If you spend a lot of time in the woods or near water sources, you may have encountered deer flies. These tiny insects are notorious for their painful bites and annoying habits. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what deer flies are, how they behave, and what you can do to protect yourself from their bites.
What is a Deer Fly?
Deer flies are a type of biting fly that is known for their painful bites. These insects are typically found in wooded areas, near streams or other water sources, and in other areas with high humidity. Deer flies are most active during the summer months, when the weather is warm and humid.
Deer flies are small, yellowish-brown flies that range in size from ¼ to 1/3 inch in length. They have large, dark-colored compound eyes and short antennae. The mouthparts of a deer fly are designed for piercing skin and sucking blood, which is how they feed on their hosts.
Deer flies are most active during the day, especially in the morning and late afternoon. They are attracted to movement, heat, and carbon dioxide, which is why they tend to pursue humans and other animals. Once they’ve found a host, deer flies will bite and feed on blood. This can cause pain, swelling, and itching at the site of the bite.
Why Are Deer Flies Such a Pest?
Deer flies are considered a pest because of their painful bites and their tendency to swarm and pursue their hosts. While their bites are not dangerous, they can cause discomfort and irritation, especially if they occur frequently. Additionally, deer flies can transmit diseases from one host to another, although this is relatively rare.
One of the most frustrating things about deer flies is their tendency to swarm and pursue their hosts. This can make it difficult to enjoy outdoor activities and can lead to repeated bites. Deer flies are attracted to movement, so it’s important to stay as still as possible when they are present.
Reactions to Bites
Deer fly bites can be painful and irritating, and can cause swelling and itching at the site of the bite. In some cases, people may experience an allergic reaction to the bite, which can result in more severe symptoms such as hives or difficulty breathing. If you experience a severe reaction to a deer fly bite, seek medical attention immediately.
How Can You Protect Yourself from Deer Flies?
There are several things you can do to protect yourself from deer flies:
- Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and pants.
- Apply insect repellent to exposed areas of skin.
- Avoid wearing bright colors or floral patterns, which can attract deer flies.
- Avoid wearing perfumes or scented lotions, which can also attract deer flies.
- Keep moving! Deer flies are attracted to still targets, so stay on the move to make yourself a less attractive target.
Wearing protective clothing is one of the best ways to prevent deer fly bites. Long-sleeved shirts and pants can help to cover your skin and make it less accessible to the flies. You may also want to wear a hat with a wide brim to protect your face and neck from bites.
Applying insect repellent is another way to protect yourself from deer flies. Look for a product that contains at least 20% DEET, as this will provide the best protection. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying insect repellent.
Avoid Attracting Deer Flies
Avoiding bright colors, perfumes, and lotions can help to make you a less attractive target for deer flies. This means wearing muted colors, avoiding scented products, and keeping the area around you as still as possible to avoid attracting their attention.
What to Do if You Get Bitten
If you do get bitten by a deer fly, there are a few things you can do to help alleviate the symptoms:
- Clean the bite with soap and water.
- Apply a cold compress to help reduce swelling and itching.
- Apply a hydrocortisone cream to the bite to help relieve itching and discomfort.
- If the bite becomes infected or begins to show signs of a severe allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately.
Cleaning the Bite
Cleaning the bite with soap and water can help to remove any dirt or debris that may have entered the wound. This can help to prevent infection and may help to reduce swelling and itching.
Applying a cold compress to the bite can help to reduce swelling and itching. This can be done using a cold pack or a clean, damp washcloth. Apply the compress for 10-15 minutes at a time, several times a day, until the symptoms have subsided.
Hydrocortisone cream can help to relieve itching and discomfort caused by deer fly bites. This cream is available over-the-counter at most drug stores and can be applied directly to the bite.
Deer flies can be an annoying and painful pest, especially for those who spend a lot of time outdoors. By taking the appropriate precautions, however, it’s possible to protect yourself from their bites and enjoy your time in nature.
Questions and Answers
- What are deer flies attracted to? Deer flies are attracted to movement, heat, and carbon dioxide.
- Where are deer flies commonly found? Deer flies are commonly found in wooded areas, near streams or other water sources, and in other areas with high humidity.
- Are deer fly bites dangerous? While deer fly bites are not dangerous, they can cause discomfort and irritation. In rare cases, people may experience an allergic reaction to a deer fly bite, which can be more severe.
- How can I protect myself from deer flies? Ways to protect yourself from deer flies include wearing protective clothing, applying insect repellent, avoiding bright colors and scented products, and keeping moving to avoid attracting their attention.
- What should I do if I get bitten by a deer fly? To alleviate the symptoms of a deer fly bite, clean the bite with soap and water, apply a cold compress, and use a hydrocortisone cream to relieve itching and discomfort.