HerbDoc has an interesting – and kind of funny-looking – weapon in the fight against deer and horse flies:
(Do we gardeners hate these insects? Oh yes, we do!)
The deer flies and horseflies have been horrendous this year. We are able to contain the mosquito population with a Mosquito Magnet on our 2 acres of wooded property, but on a sunny, windless day, the deer flies and horseflies were driving us back into the house. Even big doses of insect repellent didn’t seem to work! My son who is highly allergic to the bites went on a mission to find a solution.
Enter Dr. Russell F. Mizell, III, a Professor of Entomology at North Florida Research and Education Center. He found that insects in the genus Chrysops (deer flies) attack people around the head, neck and shoulders and are attracted to movement and the color blue. He advocated attaching a blue drink cup covered with Tanglefoot to a baseball cap. The deer flies are attracted to the moving blue food source and stick themselves to the trap!
Having nothing to lose, my son decided to try the good doctor’s method. A blue throw-away drink cup was attached to a cap with duct tape and covered (don’t get it on your fingers!) with Tanglefoot. He wore the get-up while mowing the lawn on the riding tractor and guess what? It works!
Although Dr. Mizell said that horseflies would not be attracted, we have caught many of them in the hat trap also. It’s far from pretty, but we’ve reduced the biting population to nearly zero. Way to go, Dr. Mizell!