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Horse Flies

Does anyone have suggestions for horse fly management?
The nasty biting horse flies have suddenly exploded very early this year (thank you mild winter) in southern New England.

I have a newish horse since the fall who is mental about them. He did fine with the little gnats and noseeums earlier in the spring, so I was not expecting this dramatic reaction. I have him in a fly sheet with swat, fly spray, and clack - I know they are sight hunters but I’m trying everything!

He just stands there looking all upset, then gallops arounds for a while, then rinse and repeat. They others (even the chestnut mare) do the normal swish and kick, but continue on with their grazing.

Looking for suggestions - fly sheets that have worked well, the traps, anything??

Traps are the only real help, the black ball visual kind.they are not drawn to scents, but rather sights. I have had no luck with fly sheets. I end up with horses flies trapped under them from the flies going for the sheath.


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again - my most favorite horse thing I’ve ever bought is a Horsepal Flytrap. It works. It’s decreased my horse fly (especially the big bombers) population, and it’s tremendously satisfying to check on it daily and see how many flies I’ve caught. It doesn’t work well enough for the deer flies, but they aren’t nearly as bothersome anyway. I put it out in May so it’s already out there once they start appearing.

PS - this is not a paid endorsement, lol!


Ditto to this. I am a new convert. I put my trap out a few weeks ago and it is working well. Last year I used the black balls with Tanglefoot, however, the tanglefoot melted off in the hot sun, so on the advise of a friend, I purchased a Horsepal.

Such a good laugh! I"m ordering! :stuck_out_tongue:

No lie - I’ve been known to place an Adirondack chair in the field next to the trap and enjoy an icy cold gin and tonic at the end of a long day!


Thanks for the endorsements!

I also tried just the big black ball with gooey stuff on it. Only caught a could of mosquitos last year. Not worth the effort or the mess taking it down. I’ve seen the Horse Pal traps and the H traps, but I wasn’t sure how well they worked especially after the failure last year.

I’m willing to try if everyone says they work! Sounds like people have the best luck with the the Horse Pal ones.


I want a picture of that! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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That is really fascinating. Where do you have yours located?

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I move mine around in my field. I think these nasty flies have flight paths, so I find moving it around every couple weeks to different areas of the field helps. If it doesn’t seem like I’m catching many, I just move it, and sometimes just 10 or 20 feet.

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I’ll see what I can do!

The horsepal traps did not work at all for me, and I tried 3 locations. Do you put them in the field with the horses, or outside the field? (I put them outside)

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I watched a TicTok the other day where the owner of a fly sensitive horse zip tied livestock ear tags that are impregnated with fly repellant.

She braided them into her retired pony’s mane, by the bridle path. She had one zip tied to the halter for her horse in work. She also braided them in their tail.

They last for several weeks and while ugly, (they are bright orange) they seem to work with certain fly species.

She pokes otu the black part. And they are cheap!

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Just make sure you use the pyrethrum ones and not the organophosphate ear tags. As a vet once told me “It is easy to kill a horse but hard to kill a cow”. Many years ago, before people were manufacturing fly leggings and I was having a tick problem (on my horse), I sewed cattle ear tags to the tops of my home-made fly wraps/leggings. No more ticks on the horse and I supposed it helped with flies also.


Good to know Susan!

Inside the field. My pony is a smarty pants and will graze right next to it.


Makes sense. I will have to try it, although there’s 9 horses in that field, so I’m not sure the fly traps will remain intact . . .

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Yeah, I’ll have to keep mine on the outside too. My horses will destroy anything!

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I have mine on the inside of the field. The 3yo has knocked it over several times, so I really should run a fence around it. It is on my to do list.

Didn’t your trap come with the metal post that anchors it? The legs on my trap are hollow and you place the trap so one leg goes over the post and keeps it from being knocked over by wind or pesky ponies. Granted, I have to hammer it in the ground when it’s dry and some areas wont work if there’s a boulder buried there…