Horse flies are a larger and somewhat noisy type of fly that is found in many places around the world. Sometimes known as a gadfly or March fly, the wider family of horse flies include over three thousand different varieties. In some parts of the world, these flies are known for pollinating various types of flora while in other places they are considered no more than a nuisance.
One of the more distinguishing features of this fly is the painful bite that is administered by some species. While it is true that many types of flying pests are capable of biting by puncturing the skin with a needle-like protrusion, horse flies are equipped with mandibles shaped with serrated edges. This makes it possible for the fly to actually rip into the skin and slice away a portion of the top layer of flesh. While horse flies tend to feed on the blood that wells up in the wound, they are also capable of slicing off a tiny section of skin and feeding on that severed portion as well.
As with many other insects, these flies tend to strike and then remove themselves from the site of the attack as quickly as possible. This helps to minimize the chances of the fly being caught and killed while feeding. The degree of pain caused by the bites is often enough to distract the victim long enough for the fly to feed and then fly away before any action can be taken.
Horse flies tend to thrive during warm weather. Eggs are usually laid in plants and other vegetation located in a climate that is somewhat moist and where the plants are located over soil with a high moisture content. As the eggs drop from the plants into the wet soil, they are able to feed on organisms found in the soil until the larvae are ready to emerge at pupation.
The easiest way to get rid of horse flies is to deal with the larvae, preventing them from developing into adulthood. However, this is often not possible or practical. While there are some designs for traps and other devices to control the population and activity of horse flies in a given area, protection from the painful bites is more commonly the focus.
One home remedy for warding off the flies is to combine some type of antiseptic mouthwash with a small amount of lemon-scented dish soap. Some recipes call for adding a small amount of lemon-scented ammonia to the concoction. This mixture can be placed in a spray bottle and used to liberally coat surround grass, hedges, plants, and wood or brick walls. However, this spray should never be applied directly to the skin. Using the concoction on the surrounding landscape is often enough to repel the flies and thus minimize or eliminate the chances of receiving a bite.
A horse fly trap is also sometimes helpful. Unlike many other types of traps, the design and function do not rely on luring the horse fly with the use of scent. Instead, some visual element attracts the attention of the flies and entices them to enter the trap. Once inside, the flies cannot escape and will eventually perish from a combination of the temperature inside the trap and a lack of nourishment.