Proven Tips on how to keep deer flies from biting you

Spending time outdoors is one of life’s simple pleasures – until the pesky deer flies start swarming and biting. These relentless insects can quickly ruin an otherwise enjoyable hike, picnic, or backyard gathering. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of dealing with deer fly bites, you know how frustrating and uncomfortable they can be.

Are you tired of constantly swatting at deer flies and nursing painful bites? Worry not – we’ve got the solutions you need to keep these pests at bay and enjoy your time outside bite-free.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover a range of effective strategies to prevent deer fly bites, from natural repellents and protective clothing to environmental management techniques. By the end, you’ll have all the tools necessary to take back control of your outdoor spaces and reclaim your summer fun.

Understanding Deer Flies

To effectively combat deer flies, it’s important to first understand what they are and where they thrive. Deer flies, also known as horse flies, are a type of biting fly that feeds on the blood of mammals, including humans. They are typically found in wooded, grassy areas near streams, ponds, and other sources of standing water – the perfect breeding grounds for these pests.

Deer flies are easily identifiable by their large, stocky bodies, colored wings, and painful, persistent bites. Unlike mosquitoes, which use a thin, needle-like proboscis to draw blood, deer flies have powerful, saw-like mouthparts that slice through the skin, creating a painful, itchy wound.

What attracts deer flies? Deer flies are attracted to several factors, including carbon dioxide, movement, and dark colors. They are particularly drawn to areas with high concentrations of mammals, such as grazing animals or large gatherings of people.

Natural Deer Fly Repellents

One of the most effective ways to keep deer flies at bay is to use natural repellents. These plant-based solutions are gentle on your skin but powerful enough to deter even the most determined deer fly.

Essential Oils as Repellents

Essential Oils as Repellents for deer fly

Certain essential oils have proven to be excellent natural deer fly repellents. Lemongrass oil, peppermint oil, and citronella oil all contain compounds that are unpalatable to deer flies, causing them to steer clear. Simply mix a few drops of these oils with a carrier oil, such as coconut or jojoba, and apply directly to exposed skin.

Homemade Deer Fly Sprays

home made spry prevent from deer fly

For a more comprehensive solution, consider making your own natural deer fly spray. Combine essential oils, witch hazel, and a bit of water in a spray bottle, and mist it on before heading outdoors. The combination of repellent scents will create an effective barrier against these biting pests.

Deer Fly Repelling Plants
Deer Fly Repelling Plants

Another natural approach is to incorporate plants that are known to deter deer flies into your outdoor spaces. Herbs like lavender, pennyroyal, and marigold can be planted around seating areas, gardens, and paths to help keep the flies at bay.

Protective Clothing and Gear

In addition to natural repellents, wearing the right clothing and gear can also help prevent deer fly bites. Choose light-colored, loose-fitting garments that cover as much exposed skin as possible. Tuck pants into socks and wear a hat or head net to protect your face and neck.

For extra protection, consider investing in specialized deer fly gear, such as face masks or neck gaiters designed to keep the insects at bay. These accessories create a physical barrier, making it much harder for the flies to reach your skin.

Environmental Management

Deer flies thrive in specific environmental conditions, so addressing these factors can be an effective way to reduce their presence around your property.

Eliminating Standing Water

Deer flies lay their eggs in standing water, so removing any potential breeding grounds is crucial. Drain any stagnant puddles, repair leaky faucets, and ensure proper drainage in your yard and garden.

Vegetation Management

Deer flies prefer areas with tall grass, dense vegetation, and shaded, humid environments. Regularly mowing your lawn, trimming back bushes and trees, and clearing away overgrown foliage can make your outdoor spaces less appealing to these pests.

Encouraging Natural Predators

Certain animals, such as birds, bats, and dragonflies, are natural predators of deer flies. Attracting these beneficial creatures to your yard by installing birdhouses, bat houses, or a backyard pond can help reduce the local deer fly population.

Chemical Insect Repellents

While natural solutions are often the preferred approach, there may be times when a more powerful, chemical-based repellent is necessary. DEET-based and picaridin-based repellents are effective against deer flies, providing long-lasting protection.

It’s important to follow the instructions on the product label carefully and reapply as directed, especially after swimming or sweating. These repellents should be used as a last resort, as they can be harsh on the skin and the environment.

Conclusion: Take Back Your Outdoor Spaces

Deer flies can be a persistent and frustrating problem, but with the right strategies, you can reclaim your outdoor spaces and enjoy them bite-free. By incorporating a combination of natural repellents, protective clothing, and environmental management techniques, you’ll be well on your way to keeping these pests at bay.

Remember, the key to effective deer fly control is to be proactive and persistent. Experiment with different methods to find the solutions that work best for your unique outdoor environment and personal preferences. With a little effort, you can say goodbye to those pesky deer flies and hello to carefree summer fun.


  • Faris

    I am the author and owner of, a website where I share my deep passion and extensive knowledge about the fascinating world of insects. As a dedicated entomologist and naturalist, I bring years of hands-on experience studying and observing a diverse array of species, from butterflies and deer flies to cockroaches and beyond. Through this platform, I aim to educate, inspire, and dispel common misconceptions about the vital roles insects play in ecosystems. In addition to curating informative and engaging content for the website, I actively contribute to entomological research and conservation efforts, driven by my lifelong fascination with the remarkable insects that inhabit our world.

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