Deer Fly (Chrysops vittatus)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Deer Fly.
Updated: 2/27/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Female Deer Flies are a biting nuisance to both people and livestock as well as any other warm-blooded animal it comes across.
Though physically smaller than the related Horse Fly, Deer Flies still pack a painful bite and their irksome presence can make it miserable to spend time outdoors. Bites are not lethal, just annoying. Welts from bites will heal on their own, but ice may help alleviate some symptoms like swelling and pain. This species is yellow-orange with three black lines on the thorax and four thinner black lines on the abdomen. Females feed on blood and are biters. Males do not drink blood and instead take nectar from flowers. Deer are the typical host for this fly, but in their absence, Deer Fly females will take a blood meal from anything or anyone.
Females lay fertilized eggs in or around water. Once hatched, larvae eat the blood meal provided by the mother as well as aquatic insects. As they grow, larvae remain near, or in, water sources like puddles, troughs, and ponds. Adults can be found anywhere, especially areas where deer are known to roam. It is difficult to move them out of areas they have established as hunting territories like certain parts of a beach or a backyard patios.