Hardly known a few years ago, the deer fly is spreading more and more. The “flying ticks” are real pests not only for our dogs. How do you recognize the deer fly and how do you get rid of it?
What is a deer fly?
The deer fly (Lipoptena cervi) belongs to the louse fly family. The 3-6mm long, brown insect is similar in shape to ticks, but it has longer, thicker legs and wings, which is why it is often called a “flying tick.” It holds onto its host with its claws at the end of its legs, which is why it is difficult to get off.
After mating, the female deer fly lays an egg. The larva hatches on the ground, joins a swarm, and usually lurks on plants for its host to drink blood. On the host, it mates, completing the cycle.
Where are deer flies found?
Originally it was at home in the Holarctic (region from Scandinavia to northern China). In the meantime it has also become native to our country.
It lives mainly on forest edges, but can also be found on pastures. It is most active in late summer, but can also be found from the early summer months.
How does the deer fly attack?
It attacks forest animals, but also horses, dogs and sometimes us humans. Through the air it flies to its victim and after landing it throws off its wings quite quickly. Now it is very agile and crawls very quickly in the fur to find a suitable bite site. In dogs it usually bites behind the ears, on the neck, at the base of the tail, belly or the inner thigh.
For humans usually painless, our dogs, on the other hand, often react in panic and frantically bite their bodies to get rid of the deer fly. This is because the bite seems to be painful and strongly itchy.
It can bite several times and remains bitten for 15-20 minutes.
How dangerous is the deer fly?
Deer flies can transmit the bacterium Bartonella Schoenbuchensis. Bite sites can become severely inflamed. Fever, skin inflammation or allergic reactions may occur.
What helps against the deer fly?
Unfortunately, no 100% effective remedy has been found yet. Repellent sprays such as Zedan for horses helps quite well with some dogs. The most important thing is to check the dog after the walk. If you notice a conspicuous behavior of your four-legged friend, see if you can spot the deer fly and remove it with a flea comb. Alternatively, you can remove them from the fur with an adhesive tape. Bathing or showering after the walk is also recommended.
After a bite, the area should be cooled. If you are unable to remove the deer fly or if symptoms occur after a bite, please consult a veterinarian.
The deer fly is another insect you should keep an eye on after your walk to remove if necessary. Don’t panic, but stay alert.