How to Keep Flies Away From Horses

May 21, 2021

No conscientious horse owner likes seeing their horse harassed by flies. The swishing and twitching, flicking, and stomping can make both a horse and rider crazy. But flies are more than annoying. They bite and irritate your horse’s skin, cause sores, deposit larvae and bacteria around eyes, and are carriers of disease.   

You want to protect and care for your horse. We’ve done research to help you do that. Let's discuss when fly season starts and what you can do to best protect your horse.


When Does Fly Season Start?

Flies don’t care that your calendar says spring starts three weeks into March. They will start to surface, feed, and breed when it feels warm and comfortable enough for them to do so. The map below shows generic zones for when fly season begins and ends across the continental United States.  

As a proactive measure, you should acquire your preferred fly-fighting supplies during the winter. Purchasing early will help you be prepared if you experience an earlier-than-expected spring. Once fly season is in swing, plan for a battle that lasts well into the end of fall.  

Five Tips to Create a No-Fly Zone Around Your Horse  

Ever feel like you're losing the battle of the bugs around your stalls and barn? A fly infestation is frustrating for both you and your horse. These tips will help you fight back the flies and keep your animals comfortable.

1.  Use a Quality Feed-Through

A quality feed-through repellant can be an effective first line of defense at warding off flies and offering your horse protection from the inside out.   

Some supplements decrease fly population by preventing the development of larvae in the manure of treated horses. Others, like this fighting repellant  contain natural ingredients like vinegar or garlic that are effective at repelling pests on a horse.  

Feed-through supplements can be effective and handy for both of you. Your horse gets a daily dose of shoo-fly, and you can relax the vigil of spraying on repellant.  

2.  Add Outer Protective Gear

Layering on protection from the outside is another way to ensure your horse stays fly free. You can get gear to protect them from head to hoof.    

There are mesh fly masks and boots, hoods, bonnets, and veils, fly sheets that fit your horse’s body—and all in a variety of colors and prints to suit your horse’s (or your) fashion style.    

Aside from picking your favorite print, we recommend choosing a material that’s comfortable for your horse, cool, and durable enough to last the season.   

3.  Spray on a Natural Repellant

A good fly spray is essential to have on hand in the barn, when traveling, and during those sweltering summer days when flies just get out of control.   

Most products can be sprayed or wiped on (especially for application around the eyes) and will last from several hours to several days, depending on the ingredients and if it’s oil- or water-based.    

We believe natural is better. So always check ingredients and look for sprays containing essential oils or other natural repellants. And before covering your horse in any spray, test a small patch area to check for sensitivity or irritation.   

4.  Set Out Fly Traps

From sticky tape to bug zappers, traps are a satisfying way to reduce the overall population of flies around your barn or property. Location, location, location is the key here.    

If you’re using sticky traps, place them up high in barns or stalls where light and warmth reach and where your horse can’t reach.    

Using an odor trap? Place it at least 50 feet from your barn or paddock. This will ensure you lure flies away from your horse instead of drawing them in.    

Bug zappers or other visual attractants should be placed just outside of paddocks, fences or stalls—close enough to be effective but far enough away that your horse can’t tamper with it.    

And for best results, set your traps out by mid-spring, before flies begin laying eggs and become a bigger problem.    

5.  Keep Your Horse’s Area Clean

While it means some extra work for you, keeping a tidy stall, paddock or barn can go a long way to keeping your horse comfortable.   

Fresh manure is a breeding ground for flies. Removing it regularly—along with soiled or wet bedding and feed—will limit flies congregating and laying eggs in your horse’s space.   

Also, make sure your horse’s water is clean and fresh. Any source of stagnant or smelly water will attract gnats, mosquitoes and certain types of flies—none of which you want moving in with your horse.    

Benefits of Crushed with garlic infographic-1

Naturally Keep Flies Away From Horses with Redmond 

Eliminating flies around barns and stables and inhibiting them from landing on your horse is essential. Fly control helps protect your horse from stress and irritation, disease, and potential injury from stomping and swatting.  

Redmond Rock Crushed with Garlic is a great choice as a natural feed-through fly repellant. It combines the pest-repelling power of garlic in a loose sea salt that contains all the essential minerals your horse needs for optimum nutrition and hydration.  Redmond Rock Crushed with Garlic simplifies your life and improves the quality of life of your horse.


Learn More

For more information on how much garlic you should feed your horse, read this post

Got cattle?  Read How to Prepare for Fly Season to give your herd an advantage in the battle of the bugs.

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