Someone please tell me they have found a magical way to prevent or remove bot eggs

It’s 2021. Why haven’t we solved this problem yet? I hate bots!!!

I use ivermectin at the appropriate time for bot prevention in my area. Yet I think we just have too many horses locally because I always have bots regardless.

Fly sprays do nothing to prevent them from laying eggs on the horses, unless there is some super secret product I haven’t tried.

Bot knives are okay for removing them on the boney parts of their legs, but stink for removing them from fleshy areas. Plus they go dull quickly and are slow to use. Unless there is a better bot knife out there?

Slick n easy pumice stones have the same problem for me. They don’t work well to remove them from the fleshy areas and are still slow to use.

Some people swear by razors and clipping, but I end up with ugly looking clipped patches when I try that. What am I missing?

All of these methods aren’t practical for daily/frequent removal when you have multiple horses. I have 5 equines and there is just one of me! So then I end up having to spend even longer because the eggs have been building up over multiple days.

So who has solved this problem???

Or if you have completely eradicated bots from your property, how have you done it???

We haven’t had many bots lately, but I have a loop style hoof knife and have found that it works better than a regular bot knife for scraping them off.

Pumice stones always work well for me, but I also don’t get the horse ones as they are often too slick, not enough grab. But you can always rough yours up, and they do get a bit slicker with regular use, just scrape it against a brick or something

I don’t find fly sprays are very effective either, so I just make sure to use Equimax in Fall and Quest Plus in Spring, and know that some years will be worse than others.

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I think it’s just luck re: bots or not. I’ve never done anything special to avoid them and have never seen more than the rare egg (in 20+ years!)

Wiping with a warm, wet cloth is fast & easy and will force a hatch. The egg cases are still present, but at least there’s nothing pathogenic left.

I wonder if mudding legs, like they do for the young stock in KY, would prevent laying at all?

Bots will also lay eggs on the shoulders and withers/lower mane area, though mostly on legs in easy reach of the horse rubbing himself. I find them above the knees as well.

The other locations are more accessible via mutual grooming.

Chickens! When I was growing up we had them until we got chickens. They free ranged in the pasture and tool care of a lot of bug issues.


@outerbanks77 Great idea on the loop hoof knife. I definitely have not tried that.

@JB I will have to try a human pumice stone because I agree the horse ones don’t have enough grab.

@Simkie I have thought about applying a mud barrier (great minds) but like JB said, they end up all over the body in the worst of seasons for them. It drives me nuts seeing the egg casings. I have wondered if Vaseline or something else greasy might prevent the flies from being able to attach their eggs to the hair shaft, but I haven’t tested the idea.

@sheltona01 I wish I could say I have seen chickens work to prevent them. I think we just have too many horses in this area. I have read they can fly for several miles, so even if chickens are scratching up the ones in the ground on your farm, they can still be flying in from down the road.

By clipping they mean you clip the whole horse so the hair is too short all over the horse.

When removing both eggs you should be putting them in a paper bag and burn. Leave them to blow in the wind and you quicken the process for them to be eaten.

Rubbing a warm cloth to mimic saliva is supposed to loosen their hold.

We had botflies an hour north east of here. I have not seen one since we moved nearly 2 decades ago. I don’t know why. There is a lot of cattle here so maybe something for them got rid of them.

Hmmm… Maybe show sheen would be worth a shot? :thinking: Might at least make removal easier, if it doesn’t prevent eggs from attaching entirely. And easy to hit them every few days?

@SuzieQNutter Aren’t you in Australia? Burning them is not something I have ever heard of in North America. I suspect we have different species we are dealing with.

I’m not sure if clipping short would help.

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We’ve had chickens for 10 years, and still have bots.

that would be a lot of vaseline (like a lot of poultice), and attracting a lot of dirt.

I’d never keep a horse clipped so short - in the Summer - that flies couldn’t lay eggs on the hair. That would seem to be asking for sunburn

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That’s exactly why I haven’t tried the Vaseline even though I have wondered about it. I haven’t wanted to deal with the mess.

I also won’t body clip an entire herd of horses who live out 24/7 in late summer/early fall as a bot preventative because any potential benefits won’t outweigh the other complications from losing the coat.

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I too have a funny toothed knife thing that works REALLY well. Bumps em right off. Good to know they are showing up and will be on the watch. Hate them!

Do you have a link or picture?

I use a woman’s disposable razor. Well, a men’s would work too, but a human razor. I just scrape in the same direction as the hair. It strips them right off and I toss the razor and get a fresh one when it gets dull.


So it’s after 10pm on a Saturday night and immediately upon reading your post, I ran out to the barn with a brand new cheapie disposable razor to give this another try. Here’s my issue:

I swiped downward with the technique you described. The first swipe or two worked ok, but then the razor blades were gunked with hair and wouldn’t cut. The best method I found to get the hair out is to run a hard brush over the blades. Then I would get another swipe or two until the blades were full of hair again.

The razor got dull before I even got all the eggs off one horse. These were just the eggs that accumulated since I posted this earlier today, too!

I also had to press pretty hard and ended up taking a few chunks out of her coat because of it.

What am I doing wrong?

Huh. I wonder how a hair razor would work. Like one of these?

Cheap replaceable blades, not going to clog. Should be able to slice eggs off without taking hair, with some practice?

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Bot flies didn’t show up here until a few days ago - usually I see some sign of them in late June. My observation thru the years is the bot flies seem to make a huge spray on THIS day, then go away for a day or two before spraying again — evidently they have to regenerate the egg supply, giving us a break for one or two days.

I’m probably the only one who loves bot knives. If there are a bazillion eggs on the legs, it works to soak them in warm water and immediately take the scraper to them. The warm water tricks them into releasing from the hair, making them easy to get off.

If one is lucky enough to have fingernails, grab the single ones in the flank and other hard-to-reach areas with your fingernails.

Also be mindful of throat bot eggs. They are self-migrating into the horse’s mouth and hard to find; I have to pull the “jowl” hair backward to find them. They are also close to impossible to remove so I smother them with any sort of ointment. Vaseline, A&D, hemorrhoid ointment is my favorite as I keep it in the barn to help reduce swelling on bug bites.

Bot knives do get dull but I repurpose them for mud and manure scrapers:). They work great for scraping the manure off butts and for gently scraping dried mud off legs, then finish with a brush or one of those “Tiger Tongue” sponges:)


We are in the worst bot year yet. Twice daily fly spray does nothing. I’ll be embarrassed to post photos soon.
I use all methods above with varying success depending on where and which horse.

They lay faster than I can remove that’s for sure.

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My favorite is an eyebrow razor in the direction of the hair. Works even when it gets dull and easy to remove gunk/dirt.