Backyard Biology

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deer fly cup

Deer Fly Stick Revisited

Thursday, July 18, 2013

It is that time of year again when a walk outdoors is quickly turned into a torture trek by attacking deer flies. A Nature Activity in September of 2009 talks about a way to control them.
A recent ten minute walk around my house netted me 70 deer flies, so I thought it might be helpful to repost that Nature Activity. If you are bothered by deer flies and what to know what to do about them, read on:

Nothing can ruin a day of nature watching quite like 30 or 40 deer flies buzzing your head, looking for a spot to feed. Unless you have nerves of steel, you spend your time swatting above your head, not really accomplishing much of anything. Don swatting at deerflies imageDeer flies are attracted to motion and height. Whether that is your head or your waving hands is all the same to them. ´┐╝Needless to say, not much nature watching gets done.

The alternative to this is to make a deer fly stick and carry it above your head. This accomplishes three things:

  1. The deer flies are now buzzing the deer fly stick instead of your head.
  2. Since the deer flies get stuck on the deer fly stick, it thins out the deer fly population in that area.
  3. Satisfaction. There is nothing quite so satisfying as to see the little buggers unwittingly meet their doom as they try to make life miserable for you.

With deer fly stick in hand, you can now continue to enjoy Don with deerfly stick imagethe great outdoors.





  • broom handle or other stick
  • plastic cup - blue works best but use anything you have
  • nail and hammer
  • sticky stuff - tanglefoot or fly paper


  1. Nail the cup onto the broom handle, so the cup is upside down.deerfly stick image
  2. Wrap your sticky stuff around the cup. The tanglefoot paper that you wrap around trees to protect them from caterpillars works well. You can also wrap fly paper around the cup. Either way, you might want to wear gloves when you do this since the stuff is very sticky.

    deerfly cup imageI use fly paper since it is very cheap. When the fly paper is completely covered with deer flies I just remove the fly paper and add a new strip to my cup. After a few times of this, the cup is pretty sticky even without the fly paper. What you now have is a well seasoned deer fly stick!