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How to Get Rid of Horse Flies


The large bloodsuckers that are on your cattle, making their life miserable are known as horse flies. The female horse fly loves to land on our healthy cattle, pets and us, biting us and leaving us in pain. Horse Flies are attracted to moving objects and dark objects, as well as carbon dioxide. This how-to guide will be the solution for you as it will allow you to get rid of these nuisances and make sure you take safety measures to prevent them from ruining your peace in the future. 

What is a Horse Fly?

A horse fly is a large, dark colored fly, which is about 1 centimeter to 2.5 centimeter in size. They have either transparent wings or solid colored wings with bright colored eyes. They belong to the tabanidae family and they are known as the world’s largest flies. Horse flies can be found almost anywhere except the extreme northern or southern latitudes. Horse flies will mostly be around your cattle, horse stable, pools, ponds, and grassy areas of your house.

Fun Fact: Only the female horse fly bites because they need the blood to produce eggs. Their sharp teeth slice your skin open. They then release an anti-coagulant, which stops the blood from clotting while they are having their meal. The male horsefly feeds on flower nectar.

How the Bite Can Affect You

Although the bite is extremely painful, it is harmless for most people but very uncomfortable. The bite is very quickly visible and it can be very itchy. On the contrary, some people feel extremely hot, weak, nauseous, and dizzy. As soon as you see a bite, it is recommended to go to a general physician so you can get the help you need to get rid of the pain and discomfort.

Three Ways to Get Rid of Horse Flies

  1. Using a Disposable Fly Trap

Using a disposable flytrap can be one of the best methods to trap and get rid of horseflies. Disposable flytraps have an attractant that is activated under sunlight and with water. When it is activated, it attracts the horsefly to enter. When they have entered, there is no way for them to get out.

The usage of this trap is very simple. All you need to do is add water into the attractant and hang it up. This trap is a safe alternative to control the horseflies that are resistant to pesticides. The best part is that a single trap can capture twenty thousand flies and it can be used repeatedly for a couple weeks.

  1. The Coke Bottle and Rotten Meat Trap

This simple trap has been a successful method for many people. What you will need in order to execute this trap is:

  • A large empty bottle of coke

  • A pair of scissors or a sharp knife to cut the bottle

  • A sharp object or a drill to make some holes

  • Cellophane tape

  • 50-100 grams of rotten meat

Now that you have gathered all your material, you will need to cut the bottle in half, horizontally. After this is done, drill a 1 cm hole on the top of the bottle cap. Then, place the pieces of rotten meat drowned in water in the lower half of the bottle. After you have done this, take the upper part of the bottle, flip it upside down, and put it on the lower half. Seal the edges with tape and hang the trap near the infestation. The smell of the rotten meat will attract the flies and once they have entered, it will be almost impossible for them to escape.

  1. Sticky Fly Paper Trap with Odor Attractants

Although sticky flypaper traps are effective, it has been proven that adding odor bait can make the trap more effective. In order to be successful, you will need a large sticky paper flytrap and strong odors such as:

  • Carbon Dioxide: Carbon dioxide is known as a horse fly attractant. You will need large quantities of CO2 gas in order for this to be successful in large fields.

  • Acetone (Nail Polish Remover): This is a component of cattle breath and can be used to attract horse flies.

  • Octenol: This is a component of cattle sweat so it attracts these flies. This chemical is slightly pricier than the rest.

  • Ammonia: This is a component present in cattle urine. Therefore, it attracts some flies.

  • Cow Urine: When cow urine has aged for over 2 weeks, it attracts the horse flies. This is a popular attractant and freely accessible.

After picking the right odor, place it next to the stick flypaper and it will destroy the horseflies.


DIY Repellants

It has been shown that horseflies hate the smell of natural oils.

  • Repellent 1: You will need 1 cup of white vinegar, half cup of bath oil, half cup of water, and half tablespoon of eucalyptus oil. Mix these well and apply.

  • Repellent 2: You will need 1 cup of light mineral oil, ¼ cup of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon citronella oil and eucalyptus oil and 1 teaspoon of lemon dish soap. Mix everything well and apply to yourself and your pets!

Solutions Pest & Lawn Can Help You With Your Horse Fly Problem

When home remedies aren’t getting the job done, Solutions Pest & Lawn can deliver a worthy solution straight to your doorstep. There are a number of products we have in stock which can successfully treat horse flies and depending on the size of your horse fly problem, we recommend using more than one method of control to get rid of horse flies quickly and effectively.

When it comes to fly traps as suggested above, a disposable fly trap like the Flies Be Gone fly trap has been proven to work well to capture horse flies. Simply unpack, add water and an attractant contained in 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.

If you live on a farm and have livestock, a liquid spray such as Essentria IC3 Natural Pesticide  can provide around your yard to deter horse flies 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 horse flies from biting and attacking.

Finally, 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 specially designed to target horse flies like Pystol Misting Concentrate.  You can purchase a fogger or mister on our website as well.


Remember, you need to prevent what you can control. Preventing can ensure that you stay safe and no long-term damages happen to you. Always stay protected!

We hope these tips have helped you figure out how to move forward with taking care of your horse fly problem. If you need further help, feel free to call us at 800-479-6583, email us at askapro@solutionsstores.com or live chat with us on our website and we’ll be happy to assist you.

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