One of my projects this past week has involved spending long hours in the woods, contributing to the health of the natural world by feeding Anopheles quadrimaculatus, our unofficial state bird. But one critter I find even more annoying is the deer fly, a small biting fly shaped like (and flying like) an F-15 fighter.
Earlier this summer Presurfer featured a cap with adhesive patches designed to catch the flies. The manufacturer claims that the patches attract deer flies, but my experience is that deer flies simply attack a person's head regardless of any substance present there. I had thought it would be reasonable to just take a regular baseball cap and attach some double-sided tape to see what happens, and wondered if any readers of TYWKIWDBI have tried such.
But while researching this blogpost today, I encountered an apparently better solution at an excellent resource by a Florida professor of entomology. He notes that blue cylinders (inverted cups, for example) coated with sticky material and attached to slow moving objects such as a lawnmower will catch large numbers of deer flies.
"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.We have blue plastic cups at our house. If something like this will get rid of deer flies, I have no qualms about looking ridiculous. I'll try to test this later in the summer and will report the results here. If anyone else has experience in this regard, please post a comment.
Black and red colored traps will also catch deer flies but in lesser numbers."
Reposted from 2009 to offer an addendum and update. I never did test out the sticky blue cups that summer, but this summer the post received a comment from UmbrellaGirl, who has a blog devoted specifically to this topic. At her appropriately-titled Trapping Deer Flies in Livingston, Michigan blog, she has two articles. The most recent provides data on the trapping of nearly 10,000 deer flies in the month of June !
More importantly, she provides detailed instructions on how to construct a deer fly-trapping umbrella:
and shows the impressive results of a stroll around her property:
What a wonderfully informative and practical blog. Now I just have to find some Tanglefoot.