Here's What's Attracting Horse Flies To Your Yard (& Helpful Tips To Deter Them)

Nothing can ruin a peaceful day in your backyard quite like the intrusion of horse flies buzzing in your ear. Horse flies can mirror a bumblebee in size and are most common around late June when they become adults. While the insects are mostly just a nuisance, they can be carriers of disease, and unlike the males (which eat nectar), females feed off blood. If you find your yard filled with horse flies every summer, they are likely flocking there due to pet waste, ripe fruits, or open trash cans.

There are things you can do to deter the horse flies from your yard, though. Some of the best ways to get rid of flies are to use venus fly traps, spray insecticide, or plant fly-repellant herbs and plants — but sometimes, the best thing you can do is keep a clean yard. Here's how to determine what keeps bringing horse flies to your home and how to get rid of them for good.

Why horse flies keep flocking to your yard

Horse flies may have gotten their name for being particularly keen on horses and other livestock, but that doesn't mean these pesky bugs won't also target your suburban or city-based backyard. With over 160 species of horse fly, you can expect to see them pretty much anywhere in the United States. If you are seeing an influx of them in your yard, they are likely seeking out a warm, wet area. If your yard has any standing water after it rains, you can almost guarantee that horse flies will soon come swarming. Putting your pet food outside or leaving food scraps from a recent outdoor barbecue will also attract them, along with mulch and fruit trees. One more rare thing that will have swarms of flies outside your house is the potential for a gas leak, so always check all possibilities when flies come knocking.

While horse flies will look for livestock to land on, when they aren't available, a dark, moving matter is often their target (yes, this means you). These flies will usually wait until a host is nearby before flying around, and will be around more often when the weather is still, hot, and sunny. If you venture outside with the horse flies, consider wearing light-colored long sleeves and pants to make you less of a target.

Helpful tips to deter horse flies from your yard

It can be quite difficult to rid your backyard of all flies, but to deter the larger, horse fly variety, the best thing you can do is try to keep your area clean. This means cleaning up quickly after eating outdoors and tidying up after your pets. You always want to ensure the lid is on your trash pails and regularly sanitize the inside of the cans so nothing sweet or sticky latches onto the sides. If you have fruit trees or plants in your yard, make sure you are removing any dead or overripe items, as this also attracts horse flies.

If you are keeping your yard in top shape and still suffering from horse flies, there are natural ways to keep flies out, such as adding a bird feeder to let natural predators help you fend off the pests. Implementing screens and barriers is a good method, as is introducing fly traps to catch ones that have already made your yard their home. If all else fails, spraying insecticides and repellents is an option.