The Strange Blue Hat

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!


About dirtynailz

Writer for a daily newspaper, gardener, tree hugger, orchid-grower, photographer, animal lover, hiker, wilderness seeker. Proponent of clover in the lawn and a dog on the bed.
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6 Responses to The Strange Blue Hat

  1. Andy Brown says:

    This sounds like an elaborate prank . . . 😉


  2. cj wright says:

    How bizarre is that?! What is tanglefoot and what is a mosquito magnet? We are absolutely over-run with the skeeters right now.


  3. herbdoc says:

    Honest, Andy; no prank involved! Check out the research: or just google RF Mizell deer fly trap and it will come up.
    CJ…Tanglefoot (also Tangletree) protects trees from crawling insects by forming a sticky band around the trunk to prevent the little critters from eating, mating amd laying eggs in the trees you want to protect. I found mine at my favorite site, Amazon. As for the Mosquito Magnet, it has been around now for more than 15 years. Ours is a cordless machine which runs on a propane tank exactly like the one folks use for a gas grill. Octenol, an attractant, lures the mosquitoes into a net and they are unable to escape. It clears about 1 acre of property and I can fully attest to the fact that it keeps my entire backyard and the woods beyond it mosquito free! It uses about a propane tank a month and when we change it out, we put in a new (very tiny) cylinder of octenol. I understand the company makes 3 models now, but we’ve had ours for many years. Great investment!


  4. auntie beak says:

    so you couldn’t get your son to actually pose wearing it, huh? too bad.


  5. herbdoc says:

    I do have a picture of him in the hat on the tractor, AB, but decided to ask DN not to run it….he’d kill me! 🙂


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