If there was one thing I hated about living in Florida, it was the abundance of yellow flies that I encountered. I spent plenty of days figuring out how to get rid of yellow flies to avoid those painful bites. Some tactics worked better than others and the below strategies are what I found to keep yellow flies away.
They are found all over the world and not just subject to Florida. That is just where I’ve run into the most yellow flies in my life. Regardless, I want to help you get rid of biting yellow flies so you can go outside without getting bitten!
What Are Yellow Flies?
There are many flies from the Deer Fly/Horse Fly family that are often mixed up and referred to as Yellow flies. To get a little scientific, all horse flies, deer flies, and yellow flies are part of the Tabanidae family. These are all true flies that range in size and some features but share common characteristics, like the painful bites.
They can range in size from 5 to 25 mm and usually have a stumpy body shape and the bright yellow coloring.
Where Do Yellow Flies Live?
Yellow flies live all around the world except in polar regions and some unlucky islands like Hawaii, Greenland, and Iceland. Some of the highest concentrations of yellow flies can be found in warmer tropical areas and more often near water. Adult habitats are wide ranging but and their larvae in shaded areas like:
- Water surface
- Underside of leaves
- Blades of grass
- On stones near water
You’ll often find some of these breeds harassing you on beaches and swamps.
Do All Yellow Flies Bite Humans?
Female yellow flies do bite humans. Both males and female yellow flies feed on nectar, but females also require blood in their diets. They will suck the blood out of animals, including humans, because they are anautogenic insects. Another science word for you! Anatogenic insects are species that require specific meals to be eaten for the eggs to mature during reproduction. In the case of yellow flies, that specific meal is blood.
Yellow flies will bite any animal that they come in contact with, so they don’t have a preference for humans versus other animals like livestock. Also, unlike mosquito whose saliva has a mechanism to keep you from feeling their bite, yellow fly bites are felt almost instantaneously. Humans have the limbs to bat them away quickly, but animals like deer and horse are stuck with the yellow flies until they are fed.
How to Get Rid of Yellow Flies:
These flies are very tough and getting rid of them can be a real hassle. However, during the peak season they become prone to certain pesticides as most of them are hungry and lack energy. Deet (diethyltoluamide) is often the most effective repellent. It is also recommended to wear full clothes and use a repellent to fend these pests off. A few useful tools to help you catch them are listed below:
You might have seen these giant balls hanging in some gardens with flies stuck to them. Well, those weird things are no wrecking balls; rather they are Bug-Balls.
These balls are used to catch flies. They are hanged under tree limbs in a shady area. When the wind blows, these balls move. As a result of this movement, the flies get attracted to it and get stuck to the surface where they can’t escape and eventually die.
This is one of the best products you can buy to help you reduce the yellow fly population in your yard.
DIY Yellow Fly Trap:
If you want to get crafty and trap the flies on your own, here is a do-it-yourself guide to help you make an effective homemade yellow fly trap:
- What you need:
- Engine oil
- A Tray
- A small bucket or plastic planter pot ( Black in color)
- A rope or wire to tie the bucket
- Brush ( for coating the oil)
- Coat the exterior of the bucket with engine oil, but not so much that it is dripping
- Hang the bucket upside down and wait for the flies to get stuck
- That’s it!
Deer Fly Hat
I honestly wouldn’t have believed this worked so well if I didn’t see this video myself. Reading the comments, this looks like a pretty common solution to getting rid of yellow flies in some areas!
The homemade yellow fly hat trap looks like a useful tool if you have no choice but to venture into deer fly territory. I’m assuming you’ll still get bit up a little bit, but this will at least give you a fighting chance.
The good news about this project is it is pretty easy to make. It’s also cheap. And you likely have the materials around or can get them pretty quickly on Amazon.
Yellow Fly Bite Treatment:
The yellow fly bite is painful and it causes an area with itchy-swelling. The following list is the ways you can prevent getting bitten by these flies:
- Use Bug Sprays
- Avoid staying for too long around places with water bodies
If you have been bitten by a yellow fly, you’ll want to clean it with warm soapy water as soon as possible. There will likely be some pain associated with it, which you can help numb with ice. In order to keep itching to a minimum you can try allergy medicines like Benadryl which also can help fight infections.
Yellow flies can sometimes be a vector for diseases, so if you notice any symptoms of any sort in the days following the bites, seek medical attention ASAP.