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Friday, June 14, 2024
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Bugged by Bugs!

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I ever tell y’all just how much I hate deer flies? Them, not so tiny, vampiric monsters whose bite feels more like a stab wound from a machete! Well, if I haven’t, let me tell you; I hate deer flies!

I was recently reminded of just how distasteful they are while out over the weekend with my buddy Jason Kilgore from a short ride south and east of Brooksville. We were absolutely swarmed by those winged demons. I got so many bites I may never stop itching. And that may be the worst of it; the sting of the initial assault is one thing, but it can itch for days. A very distracting itch at that, which will have you contorting more than the old Madonna “Vogue” video.

I wasn’t prepared for their highly concentrated offensive, not at all, but truly, of the numbers I did manage to swat, there were a few contenders for the record book if anybody would ever develop a scoring system. I had one particular monster light on my left shoulder and drill into me with what seemed about like a post-hole auger. I started to smack him hard, but hesitated when I spotted his tattoo. But swatted him anyway when I noticed he misspelled “Mom.”

I brought forth such a blow that I bruised my own shoulder and nearly broke three fingers on my right hand from impact with the deer fly’s iron-hard carapace. When I pulled my hand away, he grabbed his crotch, gave me the finger, and flew away, leaving me a bit worse for wear. I hate deer flies!

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While male deer flies collect pollen, female deer flies feed on blood, which they require to produce eggs- no different than mosquitoes. Females are attracted to prey by sight, smell, or the detection of carbon dioxide. When feeding, the females use scissor-like mandibles and maxillae to make a cross-shaped incision and then lap up the blood. Their bite hurts plenty, while anti-coagulants in the saliva of the fly prevent blood from clotting and may cause severe allergic reactions. Parasites and diseases transmitted by the deer fly include tularemia, anthrax, anaplasmosis, equine infectious anemia, hog cholera, and filariasis, according to the CDC.

There are no effective repellents on the market. The best advice is to wear long sleeves and pants and minimize the amount of skin they can reach. And swat like hell!

Any questions or comments about this week’s article, give me a shout at [email protected]. God bless, and good hunting!

Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit is a best selling novelist and professional outdoorsman with thirty-five years of experience guiding and outfitting for big game all across America. Toby is a renowned archer and turkey hunting expert who manufactures custom game calls and is a regular judge at NWTF sanctioned turkey calling events across the Southeast.
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