Editors Blog

This Can’t Be Fun: Insects and Deer in Summer

How do insects affect white-tailed deer during summer? Just one look at this video clip should provide all of the answers. In some regions of North America, stress from insects and other external parasites oftentimes cause deer more stress than they encounter during harsh winter weather.

We have shown you videos of the nasty nasal bots that affect whitetails from North to South. These bots are the larval form of Cephenemyia flies. They do not affect humans, but they do cause massive discomfort in whitetails. When you see deer kicking wildly, “sneezing,” and shoving their snots in creeks, pools, puddles, etc., they are usually trying to rid themselves of these nasal occupants. They can’t do it, unfortunately, until the maggots develop into flies and leave on their own accord. How disgusting, right?!

Bot flies are gross, but usually not much of a threat to deer. Deer ticks, Lone Star ticks, biting midges and screwworms are just a few examples of the devastating “bugs” that can harm deer and even cause mass casualties in the whitetail herd. And although ticks have been getting the main headlines lately, screwworms have been around for decades and have wreaked havoc on deer populations. In Texas, for example, a bad screwworm infestation can wipe out as much as 80 percent of an localized fawn population. Screwworms are often associated with livestock, so eradicating them at that level will oftentimes have an immediate positive influence on the wild deer herd.


The deer in this video clip is twitching, flinching and jerking from the discomfort of mosquitoes and gnats. The mosquito crop here in the Upper Midwest is quite plentiful already this summer … and we’re not even through June yet. I don’t even want to think of how bad it might get in July, August and early September if we get hot weather and the rains continue. Not cursing the rain (never will), but I guess every blessing has its consequence in nature, doesn’t it?

Let’s see your trail-cam photos and videos of deer experiencing insect invasions! I’ll post the best ones here in this blog and kick in two free D&DH hats to the top two submissions!