Bugging OUT: The Battle of the Bugs!


Have you ever felt like a warrior or wizard when you are trying to protect your horse(s) from biting flies, gnats, deerflies and mosquitoes? Have you ever declared war on the flies in your barn? I do, have, and will continue too, but I wonder if I am alone?

The following steps may or may not be top secret, but one thing is for sure, every summer, horse people do wage war on bugs and there is sufficient evidence that these steps work!

Step 1: Becoming the wizard; preparing your horse for chemical warfare.

Of course, by chemical warfare, what I mean is suiting up in an invisible layer of “under-armor.” To do this, envision you are a wizard and you are concocting a very special potion.  Using three different fly sprays (ones that might have worked for your horse), spray your horse all over his body, thoroughly coating him in a fine mist of each. Next apply a magical salve (a.k.a. some kind of repellent cream), being sure to target his belly, ears, eyes, muzzle, armpits, and in his sheath area.

When both are applied correctly, your horse will be thoroughly drenched, possibly even dripping wet.   The theory behind this “slightly excessive” tactic, is that at least one of the four products might be a useful defense in making the bugs  fly away, fearing for their life. However, it is not likely, UNLESS of course, ALL four are used together! This might be defense enough for the thickest-skinned horses, but why take any chances? Please proceed to step two.

Step 2: Preparing the warrior; introducing Captain Bug-buster!

WARNING: Captain Bug-buster has been known to cause the stable staff, boarders, and neighbors to fall down in fits of laughter. Seriously, your other horse friends might laugh at you and your horse, but pay no attention to that. Instead, prepared to be WOW’d! Once your horse transforms into Captain Bug-Buster, watch and be amazed at his effective abomination of bugs. You will see them bounce off him several times but don’t be alarmed. Simply the sight of Captain Bug-Buster grips them in such a way that they fly blindly, fearing for their lives. After the first few bounces, you will notice them fly off, never to be seen again (that is, of course, until tomorrow).

To turn your horse into Captain Bug-buster, he will first need a mask to protect his identity. We suggest this because there is a theory that bugs cannot tell one Captain Bug-buster from another provided the horse is wearing a mask! Next, you will need a cape which will also act as a shield. What better then a high neck fitted fly sheet? Even better would be one that is infused with bug repellent!  That would be a bugs triple “Whammy!”


So for a recap, we’ve got under-armor, then our Captain Bug-buster costume, and if you do not have a bug repellent infused fly sheet, no worries, you can always spritz one more layer of fly spray all over Captain Bug-buster!

Not into chemical warfare? There are other all natural products out there that are effective to varying degrees. One new product that is getting 5-star reviews is the BugPellent Pest Control system. It contains only natural essential oils and organic waxes. It can be used in a number of areas including in a barn, garage, patio deck, and even hang it from trees in the pastures! If you’re looking for something topical, I have also discovered that several homesteading blogs have instructions on how to make your own all natural bug repellents! Finally, one can look into biological warfare such as using harmless (to human and horses alike), gnat-sized wasps and fly parasites which are known  natural enemies of flies.

Does any of this sound remotely familiar to what you might do? If so PLEASE let me know, so that I know I am not alone! Also by leaving a comment about this blog, you will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a free BugPellent Pest Control starter kit!


Winner will be selected from those that leave a comment or a question between 6/11/2013 & 6/25/2013. Winner must have a valid US mailing address!

62 thoughts on “Bugging OUT: The Battle of the Bugs!”

  1. I cover my horses with fly masks, fly sheets, leg wraps, and then spray any area that is still exposed.

  2. All of our horses wear Fly-Armor bands in their manes throughout the “fly season.” I’ve found that they’re more effective, longer-lasting and a better investment than any sprays, spot-on products, or other chemicals. The inserts last several weeks at a time, and unlike sprays and other chemicals, they don’t “sweat off” in warm weather and the citronella smell isn’t as unpleasant as some of the commercial sprays. In fact, the warmer it gets, the better they work! I’m considering buying a few more sets of Fly Armor, to hang on the back of our saddles during trail rides.

    The two most fly-sensitive horses do have fly sheets for turnout, and I may put fly spray on their legs once a day just to minimize stomping.

    We have a large fan in the barn aisle which can be turned to face the attached run-in so the horses can enjoy the breeze while keeping the flies away.

    Finally. . .there are “hanging death traps” (fly tape) hung throughout the barn, especially the doorways.

  3. Flies seem to be a never ending battle! I feel like I have tried everything, fly sheets, fly spray, fly masks, and leg wraps… I also have tried fly predators which have helped but there are still flies!

  4. A fly sheet is an absolute MUST!! I feed garlic and Smart Pak Bugoff Pellets. A fly mask is always on when my horses are grazing and fly spray is used on a daily basis. A clean house is a happy house….so very true! I remove manure from my horses field every morning and evening when they go into their stalls for their grain. This definitely helps with the flies and pesky bugs. I also use pine pellets in their run-in and a sprinkle of fly repellent powder. Two large fans are always on and I also hang fly traps. Whatever it takes to keep my horses comfortable and fly free!! 😉

    1. I always wondered if the pine pellets worked. Thanks for sharing. Will try them. My gelding has his special spot in the stall and I have stall skins. SO WET!! Will try the pellets!

      1. I prefer to use Equine Fresh pellets compared to Woody Pet, they don’t break down as quickly. If you are putting pellets on top of rubber mats, sprinkle the pellets with a little bit of water, they can be a little tricky to walk on. I specifically remember that because I dropped my phone in a bucket of water that day, lol!!

  5. Both my horses and my mule suffer from the flies in the summer. Fly masks help the horses, but my mules destroys them as soon as I put one on!

  6. OMG! That is hilarious! Anyway, I can totally understand! I went to see my gelding and the horse flies were causing him to bleed (in that special place). I was told to use vaseline there to keep them off, and lo and behold, it worked!!!! Yes, I do cover my man with stuff but in that private area, LOL, he needs something extra! The flies seemed to love it there!

  7. Fly masks for mules too! Manure management in pastures and paddocks. Bug spray for me and the equines.

  8. Iam having good luck so far with the bug situation! Keeping muck buckets empty and trying to keep stalls dry seems to be working!

  9. Flys have not been too bad yet this year. So far the mask, fly spray and mucking the stall daily is working!

  10. I have found that switching fly sprays around seems to help a little bit. I would love to try this new product!

  11. i can only use Ultra Shield otherwise my 2 horses turn into giant walking hives due to the reactions. since it has a sunscreen in it as well their coats manes and tails dont bleach out.

  12. We have fly masks, fly sheets, have an automatic fly sprayer in the barn and still use fly spray to keep our animals from suffering fly bites.

  13. Fly sheets and fly spray everyday, hate seeing my horse bothered by them!

  14. Well written article! We have a problem with deer flies and these little crazy bugs that fly in masses. Love my fly masks and sprays. With spays ALWAYS read labels.

  15. There is one large oak tree in the 30 acre pasture where our horses spend the summer. I would love to try hanging one of these in the tree so they could just relax in the shade instead of a continuous swishing, nipping, and kicking!

  16. Hilarious article! I use fly masks, and love when non-horse visitors ask “What is on their face?” lol

  17. I use a fly mask, fly sheet, and sometimes leg wraps made out of fly sheet material. Recently I’ve tried making my own fly spray. It seems to work as well as anything I’ve bought so far.

  18. I mostly use spray but lately its been so ineffective. Looking for a better way. my horse stays at a fairground so the barns are full of flies, especially after the fair.

  19. I have tried everything from sprays to bait on the ground to hanging fly traps to the natural fly enemies
    Flies are just a summer hassle we have to deal with

  20. We have a dairy farm about a mile away from our property and it makes keeping the flies at bay next to impossible!

  21. My horse is allergic to flies, I love to try anything that will help keep him comfortable!!

  22. Always looking for something to cut down on the flies. Thanks for giving us another option.

  23. I’ve tried almost every fly spray known to exist…my personal experience is, cheap or costly, they only work until they are dry on my horses. Would love to be proven wrong!

  24. I will try anything to keep flys away. I already use barn sprayer, fly predators, fly spray , tried the new fly armor, which I can’t seem to keep in mane. One fly bugs my horse, so I will try these Bug pellant sticks!

  25. My one week old foal has experienced the “four sprays in day” theory, but unfortunately has bug bites all over him. I’d sure love to test out the BugPellent Pest Control starter kit! I’m sure mama mare would agree too.

    1. Hi Melissa!

      I am pleased to announce you are our winner!!!!
      I will contact you via email to get your shipping information!
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  26. I use fly predators and have a HorsePal horse fly trap that is amazing. Have used it for many years and it makes a big dent in the horse fly population.

  27. Anything I can to do help combate bugs and bother-some insects while keeping as natual as possible, I am all for it…

  28. Bug season is a constant battle for me. I have a horse who is extremely sensitive to biting bugs. He gets so itchy he rips sheets and sprays never work long enough.

  29. I have used many things over the years of owning horses. I truley belive that all fly products may help some. But using multi products from spray to giving them stuff in their grain to putting things around the farm is really the best solution! And I am all ways up to trying new products!

  30. Flies stink!! Mine beg at the at as soon as the temp comes up and fight over who is going to be sprayed first!! 😛

  31. I use fly spray on the legs particularly with the bad tick year we are having!Fly masks are a must for the UV eye protection and as a fly deterrent. Swat is wonderful for any ‘boo boos’ that need covering.

  32. I am a big fan of the equi-spot. We have ticks big time and it helps keep the ticks off

  33. We try very hard not to let the flying critters impact our endurance riding and training. The horses love their fly masks and will actually put their faces directly into them. I use repellent on their legs as well as fly sheets when the bugs are particularly bad.

  34. We try to use natural products as much as possible, but have yet to try the Fly Predators, we are curious about what those who have tried them think. Do they work?

    1. We used Fly Predators for two years and didn’t think they worked so we canceled our order for the next year. The flies were 3-4 times worse that year. Needless to say, we’ve been using them ever since. The trick is establishing colonies in areas that you will not be cleaning daily, like around the outside edges of your manure pile/bin/dumpster. Also in a corner of a stall or run-in that isn’t stripped out weekly. For instance we have a manure dumpster and we’ve established colonies of fly predators outside of the 4 corners of the the dumpster. This helps for external defense, keeping the numbers of flies in the pastures and outside the barn down. Additionally, since we rarely have to strip out the area under our horses feed tubs, we have established colonies in two of the stalls which keeps fly numbers very manageable in the barn. If your pasture is close to an area of woods, you can establish your colonies at the wood-line as well. I firmly believe they have been a huge help on our farm, and we plan on using them for years to come. 🙂

  35. I will try anything to keep flys away. Hope this will deal a blow to most of the flies in the area !


  37. The flies are Really bad this year, we use a combo of natural oils mixed together and spray a couple times a day and we keep fly masks on everyone. Would love to try out this new product. 🙂

  38. Once my purple martins leve in July the insects triple, this sounds like it would be great Ty for the chance

  39. i try every thing to keep the bugs off my horse fly mask fly boots sprays fly tape in his stall…

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