If you’ve ever been outdoors, you might notice horse files flying around. Although outdoor experiences are fun, tiny insects can ruin them known as horseflies. These insects can be notorious for spoiling your fun by buzzing all around your ears and swarming off your skin, causing painful bites thanks to their scissor-like jaws. Unlike many insect bites such as mosquitoes, their bites don’t leave a mark, but these horseflies can leave a big “Ouch” on your skin.

Get rid of House fly from your yards
Get rid of House fly from your yards | Image Credit – Flickr

Let us take a glance at what these flies look like? They are usually easy to identify like most flies; you can place them by these characteristics; they appear from dark brown to a grey color, have very large and shouts bodies ranging from ¾ to 1 ½ inch in length, and have more enormous eyes in green or black.

Table of Contents

What causes horse flies?

Horseflies are found throughout the year and around the world. The breeding season causes a swarm of houseflies to appear in your backyards. Laying eggs in a female horse fly involves searching for blood. Horseflies attack in the groups, leaving the victims helpless to seek help. Here are the causes of horse flies.

1. Wet Lands

Wet floors
Wet floors | Image Credit – Geograph

Horseflies usually target wet areas because of shiny and dark objects moving on the damp site. We tend to wet our land and yards to cool down our ground in the hot weather. We are also not aware that even pools and backyards are the number one attracting horse flies.

2. Water Sources

Water Sources
Swimming pools are likely to attract houseflies | Image Credit – Pixabay

Horseflies are attracted to places with a lot of water; if you have swimming pools in your yard or any ponds with a shiny surface, then horseflies are mostly present there. When people enter pools to swim, the primary dark-colored moving entity appears in high volumes. The heated carbon dioxide in the water of ponds and pools attracts flies, who flock to these sources.

3. Warm Climate

Warm Climate
Man sweating because of warm climate | Image Credit – Freepik

The presence of horseflies is usually in hot and warm climates and weathers, and they are the most active during June, July, and August. Most horseflies are easily attracted to Barnes and areas with dark shades. They find warm locations to attack their prey but are usually absent when it is windy and cold.

Horsefly damages

Horseflies can be annoying and damage the skin barriers of cattle and farm animals. Here are some damages that it can inspect if you don’t treat them appropriately.

1. Painful bites in humans, livestock, and pets

Painful bites in humans
Painful bites in humans | Image Credit – Wikimedia Commons

Massive horse fly attacks with horse fly bites and persistent biting can cause livestock to become severely ill. They make it harder to work and produce with strength. Viruses and bacteria can infect animals and transmit to other species. Animals are also at risk of contracting harmful protozoans, nematodes, and leucocytozoan diseases.

Equine Infectious Anemia, often known as swamp fever, affects horses and other animals. It causes weight loss and fatigue. The repercussions of a horsefly bite are so severe that they can result in the animal’s death. There are two types of viruses; one causes the animal to die, while the other causes him to lose his life despite slowly having no significant health problems.

2. Beef Cattle Growth Stunts

It shortens the life cycle and reduces the weight of meat cattle. Adults can contract anaplasmosis. The Cattle might get anemia and lose weight due to these diseases; cattle in the southern United States have seen a 50% death rate.

3. Reduce Milk Production of Dairy Cows

Reduce Milk Production of Dairy Cows
Reduce Milk Production of Dairy Cows | Image Credit – Pixabay

They also diminish milk output and have an impact on feeding efficiency. The process of sucking blood results in damage to the wound being hidden, making it difficult to detect the pain.

How to reduce Horse flies risk?

Here are some ways listed below on reducing horseflies’ risk.

1. Maintaining your yard

Maintaining your yard
Maintaining your yard | Image Credit – South Bay Green Gardens

Horseflies love damp locations and hot weather, and it’s typical to find them in pasturelands around creeks during the summer. Around residences, they enjoy weedy sites and long grass that can trap moisture and recreate the humid pasture habitat. Horseflies can also be pests to people who hang out at the beach or local pool.

2. Removing Garbage from your Yards

Horseflies are mostly present here; food is involved; if you have kept your garbage dirty, consider removing it or cleaning it from your yards or outdoors. The dustbins should also be held snugly so that the flies do not get the opportunity to linger around the trash.

3. Clean Up After Pets

Although home remedies will help your horse when flies are bothering him, it’s even better to reduce the number of flies around in the first place. To prevent flies from infesting your property, keep it as clean and tidy as possible. Muck out your horses daily and regularly pick up manure from pasture. Horseflies breed in water, so try to remove any standing water, including rain barrels. You should empty, clean out, and refill all water troughs regularly to get rid of larvae.

Methods to get rid of Horse Flies

Most of the horse flies are usually found in yards, so we have gathered some information or steps you can do to remove them from your yards organically.

1. Homemade Fly Trap

One of the methods to save some money and lessen horse files is to make your housemade fly traps. It’s organic and can save you some time going to the market. You need a stool, a medium-sized dark ball, flypaper, and a strong string.

The process to assemble it is pretty simple first, you need to tie a string to the stool bottom and attach the dark-colored ball to the other end. Wrap the flypaper over the stool legs and hang the construction in the area with horsefly infestation. Push the ball from time to time to attract insects and let them get stuck on the flypaper.

2. White Vinegar

White Vinegar
White Vinegar | Image Credit – Flickr

You can use vinegar to remove horse flies from your yard; you can either spray it to your yard to keep the insects away or feed some vinegar to your horses. If you prefer to feed the horse vinegar, you can use apple cider vinegar and mix it with its drinking water and give 2 to 4 ounces per day. 

You can keep it at the ratio of 1 cup of apple cider vinegar with 20 gallons of water, mix it with hay and give it to your horse. If you use it as a spray, you can mix one part of distilled white vinegar and one part of water to get rid of the insects.

3. Essential Oils

Essential Oils
Essential Oils | Image Credit – Pixabay

Essential oils can be a great way to get rid of files as they act as an unpleasant smell to these insects. These essential oils include citronella, geranium, eucalyptus, lemongrass, thyme, lavender, tea tree, pine, and clove. We can dilute these essential oils with water, aloe vera lotion, or gel at a ratio of no more than one ounce of essential oils per 16 ounces of water, oil, or lotion. 

Once you’ve mixed your essential oils, you can put it in your spray bottle and spray it on your horse but avoid their eyes. One thing to remember is that net essential oils could irritate your horse’s skin.

4. Flypaper

Within a month, a single fly can produce up to 1,000 offspring. The method of trapping them is an effective and fulfilling way to kill those flies. The most common trapping products are jars with an attractant, either natural or chemical, which attracts flies where they can’t escape. 

Another effective and time-honored method is flypaper. You can place either or both of these widgets liberally throughout your barn, runs, and corrals. If your house happens near the barn, you may even want to put a jar near the back door.

5. Organic Insecticides

Organic Insecticides
Organic Insecticides | Image Credit – Flickr

To get rid of horseflies in your yard, you can spray the whole yard with organic insecticides or homemade insecticides in the surrounding areas. You can use synergized pyrethrin, a natural insecticide for treating farm animals. It is very for livestock, and you can use it by following the instructions given on the pack. You can get it quickly from a farm. There are solutions prepared explicitly for particular animals, so you need to buy the animals you want to treat.

6. Soap Spray

Soap Spray
Soap Spray | Image Credit – Flickr

You can make a spray by blending a cup of warm water and two cups of white vinegar. After that, add four tablespoons of dish soap, stir well, and spray the mixture over the flies. This solution will kill most insects but is entirely safe for humans, animals, and plants.


There is no uncertainty that horse flies are very dangerous. They can spread several diseases, including anthrax, hog cholera anaplasmosis, and filariasis, but taking the right steps and using proper methods can give you a better solution to reducing the problem.

(Last Updated on May 31, 2022 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Thinley Doma Ghale holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Kathmandu University. She enjoys writing articles on climate change animals and loves to travel and experience new ideas, places, meeting people, and learning from them. As a social science student, research has always been her area of interest.