OMG the flies already!

Just venting, I know there’s not much that can be done…BUT I can’t remember a year the flies were this bad already, and I’m not talking stable flies, the greenheads and horseflies are AWFUL!!

My poor horses are miserable! They usually only come in for meals and naps, but this past week I’ve had to keep them in until 11 or so, otherwise the horseflies swarm them, and then they are pacing at the gate by 3 to come back in, covered in welts and blood :woman_facepalming:t2: I can’t put them back out until dark or they just get attacked! It’s worse than I can ever remember, usually we deal with a couple weeks of horseflies in late summer and that’s it.

They live in shoo-fly boots, masks, and are doused in fly spray. Nothing helps. I have fly sheets, but it’s 100 and I think the horseflies would bite right through them.

We had a ton of rain and cooler temps and then literally overnight a heat advisory for a week straight. I’m sure that’s got a lot do to with it. It’s only June and I’m already ready for fall :weary:

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Are you in MN? Your weather descriptions have a familiar ring.

They suck, literally and figuratively. I took off fly sheet Tues bc it was oppressively hot. Put it back on today as it was cooler, but it will have to come off again this weekend as temps are going UP.

I wish I knew at what point it becomes better to let them go naked but be worried by the flies and moving, or to keep it on. In any case, tonight I opted not to take a bareback spin around the place b/c I figured it would end in disaster due to the bugs. It was such a nice night, too. Boo.

I do leave on the leggings in the heat, which are one of the best inventions, ever

I also found a tick in my mare’s ear this afternoon. Last summer she developed a white spot on her hip due to the serum reaction/ sore one caused. It enrages me, as it is the only blemish on her otherwise delightfully flawless coat. :angry: :rage:

How humid is it where you are? I might try adding fly sheets and monitor them. They might want to come inside under some fans just for the heat of the day anyway but maybe you can some more hours outside with fly sheets. The last barn I was at had some nasty deer flies among the regular flies, mosquitos and horse flies and no see-ums, and fly sheets did work.

@Hippolyta I’m in MO aka Misery. Moved here from CA years ago and still haven’t acclimated to the miserable weather :rofl:

@IPEsq Currently 75%, its pretty gross. I have been putting them in their sheets overnight and they seem happier in the morning but with this humidity I’m not sure how they’d do in the heat of the day. I have the super light-weight Amigo Mio sheets, which are definitely cooler than most.

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We’ve had the most god-awful gnats. Like…it’s snowing gnats. A gnat blizzard. Usually, they don’t show up in our area until very late summer/early fall (because we still get 90+ degree days in October). But they’ve been with us since late May now, and show no signs of going away. Occasionally when the humidity drops and the breeze picks up they go away, but they come back with a vengeance as soon as it gets hot, sticky, and still again.

The deer flies are around too. I can’t hack near the tree lines anymore, they swarm us like crazy. And the occasional big black bomber does find its way to the middle of the horse’s back (especially on the wash rack…why is that? How I love getting swatted across the face with a wet tail.)

My guy lives in his fly mask and gets the leggings when he’s out. He also gets a fresh slathering of SWAT down the midline of his belly and sides of his sheath and backs of his ears, and then about three coats of Tri-Tec spray all over. Then he’s ready to go outside.


The flies are bad here too and I put mine on Simplifly in April…of course my neighbor doesn’t do that…I use masks and Shoo Fly boots and fly sheets too and I am going to order some Ecovet fly spray. It smells terrible but is the only thing I have used that actually works

Whenever I encounter these things I find myself wondering how many people have died from a horse/oxen/mule/whatever deerfly response. Wherever they are is definiitely a no-go zone.

They are so evil. An entomologist told me that they actually bite off a chunk of flesh, then essentially lap up the blood. Ouch!



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They are awful here, too. It’s unreal, I have never seen flies so bad.

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I’m in VA, the flies are SO BAD. The worst I have ever seen them here. The biting flies and deer flies are so bad it’s difficult to ride. And the gnats…. I’ve never had any issues with gnats here before.

It’s so bad I’m resorting to pesticides which I hate using.

Weirdly enough almost no stable flies. Usually the flies are bad this time of year and then die out as it gets hotter. But this year almost no stable flies at all.

Can the horses spend the daylight inside and out at night w fly sheets? Mine would never survive outside daytime in summer. We have the most annoy gnats and midges etc here in PA. I left Florida in May and there were fewer insects. I wonder if fl has fewer gnats and midges overall. Does anyone know?

Egads! That is evil.

I like when the dragonflies show up. We’ve got some, but usually by July they are out in such numbers that you can see what seems like thousands of them when looking across a field. They’re so pretty, and they chow down on their obnoxious, painful, disease-carrying cousins.


We’re in a prolonged drought, so flies are practically nonexistent here at this time. However, previously I read on CoTH about sprinkling water that contained BTi mosquito dunks on fly breeding areas.

We used the small pieces of BTi dunks, inside a small net bag, submerged in a full watering can, and sprinkled the BTi water liberally in and around our barn and dry lot. Back when we had rain (and flies), this did seem to make a noticeable difference, if done consistently.

Easy, inexpensive, and seemed effective.

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@StormyDay Same here! Stable flies aren’t bad, it’s the bigger, nasty biting flies that are everywhere! It’s awful.

@EmilyM I’ve considered that, but if they had access to the pasture overnight I’d be out of grass by August. Right now, they’re dry lotted at night and have pasture access from about 10:30-4 or 5 or whenever they come up to the barn for dinner. At the moment, they’re only staying in the pasture for an hour or two before the flies get too bad and they want back inside. I can’t win!

I did see a suggestion on an old thread to rub Dr Bronners Peppermint castile soap on their bellies to deter flies. I tried it last night and it seemed to work better than fly spray. Might be promising…

My friend has taken to riding at 6am. We are in Virginia and the green heads are just awful. If she tries to ride after 10am her grey mare comes in with blood spots from being bitten. They don’t even relent when the horse is trotting/cantering/jumping.

I tried that a few days ago and they were worse here in the AM. They seem to go away the most right at dusk, but it’s hard to ride 6 horses in one hour :rofl:

I’m going to start riding at midnight. Won’t my neighbors love me


It’s the GNATS here, good lord. I have fly management down pat, but the gnats are just brutal this year. :grimacing: :grimacing:


Green headed monsters are out early this year but surprisingly , the normal flies aren’t too bad, yet.

We have every sort of bug I have ever seen already, versus other years where they sort of cycle so aren’t all around at once. We have gnats in plague amounts, mosquitos, black flies that bite, deer flies, greenheads, and bomber horseflies. Then as an added bonus, we now have what appears to be a cross of greenhead and bomber fly, as they have green heads but are much bigger than the normal size. They also bite out big chunks like the deer flies do!

I haven’t found riding any time in the daylight to be pleasant, but go out to condition with the horse in a fly hood and carry a fly swish to make the best of it. As someone mentioned, trotting and even cantering often doesn’t deter them. I have 4 or 5 types of spray and I don’t think any of them last for more than 5 minutes (including the Ecovet, which I can only apply outside for fear of inhaling some and killing myself).


Ugh yes. I’m using 3 different fly sprays and it does nothing.
And I don’t know how anyone uses ecovet :joy: it’s so bad. Like the worst Mens aftershave

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