How to Keep Horseflies Away from a Pool

Looking for a how to keep horse flies and other biting flies away from your pool? There are plenty of DIY ways to discourage these aggravated pests!

When we first moved to our house on the marsh we had a rude awakening as to how many horseflies and other biting flies seemed to be in the area! It was almost enough to make us not even want to use the pool.

pool with marsh behind

Damp areas around your pool and wet areas in your yard are the perfect breeding ground for these strong fliers unfortunately.

Thankfully there are plenty of natural home remedies and DIY solutions to keep horse flies away from your pool and control the fly population outside of your home to begin with. I recommend using a variety of them combined for the best results.

Whether you’re dealing with deer flies, horse flies, or common house flies, (or all of them like we do!) these ideas will help you manage and reduce the number of flies around your pool area.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are one way to keep horse flies at bay. Oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, and citronella have insect-repelling properties that can deter horse flies.

Mix a few drops of these essential oils with water in a spray bottle and spritz around your pool area. The strong odor is unpleasant for flies and can significantly reduce their numbers.

If you have a big fly problem like we do, this is not going to be the most effective solution but for those with smaller problems with flies, this can be helpful.

Liquid Traps

A homemade trap can be a good idea to catch flies. One popular method is to use a plastic bag filled with water and a few drops of apple cider vinegar. Hang these bags around your pool. The reflection of light on the water confuses the flies, and they often drown in the bag.

fly trap hanging in garden

You can also use store-bought fly traps (affiliate link) which lure common house flies in with a pungent odor and trap them, just hang those suckers farther away from the pool area as they can get quite smelly.

Bug Zappers and Fly Swatters

While not as natural, a bug zapper (affiliate link) can be highly effective in fly control around your pool. These devices attract flies with light and then zap them. We have four of these large fly zappers around our pool.

electric bug zapper

A fly swatter is also useful for dealing with any persistent insects that manage to get through other defenses. I always keep on nearby and near the edge of the pool when swimming.

fly swatter, salt gun, and electric fly racket

I have noticed that the biting deer flies tend to start flying around the pool when my boys are swimming and splashing so it’s easy to kill them if you have a swatter handy.

Away from the water, an electric racket-style bug zapper or salt gun (affiliate links) are fun ways to kill the flies too!

Sticky Traps

Sticky traps can be placed around the pool area to catch flies. These traps are coated with a sticky substance that horse flies can’t escape from once they land on it. Place them as close as possible and in strategic spots around the pool for the best results.

For the large biting flies and horseflies, here is South Georgia it is common to coat a blue buck with sticky bug-trapping coating (affiliate link) and hang them upside down. The bugs are attracted to the blue color (I use 5 gallon Lowe’s buckets) and when they land on them they get stuck and die. I have 4 of these around our yard as well.

blue bucket hanging upside down to kill flies

If you are dealing with deer flies, put these buckets out early in the season (I do it in March). The male flies emerge first (they don’t bite) and the more of those you can kill before the females come and they breed, the less flies there will be the following year, as the eggs from this summer will hatch and pupate for next summer.

Manage Breeding Sites

Horse flies are attracted to damp areas and organic material. Ensure that there is no standing water or damp areas around your pool.

Regularly clean up any organic material and manage manure if you have a horse barn nearby. This reduces the breeding sites for flies and helps control their population.

Unfortunately for us, being on the marsh makes this technique impossible but if you can control wet areas, this could be very helpful.

Carbon Dioxide and Dark Colors

Horse flies are attracted to carbon dioxide and dark colors. Try to avoid wearing dark-colored swimwear when by the pool. You can also set up a trap that emits carbon dioxide to attract and capture these flies.

Natural Fly Predators

Encourage natural fly predators like birds and beneficial insects in your garden. They can help keep the number of horse flies in check. Planting a variety of flowers can attract these natural predators to your yard. Or you could add a bird feeder or bat house nearby.


Finally, while it won’t kill the flies, keeping a bucket fan running in your direction can help discourage the flies, especially the smaller biting flies and house flies, from biting you when you are sitting near the pool.

It may not be possible to entirely eliminate biting flies and horseflies from around your pool area but I can tell you by implementing many of these strategies, each year it seems the problem improves and we are able to enjoy more time in the pool.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *