Saturday, July 14, 2012

Land of the Flies

Ok, what's the real deal with deer flies? Please, someone, help me understand.  Is there an entomologist out there who can explain to me the psychology of the deer fly? Until I hear from you, I have begun to develop my own theory. It goes like this:

The deer fly finds its human victim and begins it torturesome dance. Buzzing, droning and dive bombing about the head (my head, that is).  It (likely the female who is looking for blood, so hereon referred to as "she") performs her reconnaissance,  seeking appropriate landing zones and savoring the fleshy targets in that ever-so-hard to reach spot.  While the thirst for blood is powerful, the adventure seems more pleasurable than the final goal.  Clearly she wants to torment me, following with me wherever I go. (I had one with me today beginning from the belay of a multi-pitch climb, to the top of the cliff, and throughout the entire hike out to the car. "Annoying" is an understatement!). Just as I thought I was about to lose my mind (cursing and swatting are futile by the way), I angrily commented how desperate I was to kill this ONE FLY!  Annie found this humorous (what the hell, empathy wouldn't improve the situation anyway, right?) "Just that one fly.  You think it is just one fly?" she commented facetiously. I replied that indeed I felt it was one fly - it never left orbit as far as I could tell.  Sure, I have had more than one fly circling me on many other occasions, but today it was one VERY annoying fly!  
Chrysops callidus
So Annie's theory is that it could be several flies working as a relay team.  Brusquely I rebutted. If the relay theory is valid, then I imagine the flies communicating to each other, strategizing their "hand-offs."  And it is clear that if this theory holds true, they are far more intelligent that we ever imagined.  Their timing impeccable. Their training honed.  The deer flies, you see, would have it down so perfectly as to make these relay transitions seamlessly, so that I would never be able to detect them as a team of flies.  So clandestine that by their own intentions, I would be convinced that it is ONE fly actualizing my agony.

A secondary hypothesis was developed as we hiked out today.  This came out of my continued frustration that Annie was not consistently tormented by the flies, only intermittently.  Again, Annie, the entomology psychologist: "The personality type of the deer fly can be determined by the personality of the victim it chooses." If you are an ADD-type person, you will be intermittently bothered by the ADD-type fly. This is the fly who buzzes and nudges for a bit, then is quickly and easily distracted. The victim is frequently provided respite and may go about her business with little or no aggravation.  On the other hand, someone who is eternally focused, controlling and concentrated (ahem, who might that be?) will attract the precisionist of flies.

So there you have it - psychological theory of the deer fly.  Do you subscribe to any of these theories? Or do you have one of your own? Post yours!

1 comment:

  1. I can't comment on the psychology of those evil buggers, but here is my recipe for a natural bug repellent to keep them off:
    Castor Sulfated (Turkey Red) Oil (or olive oil, but it will stain clothing)
    Eucalyptus Essential Oil
    Rosemary Essential Oil
    Tea Tree Oil
    Lavender Essential Oil
    Pennyroyal Essential Oil

    Use 3 parts TRO to 1 part essential oil blend. Rub in your hair for the Antonio Banderas look or put some on a bandana around your neck or head. Pennyroyal oil can be toxic though so don't drink it! The deer flies will not land and usually disappear altogether.