The term yellow flies refers to any of a number of species of biting fly. Around the size of a house fly, a yellow fly has a distinctive yellow body and patterned wings. While male flies are happy to feed on nectar and pollen, female flies feed on the blood of both humans and animals, delivering a painful bite. Repelling or discouraging yellow flies is an impossible task, especially when there are a lot of them or they are hungry. Several methods, however, can help you avoid these pests.
Yellow flies live throughout the United States, but they are most common in the southeastern region between New Jersey and Texas. They commonly prey on livestock and are often found on or near farms, ranches, and dairies. You can find them anywhere, however, as deer and other animals all make suitable meals.
The best way to deal with yellow flies is by trapping them to reduce their numbers and wearing protective clothing when working outdoors during fly season in <ahref="http: edis.ifas.ufl.edu="" in155"=""> </ahref="http:>late summer and early fall. Chemical control is sometimes attempted, but it is usually not very effective.
Trapping is the best way to get rid of yellow flies. The flies are particularly attracted to large, dark-colored objects that resemble the prey animals upon which they feed. You can make a simple but effective trap by inflating a large beach ball and painting it black. Hang the ball in a shady area so that it is five feet above the ground, and then cover it with Tanglefoot. This product, which is available in hardware stores and garden centers, acts as a glue and holds insects in place, trapping them. Simply add more Tanglefoot each year and replace the entire trap after two or three years of use.
When working outdoors in areas known to have heavy yellow fly populations, protective gear is the best weapon against these pests. Protect yourself by wearing a mosquito veil, gloves, long slacks, and long-sleeved shirts. Any exposed skin is prone to biting. Apply insect repellent that contains DEET (diethyl toluamide), as well, for added protection.
Most insecticides have proven to be either ineffective against yellow flies or cost- prohibitive to use. Mosquito repellents offer some relief, but scientists have yet to find an effective means of chemical population control. Avoid the temptation to apply potentially toxic chemicals to your lawn and garden in an effort to be rid of these pests. Traps are the most accepted and effective means of reducing yellow fly populations. Some environmental control tactics, such as removing woody plants and drying wet areas, have eased infestations, but chemical controls are considered to be a waste of time and money when dealing with yellow flies.
In Jacksonville, Fla., Frank Whittemore is a content strategist with over a decade of experience as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy and a licensed paramedic. He has over 15 years experience writing for several Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics in medicine, nature, science, technology, the arts, cuisine, travel and sports.