Readers Take on the Battle of the Flies

More than 1,100 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "How do you deal with flies at your barn?"

results of poll on fighting flies

Results were as follows: 
  • Fly spray 86.87% (959)
  • Fly traps 43.75% (483)
  • Fly predators 31.07% (343)
  • Other 24.82% (274)
  • Feed-thru fly control 12.05% (133)

Readers shared what they do to combat flies in the comments below.

Results of weekly polls from TheHorse.com are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter. Published every week, this e-newsletter offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters using the form above or on our e-newsletter page.  

Look for a new poll on TheHorse.com every week!


  • Bags of H2O hanging from rafters; spray when horse goes out
  • We also use flysheets and masks in Aug when horseflies are bad
  • I have a whole barn mist system and a biting fly trap. Love both!
  • And Garlic
  • Fly Sheets/masks/boots
  • dump out collected water
  • Recently tried the 2 week pyrethrin and permethrin combo that is applied to back and legs. Works ok
  • haul away manure pile
  • keep the manure picked up and disposed of
  • protective vests
  • Fly paper and fans
  • I always wanted to try the fly predators!
  • daily removal of poop
  • I have free range chickens and they do a wonderful job of keeping the property fly free.
  • Chickens and guineas also
  • Screens on windows and doors,lights off more
  • This has worked wonders!
  • Pyranha Wipe 'n' Spray brushed on works really well for at least 24 hours
  • Keeping stalls as clean as possible
  • Keep the barn clean.
  • Use water based flysect
  • masks
  • auto fly sprayers, too!
  • Keeping manure cleaned up in stalls and paddocks
  • Everything else = too expensive!
  • fly spray system
  • 2009 is the worst fly year in 20! I want to know about fly predators.
  • daily manure removal & barn swallows
  • swallows live in my barn
  • Lime
  • Mr Sticky is great
  • sheets, fly masks, pick up manure in fields and compost properly, deal with bot eggs
  • metered spray on the walls
  • Wasps last year - too expen. nothing wrks well.
  • I use fly sheets, fans and fly leggings
  • sticky tape, fans
  • We also have the battery operated timed sprayers in the barn. We have hardly any flies!
  • Predators for several years now, occassional use of fly spray during summer heat.
  • predators ... and pick up and spread manure.
  • pick up manure 1st thing in AM
  • pick up manure daily and fly sheets/masks
  • pickup paddocks/sheds/stalls 2/day, sweep up spilled feed
  • fly sheets & neck rugs & masks.
  • dietenacious earth
  • Fly masks and keeping the barn/paddock clean...Central OH.
  • removal of manure
  • topicals
  • fans in the stalls help.
  • fly sheets/masks
  • All manure is picked up and removed.
  • water in bag
  • pick up manure 2x/day; manure dumpster hauled off weekly
  • we keep stalls clean and we clean up manure piles near the barn
  • All natural home-made Soap with essential oils and all natural home-made fly spray.
  • fly mask
  • Clean Stalls
  • masks as needed, clean pasture and barn, and stall in the hottest part of the day
  • fly masks and sheets
  • fly masks on the horses
  • fly mask and sheets
  • twice daily stall cleaning and frequent manure dragging in pasture
  • I use both fly spray and a fly sheet especially at night when the mosquitos come out.
  • fly sheets and masks
  • Fly faces and clean stalls every day plus clean out my run in sheds.
  • Cleaning of paddocks. Moving manure far from the barn area.
  • LOL we are covered head to hoof in fly masks (w/ears) and sheets and boots
  • fly sheets
  • My horses are not stabled,but are in corrals with run ins.....manure control is the biggest factor
  • Awesome fly control!
  • Fly Sheets and Boots.
  • fly mask
  • fly mask
  • fly masks keep manure cleaned up
  • pick up poop frequently
  • Composting manure
  • provide run-in sheds for pastured horses
  • keep the stalls and barn clean
  • I use fly spray and also the fly predators.
  • Compost manure and let chickens graze manure pile and horse areas
  • KEEP IT CLEAN works best
  • Fly mask and Fly spray
  • Clean stalls, and LOTS of air circulation!
  • Fly sheets, masks, and leggings too.
  • Fly tape. Also have dairy cows; gets difficult & expensive to treat all
  • parasitic wasps
  • What barn? I do use tritech on the horses
  • Fly masks and keep area cleaned twice a day
  • I keep the stalls and pastures clean daily!!!
  • i put up a bat house and am hoping the bats will come.
  • Fly masks and muck up the manure regularly!
  • manure managment, chickens, guineas
  • fly masks/sheets/leg boots for those who won't chew them; keep stalls extra clean
  • we use 1/4c vinegar on feed in am
  • use fly masks as well as sprays to lessen chemical interactions
  • I've used predators and they work if you can keep the ants and birds from eating them.
  • manure management
  • remove feces, ventilation / wind current
  • Removal of feces daily or sometimes twice daily.
  • Fly sheets, fly masks
  • I also use equine safe mix in the stall
  • I stay away from the toxic methods like feed through and overhead spraying.
  • I try to keep the paddock and horse sheds clean everyday
  • Vinegar and Dawn dish soap. Horses are pastured.
  • zero fly bags
  • Avon skin-so-soft, mixed with a little isopropyl alcohol and white vineger works wonders .
  • Corrals cleaned daily-sensitive mare, fly sheet & wraps- all horses get fly masks. Disk weekly.
  • Removing Manure from premises weekly
  • have also used the sopt-on and it seems to help
  • fly mask and sheet
  • spray system in one barn, predators in another.
  • Get manure off ranch twice each week.
  • We have two large neighboring farms who's flies we've inherited! :-P
  • fly spray every day
  • vineger in feed seems to help
  • I also feel garlic salt to my horses.
  • fly masks and fly sheets
  • Tried feed thru and it wasn't effective so still had to use other methods.
  • War paint lasts longest keeping flies away from our horses
  • try to keep loose hay picked up
  • auto spray system
  • While fly predators seem to be a good idea, leery because they are upsetting the ecological balance.
  • I keep the barn and pasture area nearby clean, plus traps, predators and cover the manure pile
  • keep manure cleaned up!
  • I feed spring times garlic to my horses with their evening feed works to keep all pesty bugs away.
  • Fly spray,masks & sheets + manuer removal daily
  • fly masks
  • We also use sprays and put the summer armor on; fly sheets, boots and masks.
  • fly sheets,fans in the barn,manure pick up
  • fly ribbons
  • surface spraying
  • I have been using fly predators for ove 20 years and have very few flies
  • mcuk twice daily at minimum!
  • Fly wipes
  • remove manure daily
  • keep manure cleaned up, drag harrow the field to break up manure
  • fly masks
  • twice daily manure removal from paddocks
  • fly masks
  • fly system in barn
  • manure management
  • Masks
  • Fly spray clens stalls at least twice a day and Fans
  • bags of water w/pennies
  • guinea fowl - great watch dogs too!
  • I use crushed fossil shell flour. Works great, is natural and safe...no chemicals
  • diotomacious earth spread all over
  • They significantly reduce flies!
  • cleaning stalls daily, manure pile well away from barn, support of bats in the area
  • I also have a fly spray which I use on the stall walls, it is not for direct use on horses.
  • And we loovvvve it!
  • fly masks
  • PYRANNA
  • Pick up manure daily in pastures and stalls, haul it far away to compost.
  • Pick stalls alot!
  • flysheet, flymask, prompt manure removal
  • Overhead automatic fly spray system...ya gotta love it!
  • automatic sprayers
  • Fly masks, picking up and composting all manure in paddocks and pastures and composting it.
  • GarlicC, keeps may of the bugs away
  • I use granulated Maxforce fly killer. It's great.
  • also have auto fly sprayer in each stall, and stalls, barn isle are picked twice a day to deture
  • masks,fly sheets
  • fly masks are a must in the summer
  • Ziploc bags full of water. the flies think its cobwebs and stay away
  • Manure removal from stall and pasture has made a dramatic decline in our fly population
  • fly-ban, fly masks
  • fly spray, but also remove manure daily and have manure pile away from barn
  • Pasture Management, Fly Masks, Fly Boots
  • spot on treatment
  • I have individual sprayers in each stall and I keep manure piles dragged to prevent a place to breed
  • I feed a pelleted feed
  • Keep the barn clean!
  • We used to use a trap, but it seemed to draw more flies than it killed, although it was always full.
  • Spot-on treatment for every horse
  • Free range chickens
  • Pyranha misting system in barn
  • high velocity fans in overhangs going into barn
  • Keep the place clean! Encourage natural pest control, too.
  • 4th year and they work great!
  • masks & sheets
  • Automatic misters and fans
  • Natural home made fly spray & feed diatomateous earth
  • Cleanliness - pick up the manure twice daily and remove; get rid of those soiled shavings.
  • We pick up horse poop two to three times a day and add to compost pile
  • Fly sheet, chickens, manure control
  • Best fly trap is made by Rescue. We also use Endure fly spray.
  • removal of manure 3 times a week
  • Spot on Product
  • lime on manure piles
  • manure kept away from horses & spread in fields, barn clean daily
  • Also I keep the pasture/paddock very clean and remove manure daily
  • Fan in her barn
  • We use garlic in the horses's grain each night. It helps and they love the flavor!
  • fans, daily stall cleaning & deodorizing w/baking soda
  • We have bats
  • This year got earlier start with fly predators and haven't needed the fly traps. Very pleased.
  • sprayers in barns
  • fly spray, fly tapes and keeping doors mostly closed to keep barn dark, cool & uninviting to flies
  • Horses fed garlic daily for medicinal purpose & reduces flies! Fly spray when necessary only!
  • I don't use much fly spray with predators but when it rains I add the spray as well.
  • remove all manure everyday fly masksfrom pastures, paddocks and barn
  • Fly mask
  • Konk the stall at key times during the day, when the flies come in.
  • Spot On products
  • works well cheap and convenient to use
  • twice daily stall/corral cleaning
  • i use a fly spray system
  • neighbor's chickens
  • automatic fly sprayers work well in barn
  • Spray barn daily with commercial sprayer plus use fly spray on horses
  • fly masks and sheets also
  • fly strips,remove/compost manure
  • I use coton combos, fly vails plus spray with fly spray made for horses.
  • automatic fly spray system & fly bait
  • Fly masks, sheets, and leg wraps.
  • fly sheets, leg wraps, face masks
  • Garlic and vinegar in their grain.
  • increased cleaning to 4x/day and daily cleaning of feed buckets
  • keep things very clean!
  • manure management
  • natural feed thru Smartpak bugs off/ DE
  • fans
  • Emperol blocks with Rabon - very helpful!
  • topical fly spray and metered spray system
  • spot treatment like biospot
  • Leave their forelocks, manes, and tails long.
  • keep it clean
  • spray an enzyme in the stalls which works wonders!
  • In barn automatic spraying
  • battery operated fly misters
  • manure is hauled every 1-2 weeks
  • only have a small problem with flies
  • all of the above
  • ultra boss fly spray
  • Fly sheets are a must. And, who could forget ducks and/or chickens?
  • Tri-Tech 14 is the BEST!!
  • sprayers mounted in barn which mist at intervals
  • My horse wears a fly sheet, fly mask, and fly boots. I also use fly spray and SWAT.
  • Clean stalls & fans.
  • manure management
  • clean barn daily
  • We have fans in every stall and a big one in the aisle. We have very few flies in the barn proper.
  • fly masks & sheets, prompt manure removal and disposal, fans in run-in sheds.
  • lots of fans going all the time helps keep the fly population down
  • manure management! frequent passes with the chain harrow in the pasture; compost for barn waste
  • automatic fly spray system
  • automatic spray in barn and run in shed
  • fly masks
  • I use an excellent fly bait.
  • I like a mixture of Avon Skin So Soft, white vinegar and water in about equal parts (nontoxic!)
  • spread and break up manure in pastures so hot Florida sun can kill eggs
  • Quickbayt Fly Bait Strip
  • shoofly spray system which is great
  • Fly masks, fly sheets, and fly leg wraps. It depends on which flys are prevalent each day.
  • Fly Masks
  • masks
  • I start feeding garlic in March & have virtually no fly problems 7/14/2009 5:19:42 PM I spray the horses with Endure and also use metered spray in every stall.
  • I only use natural ingredient fly spray
  • Pick up manure 2+ times a day is the best prevention
  • Fly Spray & Fly Masks
  • fly sheets and fly boots
  • Fly masks and wipe-on fly control lasts 6 weeks
  • I had the predators then stopped them last year and the flies were overwhelming.I got the predators
  • keep stable area clean. Use fly sheets when needed.
  • As long as the manure is picked up, the wash rack clean and the barn swept the flies are not a prob
  • Two horses, run ins, do nothing
  • Fly sheets & masks, also occasionally wipe on Swat & roll-on repellent.
  • complete barn fly spray system
  • if I make sure stalls are clean in the evening, there are fewer flies in the morning and day
  • pick up manure 2x day & move pile weekly
  • no standing water, fly masks
  • also Apple Cider Vinegar
  • fly masks and sheets
  • FLY MASKS
  • country vet mister on a timer
  • I use fly sheets,mask & leg protectors, then spray just before riding
  • Smear clean clay in the most prone spots
  • Shade and fans
  • fly boots and masks
  • manure removal
  • fly sheets - they live outside
  • fly sheets, masks. horses in during day, out at night. very few flies this year.
  • fly sheets and masks
  • Fans in the stalls help some also.
  • fly masks; fans in barn
  • Careful manure management
  • Spot-on fly control
  • Fly predators are working great!
  • fly sheets, mask, fly leg wraps
  • fly masks if needed
  • Equi-Spot
  • Fly Masks
  • clean paddocks daily!
  • Fans
  • good house(barn) keeping
  • and garlic!
  • installing automatic fly spray system
  • Chickens. We get fresh eggs and they get the flies.
  • Compost manure
  • I use Poridon and a water based fly spray. Works.
  • New "Shootag" - non chemical repellent tag worn by horse or humans. Work Great.
  • Picking up any manure in pastures and stalls daily
  • Good ventilation and clean stalls also help!
  • Fly masks, leg guards, eliminate breeding grounds (mud, manure, spilled feed, etc.)
  • Keep corrals clean.
  • Keep barn clean also feed diatomatious earth
  • fly masks
  • diatomaceous earth on manure piles
  • pick up manure daily & dispose 1/2 mile away=NO FLYS!
  • I have a fly spray system andI use Freedom 45 on the horses for when they are in pasture.
  • Spray, traps, and fly masks
  • Need to integrate neighbor's horses into pest management. Also remove manure..
  • manure management
  • also use flymasks
  • ... and we use skin-so-soft diluted to spray directly on the horses
  • Hang Fly Strips in Stall
  • keep stalls and barn clear of manure
  • Sticky tape
  • Scoop poop daily and cover the pile.
  • Pick up manure daily
  • fans tend to keeps flies away
  • Our barn has an automatic spray system
  • Bug Check works for me, as well as Equi-Fly, spray when flies arrive with horses for evening feed.
  • pick poop everywhere even pastures
  • The fly predators have worked pretty well keeping the fly population down.
  • Inside Out from Cheval International works great!!
  • auto bug sprayers in the sheds, fly sheets
  • spread manure, keep barn clean, muck run-in, spot-on every 3 wks. each horse
  • Sheets , masks and boots
  • Fly Spray System throughout the barn
  • All manure is picked from paddocks and fields daily.
  • fans,fly spray misters
  • Keep manure cleaned up daily
  • they are terrible this year!!
  • Full body flysheets + neck & belly, fly boots, long nose masks w/ears, high speed fans.
  • Fly Sheets
  • drag manure in fields weekly
  • manure management
  • Dairy fly spray
  • Swat products
  • fly masks as needed; fly predators are very effective
  • D.E. works great on them.

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com. Learn More

Free Newsletters

Sign up for the latest in:

From our partners