Get rid of pesky deer flies with this easy-to-make hat trap

Thanks to a yard thick with deer flies, mowing the lawn used to be a nightmare for my husband, Barry. Now, it’s a dream. Well, that might be an exaggeration, but it’s a whole lot better. He shares his secret to getting rid of deer flies in this guest post.

By Barry Atwood

A few years ago after being driven half crazy by deer flies, I did some research. I discovered a strategy to deal with them that actually works! For some reason, deer flies are attracted to the color blue. They also prefer heads as a place to take their bite.

So first, I acquired a royal blue baseball cap.

Then off to a garden center to buy a product called Tree Tanglefoot. It is an extremely sticky substance that you squeeze from a tube. It is primarily used to create a barrier at the base of a tree to prevent pest insects from climbing the tree.

You need to smear Tanglefoot all over the outside surface of the cap. It helps to wear disposable rubber gloves when you do this.

When you are done outside remove the hat and behold the (many) flies trapped in the goo. I have snared as many as 15 or 20 in a single outing. And even though I am not big on killing things, I do make an exception for deer flies and have dubbed my sticky fly trap the Blue Hat of Death. Trust me, it REALLY works!

What to do with a hat full of deer flies

People have been asking what to do when the hat gets full. Barry says, if you want, you can pick off the flies one by one, but dealing with the stickiness can be more trouble than it’s worth. You may just want to get rid of it and make a new one. He found a cheap hat at Goodwill and I got the one we used for the blog post at Reny’s. Someone else recommended the Dollar Store.

Update from Barry July 2017

A couple of weeks ago, when I was weeding the garden, I was attacked by a deer fly! I immediately retrieved my Blue Hat of Death, added a new coat of Tanglefoot and returned to the garden. I wasn’t bothered by the deer flies at all and, in fact, I hardly noticed them. At the end of the day, there were 15 deer flies stuck to my hat. I know the hat looks gross and disgusting to some, but it works 100 percent of the time.

Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. She now hosts and produces the Catching Health podcast and writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.