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How To Control Horse Flies

There’s normal house flies that are a common pest to deal with, and then there’s vicious ones like the horse fly who are on a level of their own. Horse flies are one of the most aggressive species of fly. Unlike a common house fly, horse flies have sharp, blade-like mouth parts which can tear into flesh. This makes them a particularly big irritant wherever they are found, especially around farms where they tear into livestock, biting them and drawing blood. They even derive their name for their tendency to attack and feed on horses in pastures.

Horse flies are larger than most other species of fly, ranging between ½ to 1 ¼ inches long and having a characteristically big head, vibrant metallic colors, and big bright green eyes. Female horse flies have a large appetite for blood and are even known to attack humans and deliver a bite much more painful than a mosquito bite. The female requires lots of bloods so it can produce eggs similar to a mosquito.

Horse flies are most active in the summertime and are known to hang around areas that are warm and humid. They can be found near beaches and lakes or low-lying pastures and creeks. Horse fly bites can be a very troublesome pest around homes and agricultural lands as their bites are known to make livestock lose weight and in humans, the bites have the potential to cause allergic reactions and spread disease.

If you have a horse fly problem you’re dealing with, Solutions Pest and Lawn can help you by offering professional-grade horse fly control products for horses, including horse fly traps and horse fly repellent sprays. Continue reading below the products for more information on how to eliminate this bothersome pest.

View our horse fly killing products below. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to assist you with your order or give you helpful pest control advice.

 How to Get Rid of Horse Flies: Solutions 4 Step Process

Because of the nature of horse flies, it can be difficult to eliminate them through conventional means of spraying insecticides. However, not to worry, as there are ways you can keep horse fly populations under control and protect yourself and your animals from their relentless attack. We recommend a combination of trapping, misting and repellents to ward off horse flies. Below you will find three simple to implement steps that if you follow closely, you will no longer have horse flies bothering you on your land.

 

Step 1: Identification. Before proceeding with gathering and spraying insecticides around, it is important to first correctly identify the pest in question and confirm that it is indeed a horse fly. Horse flies can often be confused with the common housefly except that they are much larger and have a horn shaped antennae. They can grow up to 1 ¼ 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 blood suckers and will readily bite horses and other large animals and even humans.

 

As always, if you are having a hard time identifying the insect, send a photo to our experts at identification@solutionsstores.com. We'll respond back to you with the correct ID of the insect as well as offer you the best tips to deal with the insect as well as product recommendations which will work best against the pest in question.


Step 2: Inspection. 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 horse fly problem you have. Gauging the severity of the infestation will help you in determining whether you just need to conduct a light treatment application or would need to have a full blown control program that incorporates multiple means of control.


Horse flies are typically found near areas that contain water and also close to livestock areas, which is a food source. At worst case, you will find them grouped up on a livestock animal, feasting on them.

 

Step 3: Control. The first thing you should do to try to reduce the horse fly population is to trap them. A disposable fly trap like the Fly Relief Trap fly trap has been proven to work well to capture horse flies. Simply unpack, Twist tip of spout until it snaps, allowing Attractant  contained in the package to pour out into bag and hang it outside in an area with heavy activity. These traps have the potential to capture 20,000 flies and can be used for a period of several weeks.

 

If you live on a farm and have livestock, a liquid spray such as Pyranha Equine Spray & Wipe can provide excellent coverage around your yard to deter horse flies from sticking around. This is a natural product containing pyrethrins and is safe to apply around your plants and can even be sprayed directly upon cattle and animals as well as your own clothing to repel horse flies from biting and attacking. You can even safely spray it on water like a pool, which horse flies like to hang around, to keep them at bay.

 

Lastly, if horse flies are a particularly large problem, we recommend breaking out the big guns and misting them away. Using a fogger or mister (which we carry here at Solutions), mix in a misting product special designed to target horse flies like Flex 10-10 Insecticide. Spray this mist around your property and horse flies in the vicinity will start dropping like, well, flies. For any eggs that have been laid by horse flies, they can be prevented from hatching with the help of Pivot IGR Insect Growth Regulator. Simply tank mix Pivot with Flex 10-10 in your sprayer.

 

Step 4: Prevention. You can prevent flies from making a reinfestation by applying Maxforce Granular Fly Bait around the perimeter of your property. This bait can be used in a multitude of ways: you can apply this product as a broadcast treatment, place it in bait stations or dissolve it in water to paint on surfaces. If they are making their way indoors, the best method of horse fly prevention is exclusion, including screening all doors and windows. Set traps when it is fly season and do your best to keep your outdoor areas clean and sanitary.

 

flies around horses

Protect Your Horses With Our DIY Guide To Horse Fly Control

Horses on a farm can benefit greatly from fly control. Flies aren’t just annoying to humans, they are an annoying pest to other animals in the ecosystem as well. You can definitely see this be the case if you own a barn or work with horses and other livestock.

 

Flies make life miserable on the range for horses and other livestock especially during the warmer parts of the year when flies flock to barnyards and pastures to feed on horses, especially the fittingly named stable fly and horse fly.

 

Not only are these flies frustrating to deal with, but they can also be dangerous because of their tendency to spread diseases.

 

When flies like the horse fly sink their sharp, blade-like mouthparts into a horse’s flesh and feed on its blood, in serious cases, they can potentially cause issues with a horse’s digestive system and can even stunt your horse's growth. Horse fly bites are no joke.

 

With this being the case, it is imperative if you live amongst or work with livestock to protect both your horse and barn from fly invasions. Here at Solutions Pest & Lawn, we can equip you with all the fly control tools you need to protect your horses and livestock from these irritating pests.

 

Horse Fly or Stable Fly Background Informationcloseup of a horse fly

To successfully carry out horse fly or stable fly control, you have to know your enemy. While many types of flies can bug your horse during spring and summer, you will most likely be dealing with the common house fly, horse flies or stable flies.  

 

These types of flies thrive around barnyards where there are horses and livestock because these places provide prime breeding and feeding locations due to the abundance of manure and compost present in these locations.

 

The typical life cycle of a fly is comprised of four main phases: 1) the egg, 2) the larvae, 3) the pupa, and finally, 4) the adult. The time span that a fly goes from egg to adulthood ranges between 2 to 4 weeks long with adult flies living from as little as 2 weeks to as long a month.

 

Adult flies usually like to lay their eggs on the manure horses leave behind or on any fresh organic material. Depending on the species of fly, the eggs will hatch within a few days and the larvae will begin to feed on the manure or waste where they have hatched.

 

The pupa phase of a fly is when the fly continues to develop its exoskeleton. Once the pupa phase transitions the fly into adulthood, the fly is then ready to feast on the flesh of horses.

 

Effective horse fly control is achieved by using a combination of fly control methods, from sanitation and environmental manipulation to the Solutions specialty, fly control insecticides and horse fly sprays.

 

Step 1: Manure Managementmanure sweep up

Before breaking out the fly control pesticides, it is important to engage in manual fly control by addressing what is attracting horse flies and stable flies to begin with. It’s pretty obvious from just the smell which occurs with horses in the barnyard that it’s manure. The piles of manure which horses leave behind is practically gold to flies because they use the manure to breed and eat.

 

Here’s a surprising statistic:  the average 1000 pound horse produces about 50 pounds of manure daily! As a result, properly managing the manure is vital if you want to be successful in your efforts to conduct fly control and eliminating those breeding spots.

 

Removing manure from barn stalls as quickly as possible is the first step to organic fly control. Not doing this and staying on top of clearing out manure in your horse’s stable is a sure-fire way to create a breeding ground for horse flies.

 

The more manure removed from the stall the less desirable it will be to flies for depositing their eggs. Once the manure is removed, you will have to stow it as far away as possible from your farm.

 

Don’t just limit your manure clearing to the horse stalls! You will also need to stay on top of manure that you find around the pasture and other areas where horses are most active. Areas where horses regularly gather such as water troughs, shady areas, run-in sheds, and gates should be cleaned on a weekly basis to hinder flies from breeding in the area.

 

Remember, it's easier and more effective to prevent fly breeding than it is to conduct fly control. So the quicker you can remove those habitats they find appealing, the less likely you are to see these pests.

 

Step 2: Horse Fly TrapsFlies Be Gone Flytrap

Now it’s time to break out the insecticides. We recommend first starting out with laying out fly control traps to deal with those horse flies and stable flies.  

 

At Solutions, we recommend using a disposable horse fly trap like the Flies Be Gone fly trap. This fly control trap is an excellent way to control the horse fly population around your pasture and barn.

 

Simply unpack, add water and an attractant which comes with the package and hang it outside in an area with heavy activity. These traps have the potential to capture 20,000 flies and can be used for a period of several weeks.

 

Alternatively you can use fly baits such as QuickBayt Fly Bait.

 

Step 3: Horse Fly Spray OptionsImage result for misting system barn

If you have a larger horse fly issue, it may be necessary to break out the big guns and conduct some serious fly control. We have a number of insecticides that can work on house flies and horse flies.

 

If you’re worried about chemicals harming your horses, we even have green products that can work well as horse fly sprays. For instance, a liquid spray such as Essentria IC3 Natural Pesticide can provide around your yard to deter horseflies from sticking around.

 

This is a natural product and is safe to apply around your plants and can even be sprayed directly upon cattle and animals as well as your own clothing to repel horseflies from biting and attacking.

 

For more serious fly infestations we recommend misting. While you can use a mister or a fogger for manual misting, we recommend installing a misting system. Using a misting system like Mistaway Mosquito Misting System is usually for mosquitoes but can also be used around farms and pastures to perform fly control. You can effectively control horse flies using a misting system and a high quality insecticide like Pystol Misting Concentrate

 

Misting systems that we carry can be controlled using a remote control and customized to your liking. Once the system is installed it can give your around the clock fly control regardless of whether or not you are at the barn.

 

Step 4: Fly Control Maintenance in the Barn

After you have followed the previous three steps and unleashed a fly control arsenal sure to eliminate horse flies, stable flies or any other fly who dares intrude upon your property and hurt your horse,  it's important to implement a daily cleaning and maintenance routine around your barn to protect your horses.

 

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.

 

While there is no fly control program which can completely eliminate flies from your barn permanently using the following steps and implementing a general fly control management program for your barn can help reduce the horse fly population. Not only will your horses be happier with less flies around resting on their bodies and feeding on them, they will be much healthier as well.

 

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