Dealing With Deer Flies on the Run: A Bit of Yankee Ingenuity

Adult deer fly, Chrysops callidusImage by Bruce Martin

I’m fairly well convinced at this point that runners will do just about anything to get in their miles. With this in mind, I wanted feature the ingenuity (and perhaps slight insanity, but who am I to talk after running 15 miles last weekend in toe shoes?) of a local New Hampshire running friend.

One of the challenges we face while trail running up here in the summer are deer flies. They’re a major annoyance whenever you enter the woods, and advice on dealing with them ranges from sticking a fern frond in your hat so that it extends vertically from your head (apparently they aim for the highest spot, and you get to look like a crazy person while you run), or the more common advice to simply “run faster.”

Well, my friend Jim just posted a picture on Facebook showing a little contraption that he made to deal with the flies so that he could continue to get in his runs on his favorite trails. He coated a plastic cup with some sticky stuff called Tanglefoot, pinned it to his running hat, and took off through the woods. Here’s what he had to say: “One “trolling deer fly trap” + one slow jog on the local trails = 50+ deer flies, DEAD!!! Silly, fun, and effective. I shall reclaim my beloved trails now, thankyouverymuch.” The photographic evidence is below – I’d love to hear what his wife had to say about this!

About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.

Comments

  1. Bob (Downtown Runner) says:

    I don’t know what kind of flies we have here in NJ but I recently learned something about repelling them. My wife told me she read that you can put one of those fabric softener sheets (like Bounce) that you normally put in the dryer in your pocket. The claim was that they repel mosquitoes and other bugs.

    The week before the walk I scouted out the trail by myself. There were lots of some kind of fly bugging me. This was without any repellent.

    Then, at the actual event, at the same time of day a week later, all 16 of us put a Bounce sheet in our pocket. No one had any problems with any kind of flying critters. It was great.

    But of course, we didn’t get to take any dead bugs home with us on a cute hat……

  2. Provides a yummy snack to boot.

  3. Ken Skier says:

    I love it! But I have 2 questions: Where does one buy this “Tanglefoot”…? And how did your friend attach the cup to his hat?

  4. You’re using my image of a deer fly without proper attribution. Please either attribute the photo within the requirements of the Creative Commons license, or remove it. Thank you,
    Bruce Marlin
    http://www.cirrusimage.com

    • Pete Larson says:

      Sorry – fixed the attribution. The image was served up by the Zemanta plugin
      that interfaces with Blogger, and the attribution that was provided by
      Zemanta was Wikipedia. My error for not looking further into the source.

      Pete

  5. That is hilarious!

  6. Dan (Milan, NH) says:

    Nice hat! I’m also curious to hear what his wife said. I’m pretty sure I know what my 4 year old would say… :)

    I know them too well. We grow them in plenty up here in Milan! Another trick that works (at low speeds) is to run backward and swat. On a 6 mile run in July I made the mistake of taking this one trail/forest road that runs along the side of the Upper Ammonousuc River. It’s a perfect breeding ground. I knew I was in trouble when I heard the familiar buzzing of deer flies. It seemed louder than normal so I turned around and saw a swarm of literally 150 circling my head. I chose Option B: ran faster! One did manage to land on my arm and started chewing under my iPod.
    As if the black flies weren’t bad enough. Ah, summers in New England!

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