Blood sucking parasites that start with the letter “D”: Deer flies and deer ticks

Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.

The MSUE office in Dickinson County sent in a very nice female deer tick this past week, and on a more personal note, I would like to report that the 2008 deer fly season is well on its way. Those of us who are plagued by deer flies have probably noticed that mosquito repellents don’t seem to work against deer flies. The main reason for this failure is that deer flies do not use scent to find their hosts.

Deerflies use their keen vision and key in on anything that moves. They are among the fastest fliers in the insect world, so somebody who is walking in their yard or jogging down the road, or running full speed for that matter is really no match for a swarm of hungry and determined deer flies. Wearing a hat helps, they seem to be attracted to hair.

Deer fly
A fast flying, DEET ignoring and
painfully biting deer fly.
Photo credit : H. Russell

Deer fly eyes
The eerie (but pretty) eyes of a
deer fly. Photo credit: H. Russell.

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