Why Is Fly Control So important?

As the weather turns warmer every spring, horse owners gear up for the seasonal battle that is about to begin against pesky flies, gnats and mosquitoes.  These flies are not only a nuisance, but can pose a health risk to your horse and can even pester your horse to a point where safety is a concern.  Flies and mosquitoes can carry diseases, but making sure your horse is up to date on the appropriate vaccinations along with using good fly control strategies will help keep him protected.  Fly and mosquito bites can also cause skin irritation, some horses are very sensitive and have more pronounced reactions that can lead to issues like hot spots, sweet itch and hives, so keeping the flies away is the best way to prevent those issues.

A horse’s natural defense against flies is limited, and one way horses commonly attempt to keep flies off their legs is by stomping their hooves.  The concussion from this constant stomping can cause hoof and leg problems, which can be painful to the horse and can mean lost riding and training time.  Some horses can react so severely to constant pestering flies that they may become hard to handle and even create a dangerous situation.  Below we have outlined different fly control techniques you can use to help prevent these situations.

It is important that horse owners are armed with the tools to protect their horses and barns and there are lots of options to choose from, here we will review key tips and tricks for keeping your horse protected and comfortable during fly season.


Did you know?

Better Protect Your Horse Through Better Fly Spray Application

Applying fly spray correctly will save you time and money, and it will provide the best protection for your horse. Here are some key tips:

  • Apply enough product to be effective, waving a mist of fly spray over your horse like perfume is not going to work. Apply up to 2 ounces of product per application, which is around 45 pumps of the spray bottle. It may seem like spraying a small amount of high-quality fly spray is economical, but this will not provide the best protection for your horse.
  • Apply to a clean horse. You want the fly spray to stick directly to the hair, not to mud or dust.
  • Shake well before you start applying.
  • Cover the entire hair shaft. Brush the hair up before spraying, and then follow up by brushing over the coat to even out the coverage.
  • Do not store your fly spray in direct sunlight as it will degrade the active ingredients.
  • Use a soft cloth to apply to the face or sensitive areas.

How to read a label and differentiate products

How can you tell the difference between fly spray formulas?  When you compare fly spray, it’s important to look beyond the price tag and really focus on the list of the active ingredients and the levels of those ingredients in the formula.  This will tell you how strong a formula is, and learning what each ingredient contributes to the formula will help you decide which fly spray is best for your situation.  But you need to look closely, the amounts are usually in small percentages so can be hard to tell the difference. 

Click here to learn more: https://absorbine.com/blog/2018/06/05/how-to-compare-fly-spray/

Click here to compare UltraShield products: https://absorbine.com/learning-center/ultrashield-fly-control-rotation-reference-guide/



Natural ingredient from the Chrysanthemum flower that kills by attacking fly’s central nervous system

  • Used in conjunction with synergist   
  • Quick knockdown                              
  • Found in EX and Red


Synthetic version of pyrethrin

  • Kills and repels
  • Quick knockdown                              
  • Used in conjunction with synergist
  • Found in EX and red   


Synthetic insecticides which have a similar chemistry to pyrethrins

  • Types of Pyrethroids
    • Permethrin
      • Found in EX and Red
    • Cypermethrin
      • Found in Red and Sport
    • Tetramethrin
      • Found in Red


Synergists are used in conjunction with the actives to enhance killing power & provide longer-lasting results.

  • Found in UltraShield EX and Red:
    • Piperonyl Butoxide (PBO)
      • Synthetic
      • Quick knockdown
      • Kills on contact when used with Pyrethrins
  • Fly masks keep flies away from horses’ eyes and ears, areas that are very hard for them to protect naturally.  For complete fly protection it is best to choose the ideal fly spray for your horse’s situation along with a fly mask in style best suited for your horse.  Our fly mask keeps horses cool, dry, and comfortable using high-tech fabrics originally developed for human performance clothing.  It is available in an array of styles and sizes, and it uses a mesh that blocks 80% of UV rays. Plus, rolled inner seams prevent rubs and irritation. Guaranteed to last through one fly season.

2019 The Chronicle of the Horse Readers' Choice Award