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How to get rid of Horse Flies ~ STOP them NOW!

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How to get rid of Horse Flies ~ What you need to know!

How to get rid of Horse Flies

In this article, we are going to discuss and cover extensively, how to get rid of horse flies! If you have had problems with these vicious nasty flies, read on, you will find something to help you and your horses cope in warm weather! If for some reason you need the attention of a Professional you can chat with here with Professional Veterinarians and ask questions that are important to you. 

There is absolutely nothing attractive about flies. These tiny creatures can be such a nuisance to both human beings and animals. Did you know that there are hundreds of thousands of fly species? The common ones that we have probably heard of are house flies, sand flies, gnats, deer flies, cluster flies, and horse flies.

Despite their size, they are known to be deadly disease carriers that infest food items. They contribute to food contamination because of their rapid back and forth movement. Surprisingly, flies cannot ingest food in its solid state. What it normally does is vomit on the food to make a solution, and then suck the food.

Some of the diseases spread by these tiny insects include diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, and cholera. Sand flies commonly found in Europe, South America and Africa cause Leishmaniasis. This disease eats away the human skin. House flies are notorious for tuberculosis, anthrax, and salmonella. Horse flies transmit leucocytozoan, anthrax, and tularemia in livestock.

How to get rid of Horse Flies

Life Cycle of a Fly

Flies lay eggs in a moist environment that is abundant in food, e.g., a garbage trash, and a vegetation cover that is close to a water source. Within a day, the eggs begin to hatch. The larvae stage follows which feeds for 5-14 days and moves to a dryer area. They feed on insects and reptiles in this stage. Of importance to note is that the larvae stage could take up to a whole year.

The pupal phase lasts for a period of 6 to 12 days. After that, an adult fly is formed. This takes at least 3 to 10 weeks.


Flies generally reproduce about 500 to 2000 eggs in a month which is just about their lifespan. You have probably wondered why they just never seem to go away easily. Their rapid reproduction is the reason why. An adult horse fly only lives for a few days.

Horse flies may go by other names in different areas. In Australia for instance, they are called March flies while bulldog flies is how to refer to a horse fly if you live in Canada. Another name they commonly go by is stable flies. They are preyed on by horse guard wasps and birds such as sparrows.

How to get rid of Horse Flies

Physical Attributes of a Horse Fly

The horse fly is a very aggressive fly species whose bites are extremely painful. It belongs to a family that boasts of the world’s largest flies. They have jaws shaped like scissors which cut and tear into livestock species, female ones to be particular.

Horse flies closely resemble honey bees except that they have only one pair of wings with faint spots. They are either blackish or yellowish-brown in color. They have compound eyes with beautiful metallic shades.

Breeding Ground

The presence of horse flies along the lake, and the beach is because they thrive well in humid and warm conditions. Expect to find them in other damp environments such as tanks and along water streams. Decayed organic matter and manure form a common breeding ground for them as well.

Feeding Habitats

While the female flies feed on blood, male flies feed on pollen, nectar, honeydew and other plant juices. Blood enables the female flies to get their required protein for reproduction. They locate their prey as dark moving objects and through carbon dioxide release.

How to get rid of Horse Flies

Behavioral Characteristics

Horse flies attack livestock and horses especially on their underbellies, lower legs, and the neck. Stable flies bite people on the bare lower legs. The horses experience blood loss caused by the flies that leads to them being weakened and irritable.

You may resort to chemical sprays and foggers. It is important to take the necessary safety precautions during use of chemical sprays. The manufacturer’s instructions should be followed to the letter. As they are toxic to animals, make sure they are not within reach. All water tanks, ponds or aquariums should be covered to avoid the chemicals from getting into the water. This may affect aquatic life.

How To Get Rid of Horse Flies

How to Prevent Horse Flies

• Tall grass can be a breeding site for horse flies, and therefore it is important the grass and weeds are trimmed, and your lawn constantly mowed.
• You should cover your pools and ponds and put in place proper drainage systems. Your surroundings should not have stagnant water.
• The barns and sheds should be kept clean at all times. Pests thrive best in a dirty environment. Manure and spilled feed should be removed from the shed.
• The storage areas for manure should be kept dry.
• A shelter should be built for your livestock. This gives them a safe hiding space from the horse flies.
• It is always best to keep the stables/sheds locked.
• Fans installed in the shed over the area where the animals reside keep the flies away.
Nets and face masks for animals greatly protect them from these flies.

Insect Sprays and Repellants

This is also an efficient method to protect you and your household including your pets, livestock, and horses from the nuisance these flies and various other insects bring. All these products can be bought from Amazon at affordable prices.
Here are a few examples of repellants proven to rid you of this menace once and for all.

1. Avon Skin So Soft Bath Oil


As the name suggests, it is soft and smooth on the skin. This is an oil that will need to be applied after mixing with other products. 

Some folks mix this with:

 Prozap Fly Spray : Mix half and half.

Skin-so-soft mixed with water, half and half.

Skin So Soft Original Bath Oil is the proper product for this mixture:

1 part Skin So Soft Original bath oil
1 part apple cider vinegar
1 part or more water


2. Farnam Roll-On Fly Repellent for Horses.

This is a very convenient method that allows you to protect your horses’ sensitive areas such as the nose, mouth, ears, and eyes. It can also be used on dogs and ponies. It is designed in a safe way to be used even around wounds. Not only does it repel the flies, but it also kills them using natural pyrethrins derived from plants. It lasts for a long time, so you don’t have to keep re-applying it.



3. Espree Aloe Herbal Fly Repellent Horse Spray

This is a ready-to-use gentle spray that contains a mixture of essential oils such as eucalyptus oil, cedar wood oil, and citronella oil. The scent from these oils is very unappealing to flies. It is a natural method hence completely safe for your horses. Spray on your horses and around barns to keeps flies, mosquitoes, ticks, gnats and other flying insects at bay.
Before use, you should shake the spray well and clean off any dirt or debris from the horse. An added advantage of this spray is that it has coat conditioners along with sunscreen for control of skin related problems that result from insect bites. It gives long hours of protection due to the horses.

4. Derby Reflective Fly Mask with Ears and Nose.

It is made from strong, lightweight mesh with transparent piping that allows visibility. It is safe for the horses to use giving at least 75% of UV protection against the sun. With additional ear protection, the edges have a fleece around the ears to protect the horse from irritation and discomfort. The material is elastic to give a perfect fit. The available sizes are suited for ponies, warmblood, cob, and horses. Derby Originals give you a one year warranty for the fly mask.


5. Horse Fly Spray – Cedar-Bug Free Horse Fly Spray

This is a natural method that has been developed using cedar oil as the main ingredient in combination with other organic components. It kills flies and other insects immediately upon contact. With its pleasant smell, it is durable to help you protect your livestock and horses from bites and skin related problems. The essential oil works by suffocating the breathing system of these insects.

Brush the horses to remove dirt before application. Reapply daily or if the horses have been exposed to heavy rainfall. With time, once a week should do as it builds protection. It is advisable to test the item on the horses before use. Some horses’ skin may be sensitive to the product evidenced by redness. If this happens, discontinue use of the fly spray. Breeding grounds like the stables, paddocks, on horse droppings and other areas, should be sprayed as well.

6. Absorbine UltraShield EX

This is an enhanced version of the UltraShield EX. It is designed to offer maximum fly control for an extended period of 17 days. This ready-to-use insecticide involves a formula that is resistant to sweat, weather and provides ultimate insect protection in all conditions. The multiple layers of coat conditioners and sunscreen make this possible. It is a highly advanced repellent used on dogs and ponies to repel and kill several species of insects.


7. Equitrol II Feed-Through Fly Control

This method is used to prevent the occurrence of flies in the manure. It is given in the form of pellets except and is 100% safe for the animals. Horses intended for slaughter should not be fed with this. This method, however, cannot be used to control adult flies. The best season to start feeding these pellets is before the fly season all through the summer and fall. During the cold season, there is reduced fly activity.


8. H-Trap Professional Horse Fly Control System

This is a new system of Horse Fly prevention for 2017. This has been tested extensively and as it has come to the market it is receiving high reviews as a very successful way to keep horse flies at bay around your home and property. We have many readers who do not own horses but live near fields or ponds where others have horses or cattle and the flies find their way to their houses and make life miserable for them all summer long. 

One of our readers expressed their concern for this very thing. They live near a farm where the owners spread manure to fertilize the hay fields every summer and it draws the horse fly in abundance and they always end up all around their home and are relentless all summer long. His question on how to slow down the population around his house led me to this trap. It is a more expensive trap but under the circumstances, if you are tormented by these things, it may well be worth your money.

The H-Trap Professional Horse Fly Control System is designed to attract the fly and kill them without any electricity. They are very easily set up and are not an eye sore as one may think. They weigh only 30lb and set on a single  pole so they can be mowed around easily. The flies can be removed easily and the bait replenished easily also.  

This trap has earned a 4.3  out of 5 review and everyone who has used it has nothing but praise for it. So, if you have a large horse fly problem, this may be your relief! It is a little costly but my goodness, what would we give to get rid of those annoying horse flies from around our homes and horse barns so we can enjoy our summer?

There are also remedies that lots of people use besides the chemical solutions. These home remedies to get rid of horse flies have been tested many times with some working better than others depending on the weather, climate, and other seasonal attributes.

If you are a little concerned about using chemical fly repellants you may want to look into these fly remedies. Remember, it is never a success unless it either removes or slows down the fly population. I doubt they will ever be removed but at least they can be slowed down so to give our livestock some relief.

Home Remedies to get Rid of Horse Flies

• Spray flies with a solution of dish soap and water. It contains a substance known as borax that is toxic to the flies and harmless to the animals.
• Mouthwash, dish wash, and ammonia. Lemon scented ammonia, lemon scented dish wash and mint mouthwash should be mixed with plenty of water. The spray solution gets rid of the flies.
• Limited sources of water. The bird bath in your yard may be attracting the flies. If possible, remove the bird bath or you could try changing the water frequently to prevent horse fly breeding.
Citronella oil releases a strong deterrent for flies and other insects when burning. Yard torches, citronella candles or even sprays containing this oil will work effectively to keep them away.
Lemongrass oil is also a strong repellant for insects. Mix about 20 drops with half a cup of hot water and spray the fly infested areas.
• Aromatic herbs such as lavender, mint, rue and wormwood, basil, and elder are repelling fragrances for flies. Plant these in your surroundings or near the doorways of your animals’ shed.

How to get rid of Horse Flies

Physical Traps to get Rid of Horse Flies

You can set several traps in your compound. Commercial traps are available as well as DIY horse fly traps that you can make from the comfort of your home.

1. Disposable Traps. These traps can be used more than once. Bait and some water are added to the traps hence attracting the flies.

2. Homemade Traps. For a DIY horse fly trap, you will need a stool, a fly paper, a medium sized dark colored ball and a steady string. Attach the ball to the stool’s bottom using the string. Next, wrap the fly papers around the string and the legs of the stool. Place it in areas where the horse flies are commonly found. Swing the ball as they are attracted to dark moving objects. The flies will then get stuck on the fly paper when they land on the ball.

3. Rotten meat and bottle trap. A plastic bottle is cut in two, and the bottle cap pre-drilled. Rotten meat is placed inside together with cow urine or some water. To make sure the edges are sealed correctly, some tap may be used. Place the bottle upside down and wait for the flies to enter the trap. The foul smell from the rotten meat will attract the flies.

4. Odor baits on sticky flypaper traps. Attractants of the flies include carbon dioxide, cow urine at least a week old, ammonia, and acetone found in nail polish or varnish remover.

As you try these fly remedies and different ways to get rid of horse flies we would appreciate your feedback.

Maybe you have already tried some of them either the chemical or the natural remedies for flies. If so, we appreciate all the feedback you will give or advice you have.
Thank you for taking the time to read our article on getting rid of horse flies and may the wind ever be at your back and the flies ever in front to be seen! ☺

Below is just one of many ways to make a Horse fly trap.

Horse Fly Photo by: Martyn Fletcher 

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