Deer flies and their close relatives, the horse fly, feed on the blood of humans and other animals. They are active during the day and are common in the summer months, preferring damp, wooded, and wetland environment. Deer flies look similar to house flies, but have brightly colored eye parts and striped abdomen. They rely on color, movement or carbon dioxide from breath to find a suitable host. Once bare skin is found, they use razor-sharp mandibles (mouthparts) to cut the skin and feed on the blood. Deer and horse flies are a real nuisance as their bite is painful and leaves a nasty mark. If you have a deer fly infestation and want to know how to get rid of deer flies, then read on. Our home remedies for horse and deer flies will keep these critters at bay.
Why are Deer Flies Dangerous?
Bites from deer flies are painful and irritating. They are often followed by redness and swelling. There are no serious side effects, but scratching constantly on the bites may worsen them. This can lead to secondary bacterial infections.
People with certain allergies need to be careful when heading out in summer. Bites from deer flies contain anticoagulant compounds. These compounds can cause serious problems in people with anticoagulant allergy.
There are certain symptoms of such an allergic reaction. Swelling of the face, wheezing, weakness, and nausea are some of them. Deer flies are well-known hosts of tularemia. A filarial parasite that causes Loiasis is also transmitted by deer flies.   
- Use a homemade repellent
Chemical repellents do not work well for deer flies. It is also illegal to use them in some states. So, it is better to make your own repellent. This is one of the easiest home remedies to get rid of deer flies.
For this homemade repellent, all you need is a few ingredients.
You need two ounces of vodka, six ounces of water. You will also need 30 drops of lemongrass essential oil, and 30 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. An 8 ounces spray bottle will be ideal for spraying later.
Add vodka to the essential oils and shake the bottle well. Now add water to the oil and vodka mixture. Shake the bottle again after you add water to it.
Vinegar and witch hazel can also be used in place of vodka.
Make sure to mix the oils and vodka/witch hazel/vinegar before adding water. Or else the oils will not get a blend with the water.
You can spray this mixture on the exposed parts before heading outdoors. This repellent works on horse flies as well. So, if you have both in your garden, this spray will definitely help.
- Construct Shaded Areas
Constructing shaded areas is among the top remedies to get rid of deer flies. Deer flies prefer moisture and woodland environment. Since these flies are not very fond of shaded areas, adding shade in your garden will help.
You can do this step by planting fast-growing trees. It will keep the deer flies away and make your yard more beautiful. Do consult an exterior garden designer if you want to want your garden to look aesthetic.
Another way of doing this is by installing canopies or garden umbrellas. These will also be helpful when you need a shaded area to sit and relax in the summer.
- Avoid Specific Colors
Deer flies have a particular attack strategy. These flies like to attack from the behind. The head and the exposed neck are their favorite parts. They are also more likely to attack people who are wearing specific colors. 
Horse and deer flies are attracted to the different shades of blue. If you are wearing a blue colored shirt, the flies will attack you first. The darker shades of blue are especially liked by deer flies.
You can reduce your chances of getting attack by these flies by avoiding the color blue. It might be extra effort but it is still better than painful and irritating bites.
You can also try wearing a cardigan on top of the shirt or any other garment. The blue color rule also applies to other objects in your garden. More blue colored items mean more deer flies.
This is one of the home remedies to get rid of deer flies that need very less effort. It is simple but effective against deer flies.
- Try a Hat Trap
You can avoid wearing blue color to keep deer flies away. But you can also wear the color blue as a bait to trap them. There are many traps for deer flies most of them are quite hard to set up.
A hat trap is one of the best home remedies to get rid of deer flies. Only two items are needed for it – a blue baseball cap and a sticky insect barrier. You can prepare this trap only a few minutes before going out as well.
Take the blue baseball cap and smear insect barrier all over its surface. An insect barrier is a very sticky substance. People use it at the base of the trees to keep the insects from crawling on the trees. The insects get stuck and are unable to move.
Sticky insect patches can also be purchased
Wear the blue cap before you go out for mowing the lawn or any activity. The blue color will attract deer flies and they will land on the insect barrier.
When you have done your activity, you will see a lot of deer flies stuck on your cap. You can either reuse the cap or throw it away. Make sure you pick off the flies if you reuse it.
- Prepare a Deer Fly Repellent
The homemade repellent mentioned above will keep deer flies away. You can also make a repellent to keep them away from your plants and garden. It is also quick and easy to prepare.
To make this repellent, you will need one cup of lemon scented dish soap from your kitchen. One cup of mint flavored mouthwash, five cups of water, and one cup lemon scented ammonia are also needed.
Combine all these ingredients in a gallon jug. After you have mixed the solution well, add it to a garden sprayer.
Spray the mixture on your plants. The repellent is harmless to the plants but effective in keeping deer flies away. You can also spray the repellent on your grass.
It is one of the most useful home remedies to get rid of deer flies. The remedy has also been observed to work well for other biting insects and pests.
- Limit the Moisture in Your Garden
Deer flies live in moist and swampy areas. This is because the majority of the larvae hatch in water bodies and wet soils.
Limiting moisture in the garden is necessary along with other home remedies to get rid of deer flies. It will stop deer flies from coming to your garden and laying eggs.
Make sure you have a proper drainage system. Do not leave buckets of water outside and cover any pond or pool in your property.
Overwatering your garden can also attract these creatures.
If not, try repositioning them in a way the water is used by the trees or shrubs. Remember to follow these steps especially in June and July. It is the time when deer flies are the most active.
- Trim Tall Grasses and Weeds
Much like horse flies, deer flies can find a suitable breeding ground for weeds and tall grasses. In fact, other insects can also use them as a hiding spot.
Trimming tall grasses and weeds is one of the essential home remedies to get rid of deer flies. It will remove any breeding ground for deer flies and other insects as well.
If you have any ditches in your garden, clear the areas along them. Make sure to trim and keep your garden clean on a regular basis.
- Keep Your Pool Area Clean
Almost all the pests are attracted to trash. This includes common house flies, horse flies, and even deer flies. Pool parties are common during the time deer flies are most active. Many people forget to clear their pool after the party ends.
This can attract deer flies. Do not let the trash from the party stay for longer than 2-3 hours. Deer flies are also drawn by food. So, remember to dispose of the leftover food as well.
Do not forget to cover the pool after cleaning the area. This is one of the must-try home remedies to get rid of deer flies if you have a pond or a pool on your property.
- Burn Citronella Candles and Lamps
Citronella candles and lamps are available at stores. Most of the times, they are used for relaxation purposes. But they can also be useful in getting rid of deer flies.
Burn citronella candles or use lamps around the pool area. You can also try this in sitting spaces in your garden as well as your balcony and porch.
The citrus scents will keep the deer flies away. If they do come close, they will find it hard to attack due to dulled senses.
- Set Up Outdoor Fans
Deer flies have trouble flying in high winds.
So, one of the home remedies to get rid of deer flies is installing electric outdoor fans.
You do not have to keep these fans on all the time. You can set outdoor fans in an area where you sit the most and turn them on when you are there.
It will also help with the hot weather in summer.
- Try Protective Mesh for Animals
Deer flies feed on animal blood as well. If you have livestock, the flies will also attack them. One of the best home remedies to get rid of deer flies is using protective mesh.
It will protect your animals and keep the flies away. There are different sizes of mesh available in the market for guarding livestock. You can set up these protective nets around the living area of your animals.
For pets, you can try spraying the homemade repellent mentioned above on them. Limit your pet’s time outdoors during the months of June and July and do not leave them alone.
- Try wearing covered clothes when going outside to avoid all kinds of insect bites
- Wear light colors as many flies are attracted to dark and bright colors
- Fruity and citrus deodorants may help in keeping pests away
- Try making a shaded area for your livestock
- Do not leave your animals’ water source outside. Install it inside the shed or shaded area.
- Do not leave animal waste on your property. It also attracts insects and flies.