Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Know Your Enemy

Runner's of Umstead Park Beware

Yes, it will soon be that time of year when Umstead park is turned into a giant bloodletting.

I ran a 10 Miler in Umstead on Easter Sunday and noticed a massive increase in the number of insects.  Pollen season is quickly followed by Horse & Deer fly hell in our Beloved Umstead Park.  And Unfortunately, even Ryan Hall would have a difficult time out running these pests.  

 Here are some Fun  Facts about your the Enemy

The bite from a large specimen is painful. Most short tongued (short proboscid) species of horse flies use their knife-like mandibles to rip and/or slice flesh apart. Flies with longer proboscides bite more like a mosquito, their stylet-like mouthparts piercing the host's skin like needles.
The horsefly's modus operandi is less secretive than that of its mosquito counterparts, although it still aims to escape before their victim becomes conscious of the pain signals. Moreover, the pain of a horsefly bite may mean that the victim is more concerned with assessing the wound, and not swatting the interloper. In any case defense is difficult, considering the agile nature of the fly. The bites may become itchy, sometimes causing a large swelling afterward if not treated quickly.


Deer flies are usually active for specific periods of time during the summer. When outside, repellents such as Deet and Off (N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) can provide several hours of protection.

Permethrin-based repellents are for application to clothing only but typically provide a longer period of protection. Repellents can prevent flies from landing or cause them to leave before feeding but the factors that attract them (movement, carbon dioxide, two things that come hand in hand with running) are still present. These flies will continue to swarm around even after a treatment is applied.

Light colored clothing and protective mesh outdoor wear may be of some value in reducing annoyance from biting flies. In extreme cases, hats with mesh face and neck veils and neckerchiefs may add some protection.

 Remember . . .

The Only Good Bug is a Dead Bug!


  1. I just have to say, I'm kinda excited that I know the movie references but only because Spike made me watch it recently. :) LOL!

    I hope you can avoid the enemy, we have them here as well and they are evil.

  2. Bastards are already out in force, about 3 weeks early. Going to be a long summer.
    And by the way, the repellents don't really work. Flies hunt by sight and not scent. The deer flies will attack the highest point moving, so run with someone taller than you.

  3. At least you don't have sand gnats in Raleigh.

  4. Hank,

    I am very glad not to have sand fleas. One of the many reasons that I an glad that I don't live in SC.


    never bother with the repellent b/c I sweat way too much. As for running with someone tall, I go just over 6'1" so I am the someone taller.