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How to Prevent and Treat Deer Fly’s Painful Bites? (Four Methods to Control)

Deer fly chrysops on a white background.

Deer flies belong to the family of Tabanidae. These species are also recognized as stouts, yellow flies or June flies, in Canada. The dangerous deer flies feed on blood meals, but it is not true about the male fly as it does not consume blood. These creatures are mostly found in wet and damp places, such as forests, wetlands or bogs. Predators of these creatures include hornets, wasps, and dragonflies.

【Read more about Flies】

Appearance and Size

  • Adult deer flies are 1/3 inch long fly with bright wings, and dark patches and are one of the dangerous flies that can cause damage to humans and animals as well. Some of the species of dry fly have a gray body, and other have a light brown, yellow and black stripes pattern. They can be flying in your garden, and you can easily spot them because of their large size, colored eyes, and long antennae. The size of their antennas is larger than of head. They are also called large flies because of their large sized body.Deer fly with bright turquoise green eyes isolated on white background.

Lifestyle and Damage

The male deer fly feeds on pollen and fresh nectar of plants. The female deer flies cut the skin of host’s head or neck as their victims are humans, deer, and livestock. Once the blood starting flowing from the injured part of the body, you start feeling intense pain.

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What Attracts Deer Flies?

The top 2 factors that attract the deer flies are explained below:

  • Wetland Environment

Deer flies can mostly be present in wetland environment and damp areas. You can see them near the wet area, marshes, moist soil, and streams near the hot weather of June and July season. It means that they are attracted to livestock located near pond and wetland. The environment and the place help them to suck blood from the skin of sheep and also reproduce in the wetland.

  • Movements of Swimmers

The preference of deer flies is moving hosts rather than the stationary host. If they are interrupted during their process of ingested blood, they will come back with attempts of continuous bites on a warm-blooded mammal. They have stimuli which they use for locating their hosts with warm-blooded bodies, but size, motion, and physical structure of humans and animals are the primary reason of getting attracted to their prey.

General Symptoms of Deer Fly Bites

General symptoms of the deer fly include the following:

  1. Swelling of Eyes and Lips

Once the deer fly has stung the skin of the perpetrator, apart from the painful bite, the common symptom that you can see on the body is swelling of eyes and lip. It could be a little procedure of growing, so the pain will lead to some symptom in the end.

  1. Itchy Red Area and Rash on the Body

Another symptom is the itchy patch area around the wound. The constant process of itching and scratching the wound would lead to secondary bacterial infectivity. Therefore, the victim should clean the infected bite as soon as possible.

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  1. Dizziness or Weakness

A deer fly biting the arm of the photographer.A person can feel weakness and dizziness after they are injured. It is the condition where the person or animal is not able to maintain consciousness. The symptoms of dizziness and weakness disappear once the wound is clean.

  1. Red Bumps or Welts


The red bumps of bites can cause reactions that could be life threatening. Flies inject their anticoagulant saliva which is very dangerous for people who are allergic to compounds made of anticoagulant. It is the saliva that causes swelling around the different parts of the body.

5 Tips to Prevent

Now you will come to know about the top five tips used to prevent the deer fly.

  1. Light Colored Clothing, Neck, Veils, and Hats

You can use the chemical for prevention, but one of the best options is to keep covering your exposed parts of the body so that they could not bite you. The dark colors attract flies so wear light colored clothing in summer that would cover your neck. Wearing hats and veil while going out is also a good choice for staying safe from the bites of deer fly.

  1. Protective Mesh

Some different sizes of protective mesh are available in the market that is for protecting the livestock. If you want your animal to keep serving you for a longer term, then you have to make arrangements of protective nets around their living place.

  1. Guard Against Stagnant Water

Stagnant water produces some insects as well such as mosquitoes. If you don’t want the deer flies to start their production process, then you have to remove the stagnant water from the pots and pounds. Keep the pound clean and cover it with tent or net for increase protective area.

  1. Set up Outdoor Fans

Deer flies do not come in an area that is windy, so another thing that you can do is that you can set electric fans in the area where your animals are living. The air would keep the flies out, and it will keep the animals as well stay in comfort.

  1. Stay Away from Damp Area

Whether it is the garbage or it is animals’ waste, you have to make sure that there is no garbage or trash. Therefore, clean the garbage on a daily basis.

The Best Treatment for Bites

Following simple steps of treating bites would help you reduce itchy sensation immediately. Follow any of the below-mentioned treatment for relief.Disinfecting the arm skin by cotton before giving a injection vaccine.

  • Clean and Disinfected

Washing the infected area with an antiseptic solution would reduce the chances of more infection. Wear medical gloves and take a piece of cotton, dip it into the solution, soak it and clean you are the bite. Gently perform the procedure twice and thrice and do not rub the cloth over the wound.

  • Over the Counter Better-Relief Product

Many people store After Bite creams and calamine lotion that they use once they are bitten by an insect or fly. You can also use hydrocortisone cream on the infected area of bite for decreasing inflammation. Buy some bite relief products and place them on the counter for any attack for deer flies.

  • Apply Ice to the Area

Using ice is one of the traditional ways to relieve the pain. Take a piece of ice and wrap it into a piece of cloth. If you feel cold, then you can remove it from time to time. Repeat the process whenever you feel the irritation again.

  • Red Bumps or Welts

Allergy medicine is also beneficial for the treating the wound. Take Benadryl and apply it on the wound for reducing itching. It would immediately work for preventing infection.

How to Control?

People around the world have adopted many methods to control the Deer fly invasion. We are going to share some of the most popular and effective methods with you.

  • Use Repellent and DEET

Deet is one of the commonly used formulations for controlling deer flies. Some of the people use 100 % DEET while other use lotions on the wound. Applying Deet on the exposed skin would keep the deer and their bites away from you

  • Pinpointing the Source of Infestation

Spraying CO2 chemical on the source of infestation is also a good idea. You can also use magnetic traps or natural traps for catching deer flies. It would only take less time to reduce the number of blood sucking insects through using traps in the yard and near swimming pool.

  • Permethrin-Based Fabric Protectants

Permethrin Aerosol is also efficient, and you can spray it on your clothing while going out. It would last for 4-8, and it will help keep the deer flies away.

  • Contact Local Pest Specialist

You can hire pest specialist if your livestock is in danger of deer flies. They use particular solution and sprays for certain manageable areas. These tools work the best, and you would see immediate control of deer flies from your living area.

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