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How to Get Rid of Horse Flies

Horseflies happen to be one of the most ferocious and aggressive species of flies around. Do not confuse them with the innocent and harmless house flies, as horse flies are capable of rendering a lot more damage to your body.

Unlike the common house fly, horse flies happen to have sharp and blade-like mouth-parts. These parts can easily tear into the flesh of humans and livestock, leaving unimaginable damage.

Horseflies are a significant irritant wherever they are found, and believe us when we say that you won’t want your home or your farm infested by these dangerous flies. You must take preventive action to keep these hazardous flies out of your home or farm.

However, if you are unable to maintain the precautionary measures, you must follow all due steps to rid your home or farm from them.

In this article, we look at all possible techniques to scare horse flies away from your home or farm. Remember not to take these flies lightly, as they can suck the blood and energy out of your livestock.

Even in your home, they can prove to be dangerous for kids and senior loved ones.

Horsefly facts

Horseflies are known to frequently infest farms, where they tend to rip in the skin of livestock, leaving them battered and bruised. Since animals do not have hands to shoo them away, they can sit there sucking on their blood for hours and even days.

They get their name from their particular tendency to feed on horse blood.

When it comes to size, horse flies happen to be larger than some of the other normal flies. They measure around an inch and can vary based on species.

The average horse fly will measure from half an inch to 1.25 inches. Horseflies happen to be active during the summer season.

This is when they infest your home and your farms leaving you incapable of taking any action. They hang around areas with warm and humid temperatures.

Since their primary nutrition comes from blood, horse flies require lots of blood to produce eggs for reproduction. Due to their nutritional needs, they live nearby humans and livestock to feed on their blood.

Even more than humans, they rely on livestock for their dietary intake. Livestock is incapable of taking evasive action when attacked by a horsefly, which is why they are easy targets.

What are horse flies attracted to?

Female horse flies happen to feed on blood because of their reproductive needs, while male horse flies generally feed on plant juices, flower nectar, honeydew, and other liquids from plants. As we have already mentioned, female horse flies need blood for reproducing, which is why they hover around livestock and humans.

Female horse flies feed on small insects near them during immature stages such as larva.

Where do horse flies live?

Horseflies are most found near low lying pastures such as streams, tanks, or creeks. They love the warm and damp climates, which is why you will mostly find them in places with a hot and humid environment.

Such atmospheres are feasible for their immature growth stages.

Horseflies are usually attracted to dark objects that move and release carbon dioxide. Through these means, they locate their prey.

How dangerous can horse flies be?

As we know by now, female horse flies do bite livestock and humans. They prey on dark moving objects releasing carbon dioxide.

Female horse flies usually tend to chew on the legs and the body. Unlike deer flies, they do not bite moving hosts higher up on the body.

Deer flies will bite animals and humans on the head or neck, while horse flies will chew on the legs or feet. Symptoms you will display when bitten by a horse fly include:

  • Localized swelling around the area that has been bitten
  • Persistent itching around the area that has been bitten. Paying heed to the itching needs would lead towards the wound growing even worse.
  • People allergic to anticoagulant compounds can display highly severe reactions when bit by horseflies. These flies tend to inject anticoagulant salvia during the blood-feeding process, leading to an adverse reaction. You might even experience swelling around the eyes and wheezing as a reaction to the bite.

There is no conclusive evidence to prove that horse flies can be deadly. They do transmit isolated viruses at times, but the research is still elementary and hasn’t reached a definite conclusion.

How to Get Rid of Horse Flies

We now get to the crux of the topic and talk about ways you can follow to get rid of horse flies from your home or farm.

Using Fly Traps

This is perhaps the simplest means of getting rid of horse flies. You can create a DIY trap of your liking and can place it conveniently to catch these flies in their habitat.

Some of the traps you can implement here include:

Disposable Fly Traps

These traps come with an attractant that will attract the horseflies with sunlight and water. Once you pour some water in the attractant and place it under some sunlight within the natural habitat of horse flies, you will see your attractant lure many of them.

The best part about these traps is that you can catch over 20,000 horse flies in one go. One of these can be used for several weeks before being disposed of.

Homemade Fly Stool Trap

You can also use a homemade fly stool trap to attract horse flies and catch them using their hunting techniques. As we know by now, horse flies are attracted to dark moving objects.

You can use this information to attract flies and kill them. You will need the following items for this trap:

  • A tough string
  • A stool
  • Flypaper, either commercial or homemade
  • A dark-colored medium-sized ball

The trap is easy to make and requires you to hang the stool in the infested and place the flypaper around the legs of the stool. Then, you can attach a medium-sized to one of the legs of the stool; after every 5 minutes or so, you can move the medium ball to attract horse flies.

Once the flies see the dark moving object, they will surely feel drawn to it and would rush over to it. This is when the flypaper will come in handy and will trap the flies.

Eventually, you will be able to catch and dispose of a majority of these flies using this method.

Coke Bottle and Rotten Meat Trap

This trap is easy to make and has been used by plenty of users before you as well. The items you need for this trap include:

  • An empty bottle of coke
  • Drill or any sharp object for cutting holes
  • 50 grams of rotten meat
  • Cellophane tape
  • A sharp knife and a pair of scissors

You can create this trap by cutting the top of a coke bottle and drilling a 1 cm hole in the cap for the container. Now, you can take the cut off the lower part of the bottle to place the rotten meat inside it.

Once set, you can put the cut off the upper part of the container in an upside-down position. The container should look something like this now:

Place this bottle in an infested area when prepared and see the horse flies run inside to the rotten meat. Once inside, they will find it hard to come out.

You can catch many of these flies using this method.

Using Insecticide

Theoretically speaking, you can quickly kill horse fly larvae using potent insecticides. But, since they live near rivers, streams, and water bodies, doing so would require you to take the risk of making the water polluted or poisonous.

Hence, you cannot possibly treat them in the larval stage.

However, you can get synergized pyrethrins insecticide to spray on the body of your livestock to kill and keep horseflies away. If your livestock is under threat from a horse fly infestation, then it is best to spray them every day with the insecticide until the very last of them has been killed.


While there are plenty of commercially available repellents for spraying on horse flies and killing them, we recommend making a cost-effective solution at home. Use dish soap and vinegar and mix it up with warm water to make a potent spray.

Once mixed perfectly, spray the repellent on horse flies and see them die instantly because of it.

Horseflies can spell a lot of danger for your livestock and loved ones. Thankfully with the methods we have mentioned here, you can quickly get rid of them from your farms and your home.