These inventions are sure to keep the deer flies away

Updated: July 3, 2018

Deer-fly Bruce MacQueen/Shutterstock

Deer fly season: sometimes short, always terrible. “Wearing a hat can help cut down on the ones buzzing around your head,” says Bob Anderson, an entomologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature. But a hat won’t trap these aerial nightmares or drive them away. “Like Ah-nold, they’ll be back,” he says. You must outsmart them. Then you’ll be free to stroll your cottage laneway, picnic at the beach, and shout Terminator quotes right into their buggy faces. Hasta la vista, babies.

Build this: 

Flowerpot Deer Fly Catcher

How does it work? Deer flies aiming for your head get trapped by a coating of sticky compound.

White Lake, Ont., cottager Conrad Grégoire attaches a 30 cm plastic flowerpot to the top of a stick using an eight-cm-long piece of perforated metal strapping and a single wood screw. “I then wrap the inverted pot in cling-type food wrap and ‘paint’ it with a layer of Tanglefoot—from the garden store—diluted with 25 per cent acetone to reduce viscosity,” Conrad explains. “The catcher is meant to be held like an umbrella.”

And the science checks out! “Horseflies and deer flies generally go for the highest point on your body,” says Anderson. “The Tanglefoot is perfect for culling the population.”

Buy this: 

Dragonfly Wingman ($11.99 at getyourbug.com)

How does it work? Deer flies aiming for your head are scared away by a decoy dragonfly.

Blind Bay, Ont., cottager Mike Dunlop tested a prototype of his dragonfly-on-a-wire invention by planting himself in a swarm of deer flies. Within 30 seconds of his donning a hat rigged up with the decoy, the flies were gone. “I thought, Is this for real? Now I don’t even unload my car without wearing one.” His Dragonfly Wingman is for sale in stores and online. “People buy it as a gimmicky thing. They’re amazed it works.”

And the science checks out! “Dragonflies are predators and likely include deer flies in their diets, so it does have a scientific basis,” says Anderson.

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