Dealing with Deer Flies

For those of you who’ve never had to deal with deer flies, they’re bigger than your average house fly, and are nasty blood sucking insects.  They HAVE TO have a blood meal in order to reproduce.  And their bites seriously hurt.  Closely related to the horse fly, but unlike horse flies, deer flies will buzz your head and shoulders instead of legs and body.  They suck.  Fly predators don’t work on them.  Fly strips don’t work on them.  As far as I can tell their only natural predator is some of the flying insect eating birds.  Most insect repellents don’t do a damn thing to them.

We’ve always had at least a few of them buzzing the property, but this year has been especially bad.  Walk out a door and instantly attract at least a couple.  Wearing a hat, and saturating yourself with a horse & rider horse fly repellent reduces it, but only by some.  It had become very difficult to work in the garden, or even do any yard work due to dealing with them.

So I started digging.  Found THIS, and THIS, and THIS.  And decided I was going to try building a Deer Fly Trap.

We still had the tops that we’d cut off the rain barrels, they’re bright blue.  I can get Tanglefoot easily enough.  So on the 29th I put this up:

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The only thing I had to buy was the Tanglefoot, totally worth trying.

Half an hour later, I stepped out my back door…..and didn’t get buzzed by a deer fly?  Wow, it can’t have started working that quickly, can it?

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Damn, maybe it can……

Picture taken on July 1st:

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They’re definitely only hitting the top of the trap.  Even the few caught on the sides are on the top half.  In addition the trap has only caught a couple non-deer-fly insects, and none of those are bees or other recognizable pollinators, which was my big concern with the concept.  Since putting out the trap the worst we’ve had to deal with is the occasional persistent deer fly.

So yesterday I picked up some bright blue spray paint (maybe a shade darker than the barrel, but it was the closest I could find), and sprayed an orange HD bucket blue.  Today I coated the bottom (now the top of the trap) with Tanglefoot, along with the top several inches of the sides, and put it out.

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A couple hours later and its already collected a good number of deer flies!

4 Comments

  1. Comment by bogie:

    The interwebz is amazing – you can find the answer to almost any problem! Deer flies suck, literally, glad you found a solution!

  2. Comment by threecollie:

    That is absolutely awesome!

    • Comment by Ruth:

      I’m delighted! I really didn’t expect it to work as well as it did. I was just hoping to avoid the swarms…..