Deer & Horse Flies

What do deer & horse flies look like?

a deer fly on a persons hand in joliet illinois

Adult deer flies grow to be about 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch in length. They are light brown to gray and sometimes have yellow or black stripping. Deer flies have clear wings with some dark banding or spots on them. Their eyes are brightly colored, and their antennae are longer than their heads. Horse flies are very similar in both appearance and habits. They are larger than deer flies, growing to be between 3/8 to 1-1/8 inches long and are gray or black. The wings usually lack mottled areas but some have wings that are entirely orange-brown or black. Their eyes often have horizontal colored stripes.

Where are deer & horse flies found?

Both deer and horse flies are most active on hot, sunny days when there is little wind present and will most often attack moving dark objects. They are usually found living in areas, like Iowa and Illinois, where there are large populations of animals and are common in both suburban and rural areas, preferring areas that are open, sunny, and close to water. When resting, they can be found on wooded paths and roads. Days that are windy and cold will cause a decrease in activity for both of these pests.

What do deer & horse flies eat?

Male and female deer and horse flies feed on plant pollen and nectar, but the females also require blood meals in order to get the protein they need to make their eggs. Bites from these flies are painful and leave behind large, red, itchy welts. Females find their prey by sensing body odor and the presence of carbon dioxide.

DIY deer & horse fly prevention and control tips

It is important to take steps to help prevent an attack by these flies because their bites are very painful. Deer and horse flies are found living and breeding outdoors, so there is no sure-fire way to completely eliminate them, but the following tips can help to reduce the chances of being bitten by these pests. When spending time outside in areas where deer and horse flies are present, use insect repellents, wear light-colored clothing (they are attracted to dark clothing), and wear a hat to protect your head and neck. To stop the flies from being able to get inside your home, make sure that window and door screens are not torn, caulk gaps found around exterior windows and doors, and  most importantly, try not to leave exterior doors open for long periods of time.

Professional deer & horse fly control

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