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Horse Fly: The Giant Insect That Can Be Harmful to Horses

Horse Fly

The horse fly is a harmful insect that can be a nuisance to horses. It may also be the cause of some unwanted behavior. Horses who are bothered by horse flies may turn their noses to their food, or they may bite their handlers. If you have a horse that is turning its nose at feed, or biting people, they’re being bothered by horse flies. Horses may be bothered by horse flies if they are sensitive to horse saliva, smells, or insecticidal compounds in horse manure. Most horses do not show any reaction to horse flies, and they will take little notice of them. However, if you notice your horse acting lethargic, nervous, or acting in a suspicious manner, it’s a very good indication that the horse has been bothered by horse flies. In addition to bothering horses, horse flies can be a nuisance to people as well.

What Are Horse Flies?

The horse fly, Tabanus cavaticus, is a fly that is similar to the house fly. It is a big fly, measuring up to 2 cm in length. The horse fly is also commonly known as the deer fly or the dog fly. The horse fly has black wings, yellow legs, and a black head. The horse fly is well known for its ability to bite horses. It is a nuisance to horses, but it can also cause harm.

Where Do Horse Flies Come From?

Horse flies can move throughout the world. However, they are most common in the southern United States, the southeastern United States, and parts of the southwestern United States. The reasons for this are not known, but they may be related to the fact that these are the regions where there are large populations of deer and dogs.

How Do Horses Become Sensitive to Horse Flies?

The horse fly’s bite is not dangerous to humans, but it is irritating. Horses who are bothered by horse flies may show some of the following signs:

  • Lethargy
  • Nervous behaviour
  • Suspicious behaviour
  • Nose-tucking
  • Biting of handlers
  • Licking of irritated areas

Ways To Keep Horses Away From Horse Flies

There are many ways to keep horses away from horse flies. One of the easiest ways to do this is to introduce a no-fly zone. A no-fly zone can be as small as your backyard, or as large as your whole property. When you establish a no-fly zone, you are saying that you will not allow any humans, pets, or livestock onto your property. Those who enter your no-fly zone will be fined. This will help keep horses away from your no-fly zone.


Horses who are bothered by horse flies may show signs of lethargy, nervous behaviour, suspicious behaviour, or nose-tucking. These signs can be hard to identify, so it’s helpful to observe your horse closely. If you notice that your horse is lethargic, nervous, suspicious, or nose-tucking, they may be bothered by horse flies. You can try to snap them out of lethargy, calm them down with rubbing, or talk to them. You can also try to introduce a no-fly zone; this will help keep horses away from horse flies.