Useful Tips for Dog Walking: Biting Insects Life Hacks - Deer Flies

I hate bugs. Well, not all of them, just those who want a piece of my girl [and ourselves]. Around here, that means mostly black flies, mosquitoes, horse flies and deer flies.

Useful Tips for Dog Walking: Biting Insects Life Hacks - Deer Flies
Photo Natural Unseen Hazards Blog

The black fly season wasn't as terrible than last year. But the mosquitoes and deer flies are plentiful and quite rabid I'd say. There is also way more horse flies this year.

It's kind of strange because it's been quite dry. But here the bugs are--everywhere--and they always bring their appetite.

For my own protection, I choose clothing--light-color, loose clothes that cover as much skin as possible. I might look like a nomad, but it works well enough.

Bug repellents?

There might be products to protect from fleas and ticks, but not much has been discovered out against biting flies and mosquitoes that would be effective.

You will find stuff online--we've tried some of the natural formulas-- some might work maybe for a half an hour; kind of. In general, the only sure-fire way to dodge biting flies is to stay hidden from them.

Leash Ninja

For the rest of the time, I use our long leash to keep the deer flies off Cookie, swinging it through the air like a mad woman. It's quite satisfying when I actually give them a solid smack.

It must look ridiculous. And I think I'll have a tennis elbow by the end of the season. But I can't take them getting a piece of my girly.

Those which do manage to land, I catch and squish with my fingers. Yes, it's one of the grossest things you can do to yourself. Until there are too many to handle and we have to bail.

Unlike horse flies, which come from below, deer flies start their attack from the highest point. It is the rationale behind deer fly patches and why they are to be attached to one's hat.

Deer Fly Patches

I already wrote about them a long time ago; it's a great idea. It usually worked great, but this year it seemed to have stopped working. I could go out there, have them buzzing all around and yet come back with none attached to the patch. What is going on?

The stash of the patches we had was from last year. They do come packaged in a plastic sleeve, and I've put them in a ziplock bag on top of that because the glue can dry up.

Perhaps that's what happened? The glue was too dry? I wasn't coming home with an empty patch for the lack of deer flies buzzing around, that's for sure.

Hubby and I analyzed the situation and figured the glue might have dried up and we needed to buy a fresh batch. But then he mentioned something else.

"You always used to catch way fewer flies than I did," he said.

That is true. His patch was always covered by many more flies than mine. Perhaps he just stinks more? He's not that much taller than I ... And then it dawned on me.

Color matters?

As I mentioned above, I opt for light-colored clothes so the bugs can see me less on a bright day. That's the theory, anyway. Which means I also wear a white baseball cap. Would I catch more deer flies were I to wear a black hat?

So I stole hubby's black cap for my experiment.

My freshly-installed deer fly patch after three days wearing a white cap

My freshly-installed deer fly patch after 15 minutes of wearing a black cap

Color matters.

Check out the difference. After three days of wearing a freshly installed patch on my white hat, I got three deer flies. After switching to a black cap, I got quite a crop after 15 minutes hanging out with Cookie.

Everything was the same. Patches from the same package, freshly installed. Same weather conditions. Same places we went to. The same amount of flies buzzing around--trust me, you can hear them well. Plus I saw how many I was shooing off Cookie.

The more flies on my hat, the fewer on my dog.

With my white cap, the flies seemed to all but ignore me, going straight after Cookie. She was the highest moving black mass around. With my black cap, the highest black mass was now my hat.

And I solved the mystery of why I was not getting any crops on my patch. The more flies I get stuck to my hat, the fewer go after Cookie. It's still plenty but less those glued.

One female can lay up to a thousand eggs in each batch. Meaning I might have eradicated up to 17 thousand deer flies just in the next generation in fifteen minutes.

Guess what color cap I'm wearing from now on?

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Deer Fly Patches
Dodging Deer Flies