Deer Flies | Homemade Traps to Get Rid of Deer Flies

Deer flies are bloodsucking insects; they’re harmful pests to humans and cattle also. They are big flies with enormous brightly colored compound eyes.

They are bigger than the common housefly and tinier than the horse-fly. There are almost 250 species of deer in the genus Chrysops. 

What do Deer Flies eat?

Female deer flies are chronic blood-feeders, but the males do not absorb blood. Instead, they exist by feeding on pollen and nectar from plants. Larvae are aquatic and feed mainly on organic debris. Pupae do not feed.

Deer flies are natural predators comprising frogs and toads,  wasps and hornets, spiders, dragonflies, and some bird species.

Where do Deer Flies live?

Deer flies are abundant in damp, wooded, or marshland environments such as marshes, ponds, and streams.

Reproduction & Life Cycle of Deer Flies

Female flies lay batches of 100 to 800 eggs on vegetation that stands over water or wet areas. Larvae hatch and fall below, where they feed on decaying organic matter or small species in the environment.

Larvae acquire through 6-13 larval stages, the mature larvae crawl to drier regions to pupate, and in duration of a few weeks, emerge as adults. Deer flies normally have a one-year life cycle, but some species may attain 2-3 generations per year.

Female deer flies must eat up a blood meal in order to produce fertile fly eggs.

What attracts deer flies?

Deer flies are mostly found around streams, ponds, damp groves, and marshlands. They are also attracted to farms and other properties that house livestock, horses, and distinct animals.

Both females and males feed on plant pollen and nectar. This implies that plants with an ample amount of flowering vegetation could attract deer flies. Deer flies are barely found living inside homes. 

Deer fly bites

The female deer fly bite comprises two pairs of mouth part “blades” that the fly uses to cut the skin. Once the skin is injured, blood starts to flow and the female then uses other mouth part elements to lap up and consume the exposed blood.

Deer flies will feed on a diversity of mammals that include humans, pets, livestock, and deer etc., The insects usually aim at upper parts of host’s body, such as the head or neck.

Also, deer flies like to attack a moving host.

The common signs and symptoms of deer fly bites:

  • Localized symptoms comprising swelling and an itchy red region around the bite.
  • Constant itching and scratching of bite wounds heading to secondary bacterial infections if the bite is not kept tidy and disinfected.
  • Since deer flies vaccinate anticoagulant-containing saliva during blood feeding, some life-threatening severe reactions may arise in people that are highly allergic to the anticoagulant compounds. Symptoms may comprise a rash on the body, wheezing, swelling around the eyes, swelling of the lips, and dizziness or deficiency.

Homemade Traps and Other Ways to Get Rid of Deer Flies

1. Potholder

  • Take a few wooden planks that can be easily extended in front of the lawnmower or across the car hood.
  • Take 4 to 7 nursery containers, and mount them into the wood spacing and set them at equal distance.
  • Coat these pots with the help of a bright-colored wrapping sheet, preferably blue to attract deer flies.
  • Now sprinkle insect trap coating around all containers to capture the deer flies that come near.
  • Make sure that the trap is powerful when it is in action so drive out as many times as possible in order to get rid of deer flies.

2. Hat Trap

Hat Trap

Whenever you work outside or govern yard equipment that is motorized, wear protecting muffs with blue and a solo cup wrapped with the tangled trap sticking tape.

Stick the cup with the help of wire ties through the holes that are drilled above the cup’s edge to the muff’s. Deer flies are persuaded to colorful, large, and dark moving items. 

3. Running Fly Trap

  • Take some fabric loop portions and sew them to the baseball hat.
  • Take blue color plastic sheets of the desired size and cut off them. Attach the fabric hook pieces on the back side of the plates.
  • In front, paint the tangle trap sticky coating.
  • Keep the above object at the place where you find deer flies, you will find flies stuck to the plate.
  • Peel off the plate and discard it along with the flies that get attached to it.

4. Umbrella Trap

Umbrella Trap
  • Take a black and white umbrella. The white and black color of the umbrella attracts deer flies.
  • Clasp blue plastic cups with the help of four twist ties to the umbrella. Keep in mind that the twist ties should be spaced equally around the cup’s rim horizon.
  • Wrap the blue plastic cups with the sandwich bags so that the flies trapped can be easily eliminated.
  • Paint these cups with Tangle trap sticky coating equally and paint the top of the cups. Now rotate the umbrella while rolling.
  • Deer flies will be trapped by sticking to the easy blue plastic cups. Now lift the loose plastic cups, discard the sandwich bags covered over them and eliminate them. 

5. Blackball Trap

Blackball Trap
  • Take a big, tough, and inflatable black ball that gets warm with the sun’s heat.
  • Assuming it is a big lure, deer flies strike it, but in the lack of blood they leave and move up.
  • But the upper portion of the ball is funneled into a plastic container. Deer flies enter the plastic container and die.

6. Essential Oils

Essential Oils

Take 50 to 100 drops of eucalyptus oil and stir it with 1oz of citronella oil or peppermint oil. You can also stir eucalyptus oil with water if a carrier oil is not accessible.

After mixing with the carrier oil, it generates a pleasant smell, acts as a natural pest repellent, and keeps the deer fly away.

You can also wield other essential oils such as Citronella oil, Catnip oil and Lavender oil to get rid of deer flies.

7. Avert Open Water Bodies In Your Areas

Deer fly larvae develop in great populations in humid soil and water bodies. So it is better to avoid open water bodies around your home to get rid of them.

8. Shades

Deer flies do not like places that are covered with shades. They are attracted to places that get abundant sunshine. Plant more trees and shrubs in your yard that grow fast. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to protect deer flies from biting?

  • Wear light-colored clothes. Deer flies generally get attracted to moving dark colors. 
  • Secure your head with a light-colored baseball hat or another cap. 
  • Cover the exposed skin as much as possible.

2. How to get rid of deer flies around the swimming pool?

Option 1

Spray any vegetation or shrubs around the pool with a deer fly insecticide specified for use on plants. 

Option 2

Install a battery-operated fan near the pool. For larger pools, install multiple fans. Deer Flies are mainly active on non windy days, so the wind may help to prevent them.

Option 3

  • Cut a piece of thin wire to a length of 12 inches.
  • Use duct tape to tape a medium-sized black ball to the end of the wire.
  • Tape the other end of the wire to the bottom of a stool.
  • The stool should be at least 2 feet high.
  • Press flypaper onto the bottom of the stool, around the place where the rope is connected. 


Use any of the effective methods and precautionary steps listed above to get rid of deer flies as suitable to your situation and environment.

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