I love living out in the country, amid the forest…
and cute livestock:
But I don’t love the deerfly:
Chances are that if you live anywhere east of the Mississippi, you’ve encountered deerfly…most likely when you suddenly felt a sensation like having a lit cigarette bumped against your bare arm and discovered one of these little horrors lapping up the blood from the hole it just made in your flesh.
A little information about these dreadful creatures:
Deer flies (also known as yellow flies, or stouts in Atlantic Canada) are flies…that can be pests to cattle, horses, and humans. A distinguishing characteristic of a deer fly is patterned gold or green eyes.
Deer flies are a genus of horse-flies (Tabanidae). They are smaller than wasps, and have coloured eyes and dark bands across their wings. While female deer flies feed on blood, males instead collect pollen. When feeding, females use knife-like mandibles and maxillae to make a cross-shaped incision and then lap up the blood. Their bite can be painful, but many bites are not noticed at the time, especially if the victim is distracted. Allergic reaction from the saliva of the fly can result in further discomfort and health concerns. Pain and itch are the most common symptoms, but more significant allergic reactions can develop.
They are often found in damp environments, such as wetlands, bogs, or forests. They lay clusters of shiny black eggs on the leaves of small plants by water. The aquatic larvae feed on small insects and pupate in the mud at the edge of the water. Adults are potential vectors of tularemia, anthrax and loa loa filariasis.
I started noticing these loathsome vermin while I was working in the garden around the beginning of July. Because deerflies range over several miles, trying to get rid of them with chemical sprays is pointless. There are (very expensive) traps like this that you can buy:
But that doesn’t help you if you walk out of range of the trap, as I do every single day when I walk our dogs. I decided to look online for a solution, and I found this guy’s instructable page on how to make a deerfly trap hat. Here are the ones he has made:
The required products are a large blue disposable cup or bowl, some tanglefoot paste, a putty knife, and something to attach the cup or bowl to. Apparently research has shown that deerfly are very attracted to blue. They approach the hat and become stuck to the tanglefoot paste, where they eventually die without ever biting you.
Several commenters on the instructable posted pictures of their own fashionable homemade head gear. I thought the foil tape was an especially nice touch here:
But this other guy’s caught my attention because he used velcro to attach a disposable blue plate to the back of his hat, making it easy to remove and replace as needed: