Saturday, August 11, 2007

Deer Fly Repellent

Summertime running brings out a little nasty insect called the Deer Fly. Their prime habitats in these locales are forested, shady humid areas typically found on a wooded trail. Mike in Canada prompted me to write this tip and in Maine Jamie posted this photograph from Texas A&M.

This little pesky insect gangs up on a runner causing them to push the pace faster and faster to the point of exhaustion. Their area of interest is mostly the head and shoulders. It’s when the run has progressed along for perspiration to build into a sweet smelling sweat that they are drawn to like a magnet. Its bite is hurtful and may lend itself to swelling.

An easy deterrent is to always wear a hat. If you have a pony-tail that’ll help swats them. I’ve resorted to wrapping a shirt in place of a hat when without.

The best method I have found so far was passed to me by a local fast runner. The secret is by using laundry dryer sheets. He uses Bounty I use Snuggle, they both seem to work. There must be some active chemical in them that the flies do not like.

Take one dryer sheet and wipe it vigorously on your left side of your singlet, hat, shoulder, arms, neck and calves. Then repeat with another sheet for the other side. Focus on previously attacked areas. Final step is to lay both sheets with 2/3 exposed as flaps out the back of your hat. This can easily be done with the hat lying upside down on the ground.

Warning: abide by the dryer sheet package warnings. If someone has sensitive skin this is not for you. The dryer sheets have chemicals that may give someone an allergic reaction.
This lists possible chemicals and their hazards! Click here for the the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for all Bounce dryer sheets by Proctor & Gamble. I accept no responsibility if you follow this tip based on the above warnings.
Otherwise, good luck and enjoy the trails.

Training: am, 8M in 57:56, Fr: 5M on treadmill due to rain, Thurs: 10.5M on the trails.


  1. The dryer sheets work pretty well. For a more traditional method, there is a local farmer in Windham Maine that makes mosquito repellant that mostly works with deer flies as well. It's one of the few things that I've found that does. It's called "Skeeter Skedaddler".

  2. Thank you, Blaine, for mentioning ‘Skeeter Skidaddler. That’s my all natural, essential oil insect repellent developed and produced at my farm (Gentle Breeze Farm) in Maine. You can go to my website/store to view information and order if you’d like. This formula has worked from the Maine North Woods to the Amazon Jungle, Boundry Waters in Northern Minnesota, etc.


  3. I am an avid kayaker and find that the rivers here in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana are loaded with these pesky bugs by mid Summer. I am sure the swarm that surrounds me at times is over 100 flies. You cannot outrun them and the excess movement, sweat & sheer panic will excite them and make them call all their friends in for a meal. I heard about the Bounce sheets & started using them. I have not received a bite since. I have used only one sheet under my hat & it has kept them at bay, but at other times (out of my paranoia) I have placed 3 of them under my hat to cover as much skin as I hate the buzzing by my face, neck & ears...and stuck a few in my collar or bathing suit straps, under the leg of my shorts etc... I may get a swarm but have not received ONE BITE!!! It will not keep them away, but at least they will not land and bite!! Never had any reactions & you smell really good at the end of the day. It really works!!! Am so glad to find someone posting this great tip for others that love to enjoy the outdoors.