How to repel deer flies and horse flies can be very effective for you once you have read the details below.

Both deer and horse flies suck blood from humans as well as cattle and horses. The deer flies are slightly smaller in size than the horse fly, and are more likely to bite humans. Both of these flies like to lay their eggs in muddy areas where there is water nearby, i.e. a pond or a stream.

Things to Consider When Trying to Repel Deer Flies and Horse Flies

Make sure you know the prime areas where deer and horse flies mate, hang out and lay their eggs. It is also wise to identify the time of year when both of these flies are active and liable to bite – i.e., the hotter months.

Repelling Deer Flies

If you live in the United States or in Canada, then it is pretty likely that you have seen a deer fly especially if you live or have taken excursions into swampy areas or anywhere near livestock or open fields.

Deer flies are only around for a couple of summer months during the year; they are not active in the cooler months. The worst months for getting bit are June and July, especially when there is little wind. It is often best to avoid the more wet and wooded areas of the countryside and places where there are a large number of animals, especially cattle and horses during this time period.

Male deer flies do not actually bite; they focus more on pollen and nectar rather than blood. The female deer flies do, however, bite humans and are absolutely after your blood. However, as opposed to female horse flies that tend to bite your legs, female deer flies will aim for your head, neck and the upper part of your body.

One of the best ways to keep deer flies away from your head is to distract them from your head onto something away from your face such as sticking a large feather or a branch or a fern in your hair or hat. This is very simple but oh so effective.

There are also deer fly patches that you can purchase to stick onto your hat as well as larger fly patches that can be used near livestock and campgrounds etc. At a push, you can also stick these patches to your body.

DEET is another preventative measure, which is certainly worth trying. Otherwise have a go with nylon head nets that will keep out deer fly who, as highlighted before, tend to aim for the head and neck areas of humans. Wearing light color clothing is also a deterrent. Citronella will work too.

Repelling Horse Flies

Horse flies – as their name would suggest – are often a pest for horses but also attack cattle and humans. As with deer flies, it is the female of the species that is the bloodsucker. Horse flies are active during the warm weather and are found in similar locations as deer flies namely leaves and vegetation that are very near to mud, water and/or livestock.

There are several options for getting rid of horse flies including the use of a physical trap that comes in many forms including lights, flypaper and branded traps such as “Flies-be-Gone” or “Horse Pal.”

Take preventative measures such as ensuring your livestock are very clean and removing any still/standing water close to your livestock. This includes troughs and buckets of water. Keep the height of grasses and weeds low so that the horse flies have limited options for laying their eggs.

Chemicals such as pyrethroids, organophosphates and organochlorines are also an option to deter horse flies from a certain area. Obviously, it is  important to check that the chemical(s) that you use are safe for any humans or animals that may come into contact with them. Always ensure you take the correct precautions and preventative methods and follow instructions when using such substances.

There are a plethora of home remedies that you can find on the Internet although most of these are not scientifically proven. It is definitely worth a shot trying; there may well be something out there that works for you.

Here are two sprays which you can mix from products you can find around the house that can be used to spray the horse flies. The theory is that the film coats the flies and suffocates them.

  • Mixing ivory liquid dish soap and water
  • Mixing water, lemon-scented dish ammonia and mint flavored mouthwash

Head nets and repellent tape for you and your animals will also keep the horse flies at bay. As with deer flies, repellent tape on your hat works well.


As can be seen from the above information, repelling deer flies and horse flies can been done with similar approaches like using repellents. It is true that there are several differences between the two, including the parts of the human body attacked as well as the fact that horse flies do tend to prefer livestock to humans. However, this does not mean that horse flies do not bite humans because they most certainly do. The best thing is to find a solution from the above that works for you and/or your family and stick with it.