain citrus extracts like d-limonene.
These can be effective in repelling deer flies without the use of harsh chemicals.
Self-Protection From Deer Flies
Deer flies like to attack any moving thing, including you. So they’ll attack the highest point on your body, which is your head; therefore, it is important that you protect your head when these flies are around.
They are ambush predators that would very happily bite you on the back of the head. So, we’re going to make a trap that you can wear while working in your garden to protect you from these nasty pests.
Knowing that deer flies like the color blue, we’re going to use that in our favor. There are two DIY projects we can do for self-protection against deer flies. Let’s call the first one the cap trap and the second the helmet trap.
The Baseball Cap Catch Trap
Here’s what you need for this project:
- Blue plastic cups
- An old baseball cap or hat
- Tanglefoot Tangle-Trap Sticky Coating
- A needle and a thread or a stapler
- A brush or a wooden waxing stick
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First, attach a blue cup to your cap. You can do this using a needle and a thread or by using a stapler. I recommend threading it to be more secure on your hat.
Now, it’s time to put the Tanglefoot Tangle Trap Sticky Coating on the cup. Keep in mind, this thing is super sticky and will stick to you. So, put on disposable gloves.
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Make sure to have a brush or waxing stick to apply the sticky coating with. You don’t need a thick layer. The flies will stick to it anyway.
Once you’re done, you’ll be ready to go out and do your work in the garden or the farm without being bothered by deer flies. The flies will get stuck to the blue cup and won’t bite you while wearing this cap trap.
The Helmet Trap
The previous trap can make you look a bit ridiculous. However, it’s quite effective. If you don’t want to wear a blue cup on your head, then this project is for you.
This trap needs more work than the previous one, but it’s not too hard. Here’s what you need:
- A blue plastic helmet
- Tanglefoot Tangle-Trap Sticky Coating
- A heat gun or a blow dryer
- A piece of steel rod
- A brush or a wooden waxing stick
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You need to heat the back of the helmet first with your heat gun or a blow dryer. If you’re using a blow dryer, make sure to use the high heat setting.
The goal here is to warm the back of the helmet so that you can make some indentations with the steel rod. This will make the Tanglefoot sticky coating stick to the helmet without falling on your neck.
Once you notice that the back of the helmet is warmed up, turn off the heat gun and create indentations with the steel rod. Also, warm the back of the brim and bend it up. Again, this will prevent the Tanglefoot from sliding off the helmet and creating a puddle on your neck.
With a brush or a wooden waxing stick, apply the Tanglefoot on the back of the helmet where you created the indentations. Now, you’re ready to wear it and go out to the garden.
Blue Helmet vs Blue Cup
I prefer the blue helmet as it doesn’t look as silly as the blue cup. But the hat trap is way faster and easier to make. When the flies come near you or find access to you, they will get stuck in your trap.
If you’re wondering about the effectiveness of these head-traps, you will find that they work remarkably well.
A Scarecrow-Like Hanging Trap
We already mentioned that deer flies are attracted to tall, moving objects and the color blue. Let’s provide you with more options. So, we’re going to make a scarecrow-like hanging trap for those annoying flies.
We’re going to use the fundamental materials we always use for the traps besides a couple of new things:
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- A plant support cage
- A large Black plastic yard bag
- Duct Tape
- Twine string
To create the shape of the scarecrow, you need to bend the three upright wires of the plant support cage and bring them together to create “shoulders.” Don’t forget to create a loop with an end of one of the wires to attach the twine string.
Seal the Bag
Now, put the modified plant support cage inside the plastic yard bag. Cover and seal the bag from below with duct tape. Then, make a hole in the blue cup or the helmet that you’ll use for the trap.
Apply the Tanglefoot
Here comes the usual step. Apply the Tanglefoot on the blue cup or the helmet. Attach the twine string to the loop in the wired body. Then, pass the other end of the string through the hole in the helmet or the cup.
The cup or the helmet should be facing upside down on the wired body. For more security, put duct tape around the loop of the wired body so the yard bag won’t tear away.
Make sure that the string is long enough to hang the trap where the most deer flies are. This hanging trap might be on the expensive side, but it’s worth it. It will stay in your backyard for quite a long time, protecting you from the annoying deer flies.
Deer Fly Traps – Bought Options
If you’re not a fan of DIY head-fly trap projects, then this section of the article is for you. Fortunately, you can find inexpensive and effective traps in the market. Several store-bought options are effective as well:
TredNot Deer Fly Patch
TredNot Deer Fly Patch can be used instead of the blue cup or helmet. All you need to do is to stick the patch to your hat or cap, and it should do the job. Make sure to follow the instructions well to avoid ruining your hat.
- Stops biting deerflies, sheepflies, marshflies
- No chemicals, no odor, safe to use
- More effective than conventional, spray-on repellents
Horse Pal Fly Trap
The Horse Pal Fly Trap is an alternative for the hanging trap we DIYed. This works for horse and deer flies. This product is quite expensive, but it’s effective and won’t need any maintenance, except the occasional removal of the dead flies.
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You’ll need to inflate the Bug Ball first before hanging it with the included rope or a shepherd’s hook. Then, apply the Catch EM’ liquid all over the ball. Don’t worry. It’s included too.
Deer Fly Traps – Final Thoughts
If you are still having problems with deer flies, you might want to consider scheduling a visit with the professionals. Perhaps, they can help you search for these pests and provide the relevant services to help you get rid of them.
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