How to cope with deerflies


When a deerfly is chasing you around a swimming hole it’s the absolute worst. Their painful bites can ruin a perfect summer day. And while we can’t get rid of them entirely (they must have some useful role in the ecosystem, right?), there are a few ways to minimize how much blood you involuntarily donate.

Wear them out

One of the most effective ways to battle the deer fly is to eliminate exposed skin. Wear light colours, as they’re attracted to dark ones, and keep as much skin covered as possible with long sleeves and long pants. A hat will prevent them from gnawing at your scalp, and if it gets real bad, a head net will completely prevent them from torturing you. Of course, the dilemma is that deer flies like hot, windless days, so wearing all these clothes is a kind of torture in itself. It’s a real catch 22, but covering your skin definitely works.

Put on a patch

While it may not be the most attractive fashion accessory, deer fly patches will keep these pesky little bugs at bay. Simply stick a strip across your hat and voila—you’re bug free. Well, sort of. The patches are basically two-sided tape using the same “technology” as fly-strips, which means you’ll end up with lots of dead flies on top of your head. But a dead fly on your head is better than a live one biting you, right?


As far as repellents go, nothing works quite like DEET. Developed by the US military after their jungle warfare experiences in World War II, this stuff is proven to work.