Deer flies are day biters, produce a painful bite, and frequently draw blood in the process.
Prevention and Protection
Deer fly prevention is difficult and DEET and other insect repellents are not very effective at deterring deer fly bites; however, breeding can be suppressed by removing vegetation around pond edges to inhibit egg laying. To control adults, direct insecticides on shrubbery and other resting sites may help,
Staying away from animal carcasses and or making sure they are properly disposed of, is an excellent way of protecting yourself from disease and deterring flies.
Some fly traps may also assist in catching flies.
Keeping screens closes and in good condition or keeping windows and doors closed will keep flies of all kinds out of your home.
Wearing long sleeved light colored clothing will protect your body from most bites.
Another simple form of personal protection from deer flies is a sticky white patch (Tred-NotR) attached to the back of a hat. This is quite attractive to the flies as they seek out a host and flies are captured on the patch.
DISEASES TRANSMITTED TO HUMANS FROM DEER FLIES
Tularemia is transmitted to humans by the bite of a deer fly or tick or coming into contact with infected animals such as rabbits or prairie dogs.
Symptoms of Tularemia depends greatly on how the bacteria entered the body.
- Ulceroglandular This is the most common form of tularemia and usually occurs following a tick or deer fly bite or after handing of an infected animal. A skin ulcer appears at the site where the bacteria entered the body. The ulcer is accompanied by swelling of regional lymph glands, usually in the armpit or groin.
- Glandular Similar to ulceroglandular tularemia but without an ulcer. Also generally acquired through the bite of an infected tick or deer fly or from handling sick or dead animals.
- Oculoglandular This form occurs when the bacteria enter through the eye. This can occur when a person is butchering an infected animal and touches his or her eyes. Symptoms include irritation and inflammation of the eye and swelling of lymph glands in front of the ear.
- Oropharyngeal This form results from eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Patients with orophyangeal tularemia may have sore throat, mouth ulcers, tonsillitis, and swelling of lymph glands in the neck.
- Pneumonic This is the most serious form of tularemia. Symptoms include cough, chest pain, and difficulty breathing. This form results from breathing dusts or aerosols containing the organism. It can also occur when other forms of tularemia (e.g. ulceroglandular) are left untreated and the bacteria spread through the bloodstream to the lungs.
- Typhoidal This form is characterized by any combination of the general symptoms (without the localizing symptoms of other syndromes)
There is no vaccine for Tularemia. To prevent getting Tularemia, it is recommended to wear long pants, long sleeves and long socks to keep ticks and flies off of your skin. Removing ticks promptly with fine tipped tweezers and wearing gloves when handling animals especially rabbits, prairie dogs and other rodents.