Known for their painful bites, horse flies are among the notorious pests of horses and other animals. You’ll often find them near farms, as they love to feed on the blood of animals and humans.
If you’re experiencing problems with horseflies on your property, you can easily get rid of them with the natural methods outlined in this article.
Horse flies are among the largest flies in the world, so they’re pretty easy to spot. They can be up to an inch and a quarter long with large bodies . They can also be various shades of gray, brown, or black, with huge black or green eyes.
For food, the female loves a good blood meal, while males prefer honeydew and other plant juices.
Additionally, before attempting to lay eggs, female horse flies must have a blood meal to get enough protein so they’re able to reproduce effectively. After emerging from the eggs, the larvae start feeding on small insects they can get a hold of at the breeding sites.
How to Get Rid of Horse Flies Naturally
Here are some home remedies and natural solutions to help eliminate the problem. Try them out and see what works best for you.
1. Yard Clean-Up
Horse flies are drawn to damp areas. You’ll often find them in pasturelands near creeks during the summer.
These pesky little insects also love being around weedy areas and long grass. They’re especially fond of humid environments, which is why they’re often found near pools and beaches.
Additionally, horse flies like to fly around animal feces. So you better get used to cleaning up your yard more frequently, especially in the summertime.
If you have a dog, be prepared to do a lot of poop scooping. Otherwise, you’ll always have horse flies buzzing around.
2. Keep Away Garbage
Make sure your trash cans are all sealed tightly. Lining them with plastic bags will also help to keep odors down and discourage flies from hanging around and laying eggs.
Also, spilled feed can attract these flies, so sweep out the feed room thoroughly every day. You don’t want your horses’ eating area to be a breeding ground for these critters.
3. Sticky Traps
Fly paper is a traditional method used to attract and catch flies, and it’s easy to use. Simply stick it near a light source that’s attracting flies, and you’ll be able to catch them in no time.
You can also make a DIY sticky fly trap by trying the Manning trap. All you need is a stool hanging from the ceiling.
Underneath, hang a dark ball and wrap the legs of the stool in fly paper. This way, any flies that try to fly away will get stuck!
4. Bug Zappers
These traps will kill horseflies with their electrical metal grids. The devices attract the critters to ultraviolet light, and you know what happens next.
5. Bottle Trap
All you need for this homemade horsefly trap is some spoiled meat and a plastic bottle. Cut the top off the bottle and drill a hole in the cap. Next, put the top part upside down inside the bottom part, filling it with water and meat.
The stinky meat will bring in the horseflies. Once they’re in the trap, it will be almost impossible for them to get out.
6. Soap Spray
Another home remedy to keep away horse flies is to make a spray with 2 cups of white vinegar, 4 tablespoons of liquid soap, and 1 cup of warm water.
Just mix it all up and spray away! This solution will kill most pesky insects, but it’s perfectly safe for you, and it will not harm your plants or pets either.
7. Essential Oils
A repellent spray made with certain essential oils is another way to deter horse flies. Just remember that you’ll need to properly coat your horse with the spray for maximum effectiveness.
Oils such as lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and tea tree all work well together for this purpose.
Make a homemade horse fly spray by combining 5 to 10 drops of each essential oil with water in a 32-oz. spray bottle. Shake it all up, and then spritz your horse with the solution.
You can also make a DIY horse fly repellent for humans by combining 15 to 25 drops of citronella oil with 1 ounce of organic witch hazel extract in a spray bottle.
Shake well and use it on your skin. This spray will keep horse flies away from you.
8. Repellent Plants
Repellent plants play an essential role in keeping certain pests at bay.
To keep horseflies away from your property, you can grow some strong-smelling plants like basil, rosemary, bay, lemon balm, catnip, citronella, lavender, and tansy.
These plants work well at keeping flies and other pesky insects away from your house and garden.
9. Remove Manure
If you own a farm, properly disposing of manure is crucial to keeping it free of these pests. Therefore, quickly remove manure from barn stalls.
This includes not only cleaning the barn but also water troughs and other areas that might have cattle dung.
10. Manage Pool Area
If you have a pond or pool close by, possibly in the backyard, you’ll probably see the biggest problem with it during horse fly season. Covering these can help a lot.
You can also put some light traps in place to distract and kill any pesky critters that love to hang around these wet areas.
11. Holistic Fly Defense Repellent Spray
Holistic Fly Defense by ARBICO Organics is one of the best horse fly repellents around.
This essential oil-based repellent is effective against most common nuisance pests, and it’s non-staining too.
Moreover, the spray is totally safe to use inside or outside the barn. Plus, it leaves behind zero oily residue.
12. Dr. Earth Final Stop Pet Spray
This is another safe, natural, non-toxic pet spray. Made with botanical oils, Dr. Earth Final Stop is safe to use directly on your animals.
Moreover, you can use it both indoors and outdoors, and it works great as a deterrent against biting insects. This organic blend will also keep your pet’s fur looking smooth and dry.
This spray works great at keeping ticks, flies, fleas, mosquitoes, gnats, and other biting insects at bay.
13. Equiderma Horse Spray
With a unique blend of botanical oils, aloe, and neem, Equiderma Horse Spray will not only repel blood-sucking and biting insects, but also keep them under control. Plus, it will help keep your horse’s skin free from bacterial and fungal diseases.
This potent horse fly repellent spray also has a great citrusy scent.
14. Essentria IC-3
This product contains a careful blend of essential oils that are great at controlling and killing flying and crawling insects. With Essentria IC-3, you’ll get immediate pest knockdown and long-term control.
To use it, dilute it in water according to the manufacturer’s directions and apply it as a spot treatment.
15. Seal Up Cracks
Horseflies are pesky little critters that can make your home their own personal colony. If you have cracks in the house (or outside of it), these insects can easily make their way in.
The first course of action is to get rid of them with one of the home remedies or products we’ve highlighted. Next, seal up the crack to prevent any more from coming in.
See also: Home remedies to get rid of deer flies.
You can find horse flies just about anywhere, but they’re especially common near bodies of water where they breed. They’re real pests, and they love to suck blood. But don’t worry — these home remedies and natural solutions can get rid of them organically.