If you have a horse, it's likely that you're pretty attached to your equine buddy. Because of this, it can be hard to see your horse in pain, and horse flies can cause your horse a lot of discomfort. If you want to take care of your horse properly, it's a good idea to learn how to get rid of horse flies.
As with any type of pest, there are a few things that you can do to eliminate horse flies on your property. But you'll need to do a little research to find an option that will work best for you. Believe us -- your horse will thank you for it.
For the good of your horse, it's a great idea to learn how to get rid of horse flies as soon as it becomes a problem. Even if it's not a problem right now, you should take a few minutes to educate yourself right now. It's always good to be proactive when it comes to the well-being of your horse.
What Are Horse Flies?
Horse flies are a breed of flies, like the common housefly. However, horse flies are much more dangerous and ferocious than the common housefly. They can really do severe harm to your horse.
The common housefly can't really hurt anyone. It doesn't have tearing and cutting appendages inside its mouth. However, a horse fly does.
Horse flies tend to land on the bodies of farm animals -- particularly cattle and horses -- and draw their blood when they bite them. They typically bite the horse's legs, underside, neck, and withers. You may think this isn't the worst thing, because mosquitoes draw blood, and those bites don't necessarily hurt.
However, the bite of a horse fly is quite painful. They are capable of tearing flesh, due to their scissor-like jaws. The bites will show up as wheals (little lumps) or papules (pimples) and have a central ulcer that is part of the characteristic appearance.
Horse flies can either be blackish or yellowish-brown. Typically, they're between 20 and 25 millimeters long and have hairs all over their bodies. They have large heads, with vividly colored metallic eyes.
The eyes of a horse fly are continuous -- or holoptic -- in males and separated -- or dichoptic -- in females. They have one pair of wings (as opposed to dragonflies, for example, which have two pairs of wings). The mouth of a horse fly contains six piercing parts that can cut right through the flesh of a horse or any other animal.
Horse flies tend to be present in warm and humid conditions. For this reason, you're more likely to find them if you live near a lake or beach.
Typically, they're also found in low-lying pastures that are located near streams or creeks. Horse flies prefer warm and damp climates because these are the ideal environment for the development of the immature stages. The female horse flies feed on the blood of animals, while the male flies collect pollen.
Female horse flies are attracted to carbon dioxide and dark moving objects, which is how they locate the animals that they're going to bite. They need to drink blood before they are able to lay eggs. This is the only way that they'll have sufficient protein to be able to reproduce.
Why Horse Flies Are Dangerous to Your Horse
There are a few different reasons why horse flies are dangerous to your horse. First of all, the bite of a horse fly is quite painful. These bites can also become infected in some instances.
Allergic reactions are also possible. This won't happen with every horse, but it's always a possibility. It's particularly burdensome on both the horse and owner when it's a working or competing horse.
Biting isn't the only problem. Other nuisance horse flies can secrete substances in sensitive areas of your horse's body. These include your horse's nose, eyes, and mouth, among other parts.
Horse flies can also spread a variety of different diseases. These include anthrax, tularemia, hog cholera, and anaplasmosis. In some cases, infected livestock will start losing weight in an unhealthy manner.
Horse flies are typically not harmful to humans. However, they can transmit swamp fever to horses, which can be fatal for your horse.
How to Get Rid of Horse Flies
Knowing just how dangerous horse flies can be, you'll probably want to know how to get rid of horse flies if it comes up. There are actually several options. These include both traps and solutions that you can either mix yourself or buy.
If you're trying to figure out how to get rid of horse flies, there are many different traps that you can use.
There are various physical traps that you can use against horse flies. Light traps are good for horse flies, as well as other unwanted insects. The insects will be attracted to the light, and then when they land on it, they'll get trapped on glue cards or electrocuted by the light and will instantly be killed. These are some of the most effective ways of how to get rid of horse flies.
If you're familiar with flypaper, you know that it can trap houseflies. It works with horse flies as well. There are also traps that hold food in bags as bait: The horse fly will enter the bag through some sort of funnel and will not be able to escape once inside.
There are also traps that have visual targets that are designed to be alluring to horse flies. These targets are usually signals of the presence of prey to horse flies. The flies will approach and see that there is no prey there, but by that time, they'll already be trapped.
There are also many homemade traps that you can make if you want to know how to get rid of horse flies.
One thing you can do is hang a stool from the ceiling of your horse's stable. Attach a dark-colored ball to a rope that is hanging from the bottom of the stool.
Tape flypaper to the bottom of the stool. Every few hours, go in and move the ball so that it swings. Because horse flies are attracted to movement and dark colors, they'll gravitate towards the ball.
Once the horse flies come over and see that there is no prey there, they'll fly in an upward direction. Then, they'll get caught on the flypaper.
Anyone is interested in learning how to get rid of horse flies might also want to try liquid solutions. Insecticides are much more likely to be the best fly spray for horses compared to any homemade solution, but the homemade solutions are worth a try as well.
Field trials have confirmed that treating animals daily with synergized pyrethrins, which is a naturally occurring insecticide, can make horse flies bite less frequently without actually hurting your animal. This substance is produced by plants of the chrysanthemum genus, and it is considered to be one of the safest insecticides. You can get it from either an agricultural chemical firm or farm supply store.
Alternatively, dish soap and vinegar spray is another answer for how to get rid of horse flies. Dish soap contains borax, which is an effective insecticide but will not have any adverse effects on your horses. What you should do is mix two cups of white vinegar, one cup of warm water, and four tablespoons of dish soap, and spray it on the horse flies to watch them die right away.
You can also use organophosphates or organochlorines to kill horse flies. Always make sure that the solution is safe to spray on the animal before doing so. Some of these will not be safe for your horse, so you would just need to use them to kill the horse flies directly without exposing your horse to the solution.
In your quest to understand how to get rid of horse flies, there are many homemade solutions that you can make. Of course, these aren't guaranteed to be effective, and they won't kill the horse flies. They're just going to make it more likely that the horse flies won't actually bother your animals.
One of these mixes has 1 cup of white vinegar, 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup of Avon Skin So Soft bath oil, and 1/2 tbsp of eucalyptus oil. A different option has one part lavender oil, two parts alcohol, and two parts water. Another has 1 cup of light mineral oil, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of eucalyptus essential oil, 1 teaspoon of lemon dish soap, and one teaspoon of citronella oil.
In any of these cases, you just mix all of the ingredients together. Then, you can apply your homemade repellent directly to the skin of your horse.
Shoo, Fly, Shoo!
Given everything you now know about these pesky insects, you probably understand why it's a great idea to learn how to get rid of horse flies. They're not only a nuisance, but they can cause genuine harm to your beloved horse. They can cause your horse pain through their bites alone. But even worse, they can transmit diseases that can end up being fatal.
In order to protect your horse, it's a good idea to look into the different options for how to get rid of horse flies. There are traps and repellents, and you should use whatever ends up being effective for you and your horse.
What do you have to say about everything we've just told you? Let us know by leaving a comment!