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How to get rid of horseflies once and for all

Horse fly

Photo Credit to Saavem

One of the most vicious breed of flies are horseflies. These are not like ordinary house flies, as they have tearing and cutting type moth parts. Horseflies are an irritation to live stock and it is mainly the female ones that sit on the body of cattle or horse and draw their blood by biting them. Unlike mosquitoes, the bite from a horse fly is much more painful, as they have scissor-like jaws that can slit flesh. Horseflies are mostly found near lakes and beaches, as the atmosphere tends to be both warm and humid.

How To Identify Horseflies?

Before we go on to talk about how to get rid of horse flies, it is important to distinguish them from the ordinary house fly.

Physical Appearance

The color of a horsefly is a yellowish-brown or sometimes black. They tend to be 20-25mm long with hairs all over the body and an enormous head. They are very much like honey bees, except they only have one pair of wings. The wings are covered in spots that are faint and smoky. Metallic color shades beautifully color the eyes of a horsefly and in females, the eyes are separated (dichoptic) and compound, whereas in males they are continuous (holloptic). The mouth of a horsefly is composed of six skin piercing parts.

Behavior And Habitat

You will usually find horseflies in low lying grasslands near streams, tanks or creeks. This is due to the fact they love climates that are warm and damp. The reason behind this is these climates are preferred for the immature stages to grow.

Feeding Habits

Female horseflies feed on animal blood and male horseflies are pollen collectors and feed on honey, flower nectar, and dew plant juices. Prior to laying eggs, a female horsefly requires a blood meal. This provides them with the sufficient amount of protein to reproduce successfully.

Life Cycle

Female horseflies lay eggs under or on vegetation or gravels, which are close to water sources. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae falls into the moist earth or water and feed on small insects. Larvae are spindle-shaped and white in color. The larval stage lasts up to a year and after this, the larvae set into the soil and start to pupate. The pupal period can range from 6-12 days. Within 3-10 weeks, adult flies come out of the puparium.


Horseflies can cause damage to both people and animals:

  • The bite from a horsefly is extremely painful.
  • Horseflies are the cause of diseases, such as leucocytozoan.
  • Livestock loses weight due to horseflies.
  • Diseases like hog cholera, anthrax, tularemia, and anaplasmosis are transmitted by horseflies.

Getting Rid Of Horseflies

Listed below are a couple of ways that will help you control horseflies.

Disposable fly traps – a disposable fly trap is the best method to trap horseflies. The trap features an attractant that is activated by water and sunlight. Upon activation, the attractant attracts the flies to enter and become trapped.

Homemade fly trap – due to the fact that horseflies are attracted to moving dark objects, you can easily make your own at home in order to attract them and trap them. To make the trap, you will need:

  • A hard string.
  • A medium sized ball that is dark in color.
  • A fly paper (homemade or commercial).
  • A stool.

Okay, now to make the trap. Firstly, you need tie the open end of the string to the bottom of the stool, with the ball attached to the string. Secondly, you need to cover the legs of the stool with the fly paper. Thirdly, you simply hang the stool in the place where there is a horsefly invasion.

After every few hours, you need to push the ball so it swings in the air. The swing motion of the ball will attract the horseflies. As soon as they come near the trap, they will get stuck on the fly paper, and you’ve got them trapped!

Use insecticides –spraying insecticides can kill horseflies. However, the majority of horsefly breeds have become resistant to insecticides. If you do use an insecticide to kill horseflies, you shouldn’t spray it directly on the livestock.

Use dish soap spray – using dish soap is very effective and can kill horseflies. It contains the insecticide borax and doesn’t have an ill-effect on you or the animals.

Making dish soap spray is very simple and requires you to use an empty bottle and add 7 to 10 drops of dish soap. After this, you add 2 to 3 drops white vinegar and two cups of warm water. After a good shake, your dish soap spray is ready foruse.

Natural oils – one part of lavender oil mixed with five parts of alcohol or water can be sprayed over the infested area and repel horseflies. The substitutes to lavender oil are: Pennyroyal, Lemongrass, Peppermint, and Eucalyptus oil.

Prevention Tips

Cleaning the barn twice a week and spraying insecticides frequently will help to keep your animals clean. A proper drainage system needs to be used so there is no water standing in the shed. Trimming weeds and grass is recommended and using face masks, repellents tags and ear nets on your animals is also a good idea.

We highly recommend our new all-natural formula that uses essential oils to repel horseflies and other flying insects. You can order the NO FLY ZONE horse feed at our online store. Want to get more savings? Bundle it with two buckets of Harmonize your horse feed. Learn more how you can get savings >

This cartoon sums up > You Can’t Shoe a Horse Fly

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