Ah, summertime. The weather is warm, the flowers are blooming and you want to spend all your spare time enjoying the great outdoors. Then the deer flies come out. If you think mosquitoes are bad, think again. Deer flies will make you welcome mosquitoes with open arms. These evil creatures inhabit lovely woodland areas with plenty of water, like Northern Minnesota. If you’re fortunate enough to have avoided their acquaintance, let me introduce you. Related to the horse fly, they’re smaller and have angled wings that make them look like miniature jet airplanes. They’re the worst kind of devil and they bite!
- Annoying – The first thing you notice about deer flies is that their extremely annoying. Just walk across the lawn and you’ll be surrounded by dozens of them buzzing around your head. Since they’re attracted by motion, swatting at them only attracts more. The faster you move only makes it worse. Running, biking, or riding ATV’s will just lead them on a merry chase that will only end up with more very angry flies ready to attack as soon as you stop.
- Unavoidable – There’s nowhere to hide. If you want to be outside, those deer flies are going to find you. They’ll follow you everywhere until the sun goes down. Even the pouring rain doesn’t seem to deter them.
- Sneaky critters – With extreme self-discipline, you can train yourself to only swat the deer flies that actually land on you, hopefully before they bite. The problem is that they’re very sneaky. They’ll land on your hair or clothes so you can’t feel them, then they crawl over to a hidden spot and bite.
- Bites hurt – Oh, and when they bite, you feel it! Only slightly less painful than a bee sting, a deer fly bite will definitely get your attention. They must have tiny vampire fangs.
- Bites itch – The actual bite is only the beginning of their special brand of torture. That fly bite will instantly swell to an enormous size and itch like crazy. The intense itching continues for hours with little to no relief in sight. Better hope you’re not allergic!
- Swarm – Did I mention that they like to swarm? The more commotion you cause the more deer flies will show up. They must have a secret communication system to call all their friends and relatives. I’ve seen deer come running out of the woods in an absolute frenzy trying to get away from the flies.
- Ruins outdoor activities – All the things you enjoy doing outside are just no fun anymore. Instead of relaxing, gardening becomes torture. Put away the tennis rackets and croquet set. A game of horseshoes becomes downright dangerous. Walking, biking, ATV or horseback riding are no longer worth the effort. The deer flies take all the joy out of the outdoors.
- Hats are mandatory – Hat hair is unavoidable at this point. You wouldn’t dare venture outside without protecting your head, the deer flies favorite target. Adjustable caps with a hole in the back are useless. Be sure to keep a solid, tight fitting hat next to the door.
- Bug spray doesn’t work – Deer flies just laugh at insect repellant. They must have some inbred immunity that other insects don’t have. I think they use bug spray for cocktails or condiments.
- Hostage situation – You soon become a hostage in your own house. Peering out the windows, you long for the time that walking across the lawn is bearable. You shudder at the thought of even venturing near the woods. Those dreadful deer flies!
Sounds pretty dire, doesn’t it? How can anyone live in a deer fly infested area? The good news is that they only stick around for a relatively short time. In my area, six weeks is about the norm and then they gradually disappear. Deer flies are not for wimps, but while they’re here, they do serve a purpose. Birds and dragonflies like them a lot and actually think they’re rather tasty. What’s the one thing I like about deer flies? They keep the riff-raff away.