Horse Fly Control

Most Effective Products

Flex 10-10 Insecticide
Emulsifiable Concentrate (EC)
As low as $54.99
Pivot 10 IGR Insect Growth Regulator
Emulsifiable Concentrate (EC)
As low as $34.25
Maxforce Granular Fly Bait
Granular Bait
As low as $50.84
Pyranha Equine Spray & Wipe
Ready-To-Use
As low as $26.49
Fly Relief Disposable Fly Trap
Glue Trap
As low as $8.94
Keith's Pro Tips

"All of the products on this page can also be used as preventative treatments after you have controlled the Horse Fly invasion. Apply on a monthly basis to keep Horse Flies away."

Horse Fly Control: How To Get Rid of Horse Flies

This page is a general Horse Fly control guide. Using the products and methods suggested you will reduce the population of Horse Flies. Follow this guide and use the recommended products and we guarantee a great reduction in your population of Horse Flies.

Horse flies are one of the most aggressive species of fly. Unlike a common housefly, Horse Flies have sharp, blade-like mouthparts that can tear into flesh. This makes them a big irritant wherever they are found. Horse Flies frequently infest farms where they rip into livestock, biting them and drawing blood. They even get their name from their tendency to attack and feed on horses in pastures.

Horse Flies are larger than most flies ranging between 1/2 an inch to 1.25 of an inch in size. Horse Flies are most active in the summertime and are known to hang around warm and humid areas. Horse Flies require lots of blood in order to produce eggs. As a result, horse flies feed and live close to livestock and near humans, which is why they are most often found near farms.

If you have a Horse Fly problem on your property, you can eliminate them with the right knowledge and professional-grade products. Follow our guide below for more information on how to eliminate this bothersome pest.

Identification

horse flies identification how to get rid of horse flies

Before proceeding with treatment, it is important to first correctly identify the pest in question and confirm that it is indeed a Horse Fly. Careless identification can lead to using the wrong treatment products, which is ineffective and a waste of time and money. Here are some key characteristics of house flies so you know what they look like:

  • Horse Flies can often be confused with the common housefly except that they are much larger and have a horn-shaped antenna.
  • They can grow up to 1.25 inches in length and their bodies vary in color from grey, black, or brown.
  • They have two wings which are dark-colored.
  • What is perhaps the best identifier of the insect being a Horse Fly is that they bite. They are bloodsuckers and will readily bite horses and other large animals and even humans.
  • Horse fly bites are really painful for livestock and horses and you will be able to notice the markings left behind on your animals where they are gathered.

Use the image and description above to correctly identify Horse Flies on your property. If you are not sure, contact us with a high-quality image of the pest and we will help you try to properly identify the insect.

Inspection

Horse Fly Swarm on Livestock

Once you have confirmation that the pest you are having issues with are Horse Flies you can then proceed with an inspection. In this phase, you will mainly observe where the Horse Flies are most active and how severe of a problem you have.

Gauging the severity of the infestation will help you in determining whether you need to conduct a light treatment application or if would need to carry out a heavy treatment program that incorporates multiple methods of control.

Where To Inspect

Observe areas close to animal quarters, near manure holding facilities, and where livestock frequent. Horse Flies can also be found near pastures, ponds, compost piles, or even swimming pools in residential homes.

What To Look For

You should be looking for Horse Fly activity and where they are the most concentrated. Observe horse flies during the day, find out the time when they are most active, and gauge how severe the infestation is. Once you have determined the size of the infestation and the places they frequent, you will know where to apply treatment.

Treatment

Once you have confirmed Horse Flies activity, it is time to begin treatment. Remember to read all product labels and follow the application instructions on these labels and stay safe by wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).

Most infestations occur outdoors so this is where the treatment will be focused. We recommend using a combination of Fly Relief Fly Traps, Pyranha Equine Spray & Wipe (only for horses), Flex 10-10, Pivot IGR, and Maxforce Granular Fly Bait.

Step 1 - Trap Flies with Fly Relief Fly Traps

fly relief fly trap horse flies

Fly Relief Fly Traps should first be used to reduce the Horse Fly population. Fly Relief Fly Traps are a disposable, insecticide-free trap for outdoor use and can trap more than 10,000 flies. To activate the trap, remove the plastic seal at the top and pull on the tab until it snaps in place. The Fly attractant is inside the trap in a dissolvable bag and will need to be activated with water.

Fill the product with water up to the fill line and then hang in places where Horse Fly activity has been observed. For better results buy multiple traps and place them in every place where you have noticed activity.

Step 2 - Protect Your Horses with Pyranha Equine Spray & Wipe

Pyranha Equine Spray & Wipe is a repellent that can be used to kill and repel Horse Flies from coming close. This product is only for horses (do not apply to other livestock). This product can either be wiped or sprayed on.

Before applying remove excess dirt or dust. If using as a wipe, make sure the horses are cleaned (shampooed and rinsed) and they are dry before applying treatment. You will apply this product at the rate of 1 to 2 ounces (for both wipe and spray application).

If spraying, apply a light mist over the problem areas while brushing lightly against the lay of the hair. If spraying, avoid eyes and mucous membranes. use a sponge or a cloth in these areas. For full detailed application instructions read the label. 

Step 3 - Broad Spectrum Control With Flex 10-10 & Pivot 10 IGR

Spraying Pivot and Flex 10-10

For total broad-spectrum control of Horse Flies, use a combination of Flex 10-10 and Pivot IGR. Flex 10-10 is a powerful insecticide liquid concentrate that is specially designed to be used on misting and fogging equipment (to treat large areas like stables and barns). Pivot IGR is an Insect Growth Regulator and is used to target the undeveloped stages of flies (like larvae) to prevent the population from growing.

For large areas like barns and stables, we recommend misting or fogging. If using around smaller areas (like residential homes or small spaces) you can also use a pump sprayer.  Mix 4 teaspoons of Flex 10-10 with 4 mL of Pivot 10 per gallon of water to treat 1,000 sq. ft. Typically you'll want to apply to window frames, doors, and along surfaces.

Step 4 - Apply Maxforce Fly Bait

Maxforce Granular Fly Bait spreading

Finally, apply Maxforce Granular Fly Bait around your property to prevent further infestations. This product is a granular bait that can spread around the property, used in fly bait stations or painted on surfaces. To paint on surfaces, simply dilute the granular bait in a small jar with water. The end result should be a red paste that can be applied with a paintbrush. 

Apply the product to walls, fencing, surfaces around the perimeter and where you may have your horses or cattle gathered to keep horse flies away.

Prevention

prevention horse flies

Once Horse Flies have been controlled, you want to make sure they don't make a return. Here are some preventative measures to take to keep horse flies off of your horses and your property:

  • Preventative treatments of Maxforce Granular Fly Bait to the perimeter of your property is recommended.
  • Exclusion measures like fixing broken screens doors, or adding screens to every vent and chimney in the home will prevent them from coming in. Also, use caulk or foam to seal and fill any slits, gaps or openings where Horse flies might enter the property.
  • If you own a farm, manure management is crucial. Remove manure from barn stalls as quickly as possible. This includes not only cleaning the barn, but also the water troughs, shady areas, run-in sheds, and gates from any excess excrement. Also, make sure your waste areas are sealed with tight lids and are lined with plastic bags. This will reduce odors and attract fewer flies waiting to lay eggs around.
  • If it is possible, keep garbage areas as far away as you can from the barn itself. The area where you feed your horses can also be a prime breeding ground. Make sure you sweep out the feed room each day to avoid having spilled feed laying out to rot. All horse feed should be tightly sealed in containers when not being eaten by the horses.

Key Takeaways

What are Horse Flies?

  • Horse Flies are irritating pests known for delivering painful bites and infesting in large numbers around farms and barnyards. 
  • Unlike a common house fly, horse flies have sharp, blade-like mouthparts that can tear into flesh. This makes them a particularly big irritant wherever they are found, especially around farms where they harm livestock, biting them and drawing blood.
  • Horse Flies get their name for their tendency to attack and feed on horses in pastures.

How To Get Rid of a Horse Flies

  • To get rid of horse flies, you will need to use a combination of traps (Fly Relief Fly Traps), Insecticides (Flex 10-10 and Pivot IGR), repellents (Pyranha Equine Spray & Wipe) and bait (Maxforce Granular Fly Bait).

Preventing Horse Fly Reinfestation

  • To keep flies away from your horses and/or property, preventative treatments of Maxforce Granular Fly Bait should be conducted on a monthly basis as well as cleaning and managing manure on a weekly basis.
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    Flex 10-10 Insecticide
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    Maxforce Granular Fly Bait
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    Pyranha Equine Spray & Wipe
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    Fly Relief Disposable Fly Trap
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