Deer flies are commonly found throughout most of the United States and are known for their fierce bite and agonizing wounds that can last for days. Deer flies flourish around cattle and love to feed upon the blood of horses, cows, mules, hogs, deer and pretty much any warm blooded mammal. For this reason, they can be a problem for man as well.


Related articles:        BITING FLIES        BLACK FLY        FLEAS        GNATS        HORSE FLIES        MIDGES        MOSQUITOES        NATS        NO-SEEUMS        PUNKIES        STABLE FLIES        THRIPS

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Deer flies are active during the warm summer months. Eggs hatch and thrive around water and moist vegetation where they feed upon anything organic. This feeding can go on a long time compared to most flies and the larval stage may take 1-2 months or as long as 3 years before they pupate into adults. Compared to common filth flies, this is an eternity.



The real problem with deer flies is the adult stage. Once pupae have fully matured and molted to the biting adult fly, they’ll hatch out and seek anything warm blooded on which to feed. Most active during the warmest time of the day, deer flies will find any animal out in the open field, along stream beds or in the yard. When they spot a likely target, they’ll typically fly around a the head first looking for any chance to land and start sucking a warm and nutritious blood meal. Swatting at them might get them to leave but they’re usually quite persistent and will many times return over and over again. At some point their return will go unnoticed. This is when they’ll land and take a bite which in turn can leave a large, swollen hive-like mark that can itch for days.



Sting ReliefIf you’re going afield and expect to encounter deer flies, bring some STING RELIEF SWABS. Bites should be treated with these swabs as soon as possible. Relief Swabs will offer soothing relief to the area and help minimize the impact of nasty deer fly bites.

Sting ReliefBite Swabs:



Deet LotionDeet 100%Deer flies can be repelled with at least two types of repellent. The most commonly used on the skin is deet. We have this formulation in both a straight, 100% DEET strength but for many users, the DEET 20% LOTION works better. Either formulation applied to exposed skin when going afield will help prevent bites from deer flies as well as many other biting pests.

Deet 100%Deet 100%:

Deet LotionDeet 20% Lotion:


Permethrin AerosolYou can also repel deer flies with PERMETHRIN AEROSOL. Simply spray down your clothing the morning of the day you’ll be outside and treatments will usually last 4-8 hours. Another great way to repel deer flies is to wear a hat. Misting any cap or hat with this same permethrin aerosol once or twice a day when outside can really help repel them since they tend to focus on the head area. Permethrin is odorless to people but flies will readily detect it’s presence and hate being around it. And if they do land on treated surfaces, they’ll die.

Permethrin AerosolPermethrin Aerosol:



PermethrinNow if you keep pets or other animals in the yard and find deer flies to be a problem during the summer months, there are two treatment options that can offer relief. The best product for directly protecting the animals is PERMETHRIN 10. This concentrated material is mixed with water and can be sprayed or wiped on animals for long term protection. Permethrin will offer a residual repellency action that will keep biting flies like deer flies away from the treated areas. You should also spray down animal quarters and living areas like kennels, stables, etc. to stave off any other type of biting insect, mosquito or gnat.

PermethrinPermethrin 10:


FogmasterFor large areas like fields and pens, you’ll need to mist the Permethrin using a FOGGING MACHINE. Misting allows the treatment to cover a large area efficiently compared to spraying. But to control the deer flies, you really need to get them where they’re nesting.

FogmasterFM 6208:



EssentriaSince deer flies will lay eggs close to water, it’s hard to treat the standing ponds, streams, rivers and other wetlands they’ll use. Traditional pesticides cannot be used in these areas but recently there was a product granted federal exemption for use in these sensitive areas. Made from food and plant essential oils, ESSENTRIA IC can be safely applied around shrubbery, vegetation and open areas by stagnant pools, marshy areas, ponds and shorelines. Repeat as necessary.

EssentriaEssentria IC3:


Fogmaster 6309Solo BackpackThese treatments should be done with the BACK PACK FOGGER to get the best coverage but if you have a small area, an electric mister can be employed. The FM6309 can handle up to an acre as long as you have a long enough extension cord to reach since they need electricity to operate.

Solo BackpackBack Pack Fogger:

Fogmaster 6309FM6309:


Keep in mind the reason these treatments work so well is because the mist (when applied thoroughly) will permeate and cover dense vegetation. This insures you’ll reach the feeding larval stages which is critical for long term deer fly management. Adult flies will commonly travel 1/2 to 1 full acre to find food so try to reach as large of an area as possible with the Essentria. Expect to use 1-2 gallons of mixed solution per acre; more will be needed if the areas are densely populated with vegetation.



Since deer flies can take years to fully develop, deer fly management and treatments should be done on a regular basis once deer fly season starts. Keep in mind deer fly season will start long before you start seeing adults. Typically the season runs from March to October in the southern states; May to September in the northern regions of the United States. To effectively control deer flies for the long term, you’ll need to start misting before you see them and treat at least once a month during these months. Twice a month is even better and if you also want to reduce or eliminate biting midges, mosquitoes, gnats and other flies, the twice a month routine is the way to go using Essentria or Permethrin.


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Comments on DEER FLY CONTROL Leave a Comment

February 8, 2015

Joe Wulff @ 9:34 am #


A lot of good info on this site. We have a big problem with biting flys in northern wi. I used to use sawyers broad spectrum because worked. Now I can no longer find it. Did they stop making it? If so, why? Is there another product that works as well for flys? Please advise.

February 9, 2015

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