Deer Fly

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Deer fly definition and description.
Deer flies are also known as yellow flies or Stouts and are a pest to cattle, horses, other warm-blooded animals and humans. Deer flies can be distinguished by their green or gold zig zag patterned eyes. They are slightly larger than houseflies and are yellow or black in colour with stripes on their abdomen along with dark markings, possibly patterns on their wings.
The eggs of deer flies are dark, shiny, spindle shaped and in layered tiers in masses between a few and several hundred laid upon vegetation that overhangs water. Larva that are fully grown are cylindrical in shape while tapered at both ends. They are a whitish or yellowish grey colour with black or brown bands around each body segment. The larvas skin is very leathery and tough and they can grow as long as 2 inches in length and are often used as bait by fishermen.
Deer flies belong to the genius commonly called horseflies.

Life-cycle.
We begin the life cycle with the eggs having been laid over or near water, marshes, stream banks and at the bottom of lakes and ponds on vegetation. The eggs hatch in between 5 and 12 days allowing the larva to drop down and borrow into the moist, wet soil found beneath them. They will also survive if they fall into water, even if it is fast flowing and also dry soil. The larva feed on numerous things such as:
  • other insects.
  • Organic debris.
  • Very small crustaceans.
  • Snails.
  • Earthworms.
  • Other semi aquatic organisms.

The larva survive in winter in muddy soil and pupate in dry soil in late spring. They normally stay as larva for one year, though some species stay in a larval stage for as long as three years. Once they begin to pupate it can take between 6 and 12 days, however this is dependent on the conditions such as temperature and the species its self. Once they reached adulthood, they are very strong fliers and will appear early in the summer. The females will begin to feed on blood where the males will feed on the likes of:

  • flower nectar.
  • Honeydew.
  • Plant juices.
    Other liquids.

For the life-cycle to continue the females must drink blood in order for the eggs to be developed, although it can still take between two months up to 3 years for the cycle to continue depending upon the species and their location.

Deer fly control.
It is very difficult to control deer flies as there are a lot of places they can breed. If marshes and wetlands are drained, it can have a detrimental effect on other wildlife. On the bright side, they have a short season lasting between four and five week in June and July. If you find their season lasts 6 to 8 weeks, it may be as a result of many species living in the same area having different lifespans. Fortunately for people, we are able to use repellents to keep them away from us.

Attraction.
A Deer fly attack is more likely to happen on a warm sunny day when there is little or no wind. They seem to be attracted to moving objects and dark shapes. If there is a small drop in temperature or sudden breeze, the risk of bites is reduced. Deer flies tend to attack humans around the face and neck areas more so than anywhere else with multiple flies attacking.

Prevention.
Using a repellent for protection is very important, especially for people who enjoy hiking, picnics, camping and people who take part in outdoor activities. There are many different types of repellent available so choosing the right one for you is important as some people are allergic to substances such as DEET that can be found in many repellents. Other products are also available such as head nets that keep them away from your face and neck. Area repellents are also available that contain citronella that will repel Deer flies and mosquitoes leaving your patio, tent, yard or cabin Deer fly free.

Bites
Much like other flying insects it's the female that bites as they need protein from the blood to produce eggs. The females use mouthparts that are sharp enough to cut through skin in order to suck on the blood of their victim. Once they have finished feeding, they fly away, leaving a droplet of blood that can attract other insects and cause more problems. Deer flies are a problem as they carry diseases such as anthrax, equine infectious anaemia, tularemia, anaplasmosis, hog cholera, etc. They have also been suspected of being able to transmit Lyme disease. The most likely places to get bitten by deer flies are by streams, along summer beaches and in and around moist wooded areas. Once bitten some people may experience more harsh side effects such as high fever, severe lesions and become physically impaired. The symptoms are caused by an allergic reaction due to the haemorrhagic saliva of the Deer fly that it produces to prevent the blood from clotting while it feeds. Sensitivity from bites can increase in a person if they are bitten very often.

Facts and interesting information about Deer Fly. Things you should know about Deer Fly and the problems they may cause. How to prevent Deer Fly from being a problem to you and your family. Hints and tips on how to prevent Deer Fly from being a problem. Pest control and prevention is very important with flying insects as it is easy for them to get to you, make sure you take the correct actions to keep your self and loved ones safe.

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