A pair of 5-gal. buckets, along with some plexiglass and landscape fabric, can be used to make a simple horse fly trap that will greatly reduce your horse fly population, says Derald Stephens, Copan, Okla.
The buckets are filled with dish soap water and set on the ground between a pair of T-posts. A 24-in. wide, 18-in. high section of clear plexiglass is attached to the posts over the buckets, with some landscape fabric above the plexiglass to simulate an animal carcass. The dark fabric above the plexiglass attracts the horse flies and as they fly toward what they think is a meal, they hit the plexiglass and fall into the buckets and drown.
I've used this idea for two years and it really works," says Stephens. "I keep the traps outside the paddock so the horses won't get into them. Some of the horse flies intentionally land on the water to get a drink, but because of the soapy mix they can't fly off and eventually drown. I use a net to scoop the dead flies out when they get too thick.
I bought the plexiglass at Lowes. Black plastic would probably work as well as landscape fabric.
To attach the plexiglass, Stephens drilled holes through the plexiglass and the T-posts, then wired it in place. I had to modify a bit to use on the plexiglass because a regular drill bit would break it, he says. I just ground down a regular drill bit so the cutting edges aren't so aggressive, which results in more of a scraping action. I used metal paper clips to attach the landscape fabric to the posts.