Clegs ( horse flies )

PurBee

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23 November 2019
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Now its got warmer and sunnier in west ireland - legions of horseflies have erupted. 3 bites yesterday. The horses were surrounded - just hoffifying really. Sprayed them all over with a lincoln spray…cant remember which one….even sprayed directly onto a horsefly already biting the horse, and the b*gger didnt fly off!

Im convinced, when these things first hatch and swarm, nothing puts them off from getting a sup of mammalian blood.

Horses have free choice of going out to loads of lush grazing or staying in dark stable….since horseflies are out, they chose the stable.
Trouble is, when the day is drawing closed, getting cooler and the horseflies ’go to bed’, the swarms of midges erupt early evening and throughout the mild nights, so horses really are challenged this time of year. I spend a lot of time employing various tactics to reduce exposure but its a battle.

Im considering, for their sake, of selling them, as this wild valley environment surrounded by midge-breeding havens that are sitka spruce plantations is just too much for mammals to bear. We are selling up but its not going to be a rapid sale.

Biting bugs, in large numbers , for months at a time, really do make a place unliveable. 13yrs of it, we’ve all had enough!
 

daydreamer

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15 January 2006
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Colchester, Essex
Now its got warmer and sunnier in west ireland - legions of horseflies have erupted. 3 bites yesterday. The horses were surrounded - just hoffifying really. Sprayed them all over with a lincoln spray…cant remember which one….even sprayed directly onto a horsefly already biting the horse, and the b*gger didnt fly off!
Have you tried those horsefly traps you can get? Something like .. https://www.electric-fence.co.uk/pest-control/horsefly-traps-insect-control.html

Expensive but might be worth it if you have lots.
 

AFB

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28 February 2017
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Haven't found anything to stop them (including clothing) but found things to make them less irritating when they get you:

- Antihistamines
- Lanacane cream - this is a lifesaver
- Heat - the itchiness responds to heat rather than cold. Put a teaspoon in boiling water, let it cool to the point you can safely touch it and then hold it over the bite
- Zappy machines - I haven't tried one yet as the above have got me through, but next on my hit list as they come well recommended!

Currently sat here with a fat hand after one got my little finger when out with the dog. Can't help the swelling...
 
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I have reservations about insect killing machines. We know that plummeting insect numbers is a huge ecological issue, how does the machine target the right insect? How many non-horseflies are killed by them?
 

PurBee

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Coblover63

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Bridgnorf, innit!
I'm highly allergic and get huge reactions. They do bite through clothing so I wear two layers when I'm riding. Horseflies definitely get confused by zebra prints so my mare (who's about of a horse-fly diva!) has a ride-on zebra print fly rug and I have a pair of leggings with a strip of zebra print down the outside. I also wear a large men's shirt over my T-shirt which means that I have a lot of bagginess, so if a HF lands, they either can't reach my skin or they have two layers and can't bite through. We look a sight but it means a comfortable ride for us both. I remember riding out with a friend and her and her horse were plagued with horseflies, whilst we were right beside her and didn't get one land on either of us.

If you DO get bitten, treat the bite with heat as soon as you can.... either a hot teaspoon pressed on it repeatedly or blast the area with a hot hair dryer for as long as you can without burning yourself. Learning this has been an absolute game-changer for me, having previously spent every summer applying cold flannels and them being not very effective. If you apply heat regularly for the first 24 hours, it kills the toxins and stops the itch and massive inflammation. It has certainly improved summertime for me!
 

daydreamer

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Colchester, Essex
wow thanks, that sounds too good to be true! Do you know how it works? It looks like a black rubber ball suspended within netting. Says it kills 95% of horseflies within 2.5 acres!

worth the investment if it works. 😃

I have never used/tried one. I looked into them about 5 years ago when I was at a livery yard with lots of them. I moved shortly after so didn't go further with it. From what I remember the horse flies are attracted to the large ball but when they try and fly off they get stuck in the netting?! Something like that :) Probably worth a good google session.
 

cold_feet

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28 November 2008
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Suffolk/Norfolk border
Just back from a lovely horsey weekend in the Chilterns. Lovely except for the horseflies. I’ve come home with 8 bites - slapping on Anthisan cream seems to help for half hour or so 😥
 

rabatsa

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18 September 2007
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Yorkshire
I have two of the horsefly traps. They have been catching the cleggs and other flies, the sort that can cause fly strike in sheep. I still have cleggs but not as many as in previous years but for the traps to really be effective I would need several more as my area is too great for what I have.

So far I have only caught one moth in four weeks so probably safe for the rarer flying beasties.
 

moscow_mule

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16 September 2006
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217
Location
doggy paddling through the custard of life
Just back from the field, I was out the car less than 30 seconds and got bitten on the back of my leg. I HATE the feckers :mad::mad: Will be going up tomorrow looking as much like a zebra as I can( albeit a large, overweight ,middle-aged one o_O) I hate to say it but bring back winter lol
 

PurBee

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23 November 2019
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I have reservations about insect killing machines. We know that plummeting insect numbers is a huge ecological issue, how does the machine target the right insect? How many non-horseflies are killed by them?
ive been researching a bit, and it seems mozzies, midges and horseflies and those tiny biting black flies, aswell as other biters - they all are attracted to heat/smells for gaining a blood feast - so most traps using an trapping agent replicate the smells these prefer, so it attracts mainly the nasty biting bugs.

Mozzies and biting flies particularly like food rotting in water….it gives off a vapour…similar to what attracts them to dung and dog poop.

The pollinators are attracted to a different attractant, pollens, colours, flower shapes, so the chances of catching them are minimised. I did see some small flower shaped sticky fly killer things for people to put in their gardens and they dont seem like a good idea to place them near flowers where pollinators will be searching.

I dont like the UV zap bug killers as they attract many different varieties of flying insect.

Im going to test different traps and really go to town putting them around the horse areas. These areas are away from my crops/flower beds, so should be a good test to see which trap works best for killing the nasty biters.
Will report my findings on here.

I’ve just been ‘tractoring’ (Jeremy clarkson 😂) and the horseflies land on the engine cover because its hot….they dont land on me as the engine is hotter! So keep cool around horseflies. My black mare has 5x the amount swarming her than the grey, because she gets hotter naturally out in full sun.
 
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