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Top Natural & Homeopathic Fly Control Remedies for Horses

Top Natural & Homeopathic Fly Control Remedies for Horses

Are you tired of flies buzzing around your horses, causing irritation and discomfort? Fly control is a common challenge for horse owners, especially during the warmer months when flies are out in full force. 

In this blog, we'll explore some natural and homeopathic remedies to help you combat those flies and keep your horses happy and comfortable all season long.


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Why is fly control important?

The fly season for horses typically occurs during the warmer months, particularly spring and summer. This is when temperatures rise, plants bloom, and conditions become favorable for flies to breed and thrive. Flies are attracted to horses because they provide warmth, moisture, and food sources such as sweat, saliva, and manure. 

Fly control for horses is essential for several reasons:

  • Health Risks: Flies can transmit diseases and parasites to horses through bites and contact with contaminated surfaces. Some common diseases transmitted by flies include equine infectious anemia, anthrax, and various parasitic infections.
  • Discomfort and Stress: Flies constantly buzzing around a horse can cause irritation, stress, and discomfort. This can lead to restlessness, decreased appetite, and overall decreased well-being for the horse.
  • Skin Irritation and Allergies: Fly bites can cause skin irritation, allergic reactions, and even open sores on the horse's skin. This not only causes discomfort but also increases the risk of secondary infections.
  • Performance Issues: Flies can distract horses during training or riding sessions, leading to decreased performance and potential safety hazards for both the horse and the rider.
A horse with a protective mask, surrounded by flies.

Why should you use natural methods?

Using natural fly control methods offers several benefits compared to conventional chemical-based methods:

  • Safety: Natural fly control methods typically involve using non-toxic or minimally toxic substances, making them safer for horses and humans. Conventional chemical insecticides can pose health risks if improperly handled and adversely affect the environment.
  • Environmental Friendliness: Natural fly control methods are often more environmentally friendly than chemical-based methods. They typically have lower environmental impacts, including reduced soil, water, and air contamination.
  • Reduced Chemical Exposure: Horse owners can minimize their horses' exposure to potentially harmful chemicals by opting for natural fly control methods. This is particularly important for horses with sensitive skin or respiratory issues, as chemical insecticides can exacerbate these conditions.


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  • Sustainability: Natural fly control methods can be part of a sustainable horse care and management approach. They often rely on renewable resources and biological control mechanisms, which can help maintain ecological balance and reduce dependence on synthetic chemicals.
  • Long-Term Effectiveness: While conventional chemical insecticides may provide immediate results, they can also lead to the development of insecticide resistance over time. Natural fly control methods, such as biological control using predatory insects, may offer more sustainable long-term solutions by targeting fly populations at their source.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Natural fly control methods can be cost-effective in the long run, as they may require less frequent application than chemical insecticides. Some natural methods, such as proper manure management and habitat modification, involve minimal or no ongoing costs.

Overall, natural fly control methods offer a holistic and environmentally conscious approach to managing fly populations around horses, promoting the health and well-being of animals and their surrounding environment.

A horse eating outside.

The Best Natural Fly Control Methods

Here are some of the best natural fly control methods for horses:

  • Biological Control:
  • Fly Predators: Tiny parasitic wasps that lay their eggs inside fly pupae. When the wasp larvae hatch, they consume the developing fly inside, preventing the adult fly from emerging. Fly predators are beneficial because they specifically target fly pupae, reducing the population of adult flies. They are non-toxic and safe for horses, humans, and the environment.
  • Beneficial Insects: Introducing or attracting natural predators of flies, such as certain species of predatory beetles, spiders, and birds, can help keep fly populations in check. These predators feed on fly eggs, larvae, and adults, contributing to natural fly control without chemicals.
  • Habitat Modification:
  • Manure Management: Flies lay their eggs in horse manure, so managing manure properly is crucial for controlling fly populations. Regular removal of manure from stalls, paddocks, and pastures deprives flies of breeding sites and interrupts their life cycle.
  • Composting: Composting manure can help break down organic matter and generate heat, which kills fly larvae. Adequately composted manure also becomes less attractive to adult flies, reducing their breeding potential.
  • Physical Barriers:
  • Fly Sheets and Leg Wraps: Fly sheets are lightweight blankets that cover the horse's body, while leg wraps protect the lower legs. These physical barriers provide a protective layer between the horse's skin and biting flies, reducing irritation and discomfort.
  • Fly Masks: These are protective coverings that horses wear over their heads to shield sensitive areas like the eyes, ears, and face from flies. Fly masks are breathable materials and often feature mesh panels to allow airflow while preventing flies from landing on the horse's face.


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  • Natural Repellents:
  • Essential Oils: Certain essential oils, such as citronella, eucalyptus, and lavender, have natural insect-repellent properties. Diluted essential oils can be applied to the horse's coat or mixed with water to create a homemade fly spray. These oils emit fragrances that repel flies while leaving a pleasant scent.
  • Herbs and Plants: Planting fly-repellent herbs and plants around horse facilities can help deter flies naturally. Examples include marigolds, basil, mint, and rosemary, which emit odors that flies find unpleasant, thus reducing their presence in the area.
  • Environmental Management:
  • Air Circulation: Flies prefer still air, so increasing airflow in stables and shelters can help discourage them. This can be achieved by using fans, opening windows and doors, and ensuring proper ventilation throughout the facility.
  • Water Management: Eliminating stagnant water sources, such as puddles and water troughs with algae buildup, reduces breeding sites for flies. Regularly cleaning and maintaining water troughs helps prevent the accumulation of organic matter, which attracts flies for breeding.
  • Dietary Supplements:
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Adding a small amount of apple cider vinegar to a horse's feed or water may alter its body odor, making it less attractive to flies. The acidic nature of apple cider vinegar is believed to create an environment that repels flies.
  • Garlic and Brewer's Yeast: Some horse owners feed garlic or brewer's yeast to their horses as dietary supplements, believing that these ingredients can help repel flies. 
  • Fly-Trapping Devices:
  • Fly Traps: Various fly traps are available to capture adult flies. These traps typically use attractants such as food-based baits or pheromones to lure flies into a container or sticky surface from which they cannot escape. Fly traps can be placed strategically around horse facilities to reduce fly populations without chemicals. Regularly emptying and replacing the traps helps maintain their effectiveness.

By implementing these natural fly control methods, you can effectively manage fly populations while minimizing reliance on chemical insecticides, promoting the health and well-being of your horses and the environment.

A group of horses running freely.

Homeopathic Remedies for Fly Control

Homeopathic remedies for fly control involve using natural substances in highly diluted forms to stimulate the body's innate healing abilities and repel flies. Here are a few homeopathic remedies that horse owners often use:

  • Apis Mellifica:
  • Description: Apis mellifica is derived from honeybee venom and is commonly used in homeopathy for various conditions, including insect bites and stings.
  • Use: It is believed that administering apis mellifica to horses may help reduce the severity of fly bites and alleviate symptoms of irritation and swelling caused by fly bites.
  • Ledum Palustre:
  • Description: Ledum palustre, also known as wild rosemary, is a plant native to northern regions and is used in homeopathy for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
  • Use: In homeopathy, ledum palustre is sometimes recommended for treating insect bites, including those from flies. It is believed to reduce inflammation, itching, and discomfort associated with fly bites.
  • Staphysagria:
  • Description: Staphysagria is derived from the seeds of the Delphinium staphisagria plant and is used in homeopathy for its calming and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Use: Some homeopathic practitioners recommend staphysagria for horses experiencing intense itching and irritation from fly bites. It is believed to soothe the skin and reduce the urge to scratch.
  • Symphytum Officinale:
  • Description: Symphytum officinale, or comfrey, is an herbaceous plant with traditional medicinal uses for promoting wound healing and reducing inflammation.
  • Use: In homeopathy, symphytum officinale may be recommended for horses with fly bites that have resulted in broken skin or open wounds. It is believed to support the healing process and reduce the risk of infection.
  • Calendula Officinalis:
  • Description: Calendula officinalis, also known as marigold, is a flowering plant with anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties.
  • Use: Calendula is often used in homeopathy to soothe and heal skin irritations caused by insect bites, including those from flies. It can help reduce inflammation, promote healing, and relieve itching.

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  • Urtica Urens:
  • Description: Urtica urens, commonly known as stinging nettle, is a plant with medicinal properties traditionally used for treating skin conditions and allergic reactions.
  • Use: Homeopathic practitioners may recommend urtica urens for horses experiencing allergic reactions to fly bites characterized by redness, swelling, and itching. It is believed to help alleviate these symptoms and promote healing.
  • Arnica Montana:
  • Description: Arnica montana, also known as leopard's bane, is a flowering plant with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
  • Use: Arnica is commonly used in homeopathy to treat bruises, muscle soreness, and inflammation. It may also be recommended for horses to relieve discomfort caused by fly bites and reduce swelling.
  • Graphites:
  • Description: Graphites is a mineral derived from graphite and used in homeopathy for various skin conditions, including eczema and dermatitis.
  • Use: Homeopathic practitioners may suggest graphites for horses with skin irritation and eczema caused or exacerbated by fly bites. It is believed to help soothe the skin and promote healing.
  • Hamamelis Virginiana:
  • Description: Hamamelis virginiana, also known as witch hazel, has astringent and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Use: In homeopathy, hamamelis is used to treat venous congestion, hemorrhoids, and skin irritations. It may be recommended for horses with swollen and inflamed skin due to fly bites.
  • Hypericum Perforatum:
  • Description: Hypericum perforatum, commonly known as St. John's wort, is a flowering plant with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
  • Use: Homeopathic practitioners may suggest hypericum for horses with fly bites that have resulted in nerve pain or sensitivity. It is believed to help alleviate pain and discomfort associated with nerve damage.

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The Bottom Line

You can effectively manage fly populations without harsh chemicals by incorporating natural fly control methods like habitat modification, physical barriers, herbal repellents, and homeopathic remedies tailored to your horse's needs. Remember to consult with a qualified practitioner or veterinarian to determine the best approach for your horse's unique situation. 

A fly-free and happy summer for you and your horses!

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