Warning over deer flies: Here’s how you can protect yourself

Deer flies, or Lipoptena cervi, is a species of biting flies. They are more common in Europe, Siberia and northern China but are present in North America and becoming more common.

They are parasites of elk, deer, and other bovines and latch onto them sucking their blood. But these flies can also bite humans and their bite can cause an allergic reaction and even worse can transfer diseases.

Thankfully these flies don’t usually enter the home as they prefer marshes, woodland homes and streams. But if you are out and about and you feel a bite, treat the affected area by washing with soap and water; you can also apply ice and take an allergy medicine.

Much like the horse fly, the deer fly feeds on the blood of humans and other animals. They come out in warm weather and rely on color, movement or carbon dioxide output to find hosts.

In addition, deer flies occasionally carry diseases like tularemia and can transfer disease to humans through the deer fly’s bite.

The fly has a suction cable with small sharp teeth that allows it to make holes in the skin of animals and humans, then suck their blood.

They can be difficult to remove because as soon as they hit fur or hair they shed their wings and start burrowing.

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Keep away

There are a few things you can do to make you less of a target for these pesky flies.

  • You can wear light-colored clothing as deer flies are attracted to dark colors that are moving.
  • Protect your head with a light-colored baseball cap or other hat, cover as much exposed skin as possible and use an insect repellent containing Deet.

Share this story to warn others to be on their guard and protect themselves if they’re around certain animals and areas so they don’t have to endure a painful bite that could be dangerous.