"A How to" on managing Deer Flies AND horseflies...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Keltara, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. Keltara

    Keltara Chillin' With My Peeps

    I got this information from the internet. I figured that since most of us are suffering through excessive heat, and the deer fly population seems to FLOURISH in these conditions, that this would be of help to MANY of us BYC'ers. At the end of this post is a link to user testimonials on this concept. Make sure you read them! [​IMG]

    The Trolling Deer Fly Trap

    Dr. Russell F. Mizell, III, Professor of Entomology
    NFREC-Quincy, 155 Research Road, Quincy, FL 32351


    The Problem: Insects in the horse fly family Tabanidae suck blood and are very important nuisance pests of man and livestock as well as wildlife. As blood suckers their bites can be very painful and when large numbers are present they can be extremely annoying. Some people develop allergic reactions to the bites which often swell and turn into nasty red sores. There are somewhere around 4300 species of Tabanids in the world and over 300 in North America. At least two major groups of Tabanids are commonly recognized by most people: the horse flies and the deer flies - sometimes called "yellow" or "pine" flies. Different deer fly species occur at different times during the year and often are found in high populations in local areas. When this is a back yard or favorite fishing spot, deer flies can become a real problem for people and pets.

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    What The Trap Does: When used properly the deer fly traps discussed here are highly attractive to deer flies or pine flies in the genus Chrysops, which are most of the species that readily attack people. Most deer flies attack people and pets around the head, neck and shoulders. Yellow flies usually attack the legs. The trap does not catch horse flies or yellow flies very often. The trap is effective because the flies respond to the trap's motion, COLOR and size. The trap is covered with a special sticky material which catches the flies when they land.

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    How Do You Make The Trap: What trap you make and the materials you use depends on trap placement and what you wish to do with the trap. Through careful experimentation we have determined that a 6-inch plastic nursery pot painted a bright blue is the optimum size and color. Placed on a rod (as in the figure below) upside down, it will rotate and shake which enhances the trap's attraction to deer flies.

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    Mounted on a vehicle, tractor or front or back (front is best) of a lawnmower or four-wheeler, the 6-inch blue pot will catch large numbers of deer flies. Driving around an area several times slowly (<7mi/hr, we call this "Trolling") will reduce the deer fly populations considerably until new flies arrive.

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    However, if you want to reduce the number of deer flies landing on your body, a smaller trap on your head is more practical (if you don't mind the embarrassment). Except when they are on people, traps only work well if they are in motion.

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    The motion must have angular displacement, i.e. movement through space. Deer flies are mostly ambush predators, they sit and wait for their prey to come to them. Thus, the trap will not work if it sits in one place even if it is rotating or shaking. Traps must be moved through space. Deer flies usually fly at heights lower than 10 feet and usually attack the highest available area on the human body first. Walking with a trap mounted on a pole and shaken overhead can be effective.

    Black and red colored traps will also catch deer flies but in lesser numbers.

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    Clean up: Traps must be covered with a sticky material, Tanglefoot, (available at many garden centers) to catch and remove the flies. Tanglefoot can be a problem to use but can be readily removed with hand cleaners that contain citrus extracts like d-limonene. GoJo Natural Orange Pumice Hand Cleaner works very well.

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    During our experiments we caught thousands of deer flies by trolling traps slowly on vehicles in different habitats'.

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    Truck-mounted apparatus used to develop the Trolling Deer Fly trap.

    Some other important facts about deer fly biology and behavior. Deer flies are active for the most part during daylight hours but a few feed after dark. Some are more active in the morning or evening. Adult deer flies spend a large portion of their time resting on vegetation. Different species are found in different habitats. Adults of some species are found exclusively along hedge rows and edges of woods or in the forests. Other species prefer more open areas with sparse vegetation such as old fields. Adult deer flies are present from early Spring to late Fall but each species has its own period. Adult deer flies are swift, strong fliers and may fly more than a mile from their breeding areas. Most deer flies require a blood meal to develop eggs. However, they also feed on pollen, nectar and perhaps insect excreta, honeydew.

    Eggs of most deer flies are placed on vegetation in moist areas. Most of the immatures or larvae are found in water or wetlands and are predacious on other organisms or eat vegetable matter. Tabanids as a group can mechanically transmit (on their mouthparts) disease organisms such as bacteria, viruses, trypanosomes and rickettsia. They also have their own natural enemies such as dragonflies, wasp, spiders and birds.

    For additional information about deer, yellow and horse flies (distribution, life cycle, description, damage, biological control, management and selected references) see the University of Florida Featured Creatures publication on these flies http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/livestock/deer_fly.htm.

    Read
    user testimonials on this trap concept http://nfrec.ifas.ufl.edu/MizellRF/deer-fly-testimonial.htm.
     
  2. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    Fun facts. Thanks.
     
  3. Lofty Dreams

    Lofty Dreams Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 9, 2010
    Minnesota
    Interesting
     
  4. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    Aug 20, 2010
    Colmesneil,TX
    I love the trap on the hat. I might do that just to make people wonder what the hell I'm doing now. hehehe. Great info! I'm going to try this out, the pot thing I mean. I have access to millions of those pots too!
     
  5. True Grit

    True Grit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Just today I was wondering why there were so many deerflies this year- now I know its the heat! I don't know that I will ever wear the cap trap but it's nice to know there is a solution. [​IMG]
     
  6. patman75

    patman75 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for the info. I'm allergic to deer flies. I swell up like a balloon. I hate them.
     
  7. dretd

    dretd Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2009
    Ft Collins, CO
    I read about this last year and went so far as to get many different blue colored buckets, pails and cups along with tanglefoot. I did not have the success that many have had in the testimonals. Perhaps I am just too juicy for the little buggers [​IMG] Husband refused to wear the hat, the old fuddy duddy.

    Just this morning I went to mow and was bombarded by the deer flies. I re-applied the tanglefoot and held the inverted pail secured on a dowel just over my head as I mowed. In about 45 minutes I got 9 deer flies and probably was bitten by 6 and at least twice that many landed on me I was able to swipe off. Not great, but ok.

    I am thinking that I may try flesh colored next time and see if I have better luck. They sure do land on my face and exposed skin preferentially to my cloths.

    Anyone else give it a try?
     
  8. Rustywreck

    Rustywreck Chillin' With My Peeps

    I read the same stuff about plastic cups and tanglefoot last week and tried it. I have five plastic cups hanging and have only caught 10 deer flies in a weeks time. I catch that many in my hair every time I take the 40 yard walk to my garden, and I don't have that much hair.
    The tanglefoot stuff works to catch them, but attracting them to it is the challenge. I'm thinking of covering a life-sized cutout of me with tanglefoot and a pulley system might be the trick.
     
  9. Keltara

    Keltara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Rick
    In this article I posted, It states that if you just hang the cups, that it will not be effective:
    The motion must have angular displacement, i.e. movement through space. Deer flies are mostly ambush predators, they sit and wait for their prey to come to them. Thus, the trap will not work if it sits in one place even if it is rotating or shaking. Traps must be moved through space. Deer flies usually fly at heights lower than 10 feet and usually attack the highest available area on the human body first. Walking with a trap mounted on a pole and shaken overhead can be effective.

    I'm CERTAIN however, that the life sized "Rick" with the pulley system will be super effective!! [​IMG]
     
  10. Keltara

    Keltara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I haven't tired it myself yet, but I am definitely going to give it a go. I'm going to scour the dollar store for blue bowls as well!!
     

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