New Page


Fly Protection

Horses and flies

The Importance of Fly Control for Healthy Horses

If you have horses, you have flies! Flies and other biting insects are constant pests that irritate both horses and riders, especially in the summer months when weather conditions create the perfect breeding ground for flies. These pests can also pose a major health risk with their ability to transmit diseases. Flies live, feed and breed in filth where germs, bacteria and transmissible diseases thrive, which is why fly control is such an important part of every horse care routine.

Different Types of Pests


There are numerous fly species, and although nearly all can be aggravating to horses, there are a few that have been identified as particularly pesky. Here are some helpful tips to aid in recognizing which flies are present and the risks that each fly poses.

  • Stable fly: Stable flies have one of the most painful bites of any bloodsucking insect. They tend to bite horses’ legs and flanks, which causes the horse to stomp. These flies are most active in the daytime, breed in old manure or other wet, decaying matter and can travel in a range of up to 100 miles. They may also transmit equine infectious anemia (EIA).

  • Horse fly: Horse flies are most common in or near swampy areas. They are persistent biting flies that attack the withers, legs, chest and neck of the horse. They are most active during the daytime and may transmit EIA.

  • Horn fly: Horn flies concentrate in pasture areas and breed in fresh manure piles. These biting flies are present during the daytime, attacking the chest and underbelly of the horse. Smaller than many other fly species, horn flies may cause midline dermatitis.

  • Face fly: Face flies have an appearance similar to house flies, but are non-biting nuisance flies. They can be found on the face around a horse’s eyes, nose or any open wound. Face flies are most active during the daytime, north of the Mason–Dixon Line. They feed on tears, mucous and saliva, and can transmit pinkeye and horse eye worms.

  • House fly: House flies are the most common fly and the toughest to repel. This nuisance fly is found around humans, breeding in disturbed manure and garbage. The house fly is known for spreading germs and disease.

  • Gnats or punkies: Also known as “no-see-ums” for their tiny size, these biting pests attack thinly haired areas, typically inside the ear, and leave bloody, crusty spots. They can be found at dusk near stagnant water, mucky ponds or marshes and may transmit African Horse Sickness.

  • Ticks: Ticks are biting, bloodsucking pests that feed on animals, typically around the legs, ears and tail head. These insects may transmit a number of diseases, including Lyme disease.

  • Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes are bloodsucking insects that are most prevalent at dusk. They breed in standing water and may transmit potentially fatal diseases such as Equine Infectious Anemia, Equine Encephalitis or West Nile Virus.



© 2023 Outdoor Functional Wear

Designed and Hosted by