You can greatly reduce or even eliminate the fly population around your barn with these helpful tips!

Since summer is almost here, your battle with flies has likely already begun. As soon as the weather warms up, those flying pests come out with vengeance. You and your horse will be miserable unless you create a plan of attack. Through various measures, you can reduce and nearly eliminate flies and gnats. It’s time to get ready for battle!


Manure Management

Your first plan of attack is to get your horse’s manure area under control. They’re essentially a flies’ breeding grounds. An adult fly can lay 150 eggs every few days, and they primarily do so in manure and dirty horse bedding. That’s why you must clean your horse’s stall every day! Not only that, but you should dispose of the manure away from the barn. Take the muck roughly 150 feet away if possible.

Eventually, you’ll need to dispose of the manure or your pile will get out of control. Some farm owners choose to have it hauled away, others compost it, and yet another option is to spread it in the fields. You should try to do this throughout the year.

Fly Control

After creating a manure management plan, you’ll want to invest in some fly control tactics. Some of these include fly predators, insecticides, baits, and feed-through supplements. In many cases, you can combine a few of these to get really good results.

  • Fly predators: These tiny insects spend their entire life on and around your horse’s manure pile. They greatly decrease the fly population by consuming the immature pupa, thus stopping the next generation of flies.
  • Insecticides: Foggers and sprays can be applied around the barn. Be sure to read the label and make sure they’re safe around your horses and other pets.
  • Fly baits: They lure in flying pests and catch them. An example would be a fly bag trap. You can hang one near your manure pile. The smell draws them in, but once they enter the bait they’re trapped.
  • Feed-through fly supplements: They reduce the fly population by affecting your horse’s manure.
  • Sprays and wipes: Nowadays, you can find sprays, wipes, roll-ons, and other products that are applied directly to your horse. Some are even made with natural products. Their main purpose is to keep flies, gnats, and mosquitos away from your horse. 

mask for flies

Horse Clothing

You may not be able to eliminate all flies, but you can keep them off your horse. There are various pieces of horse apparel that protect your horse from flying pests. A fly sheet is usually crafted from woven mesh and covers your horse’s back, sides, hindquarters, chest, and is some cases belly and neck. They can be especially helpful for those sensitive to bites.

Other options include fly masks and leg boots. Similar to a sheet, they’re made from lightweight and breathable materials. Some masks offer ear protection, as well! When you go for a ride, an ear bonnet may be a good solution.

There are plenty of products designed to prevent and eliminate flies. You may have to try a few different options until you are satisfied with the results. It can be really helpful to practice good barn management too. Keep your facility clean and tidy- sweep up spilled grain, reduce wet spots, and keep trash picked up to name a few. With a little extra work and attention, you and your horse can enjoy a fly-free summer!


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Emily Fought

Emily Fought discovered her passion for horses early on in life. When she isn't writing about them, you can find her in the barn riding. Although Emily's background is in dressage, she enjoys cross-training and is an avid trail rider. She resides in Northeastern Ohio with her husband and small dog. Together, they own and operate Humblewood Farm. Emily not only writes for but as well!

August 2, 2021