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How To Keep Bot Flies Away

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Bot flies, also known as warble flies, heel flies, and gadflies, are a family of flies technically known as Oestridae. Their larvae are internal parasites of mammals, causing damage and distress to their hosts. This comprehensive guide will help you understand what attracts bot flies, how to identify an infestation, and most importantly, how to keep them at bay.


To keep bot flies away, ensure to keep pets indoors especially during the bot fly season, use insect repellents like #43 Bug Repel, wear protective clothing in areas heavily infested with bot flies, use fly sheets and fly boots for horses, regularly groom your animals and remove bot fly eggs, and administer anthelmintics to your animals in the late summer and after the first killing frost. Using repellents and maintaining good hygiene practices can help keep bot flies at bay.

Understanding Bot Flies

Bot flies are native to various regions, with some species being more common in tropical regions, while others can be found in North America, infesting livestock and other mammals. They are attracted to open wounds or moist, protected parts of the body dirty with urine or fecal material, such as the rear ends of sheep or other animals. They lay their eggs on these areas, leading to an infestation.

Symptoms of Bot Fly Infestation

The symptoms of a bot fly infestation, or myiasis, include itching, sensation of movement, occasional lancinating pain, and raised, furuncle-like lesions with central necrosis. These symptoms typically develop within two days of infestation and can cause discomfort, pain, and insomnia in some cases. If you suspect a bot fly infestation, it is crucial to consult a medical professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

How To Keep Bot Flies Away

Here are some effective preventative measures you can take to keep bot flies away:

  1. Keep pets indoors: The best prevention for pets is to keep them inside, especially during the bot fly season. If this isn’t possible, use a topical mosquito spray approved for use on animals as a deterrent.
  2. Use insect repellents: Products like #43 Bug Repel, which is a concentrated blend of essential oils, can be effective at repelling insects, bugs, and unwanted flies.
  3. Wear appropriate clothing: If you’re going into an area heavily infested with bot flies, wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, and other protective clothing to minimize skin exposure.
  4. Use fly sheets and fly boots for horses: A fly sheet can help reduce the likelihood of botflies laying eggs on the horse’s underbelly, while fly boots can protect the horse’s legs.
  5. Regular grooming and egg removal: Remove bot fly eggs from your animals using a specialized serrated botfly knife or grooming stone. Clipping the hair in the area is also an effective method to remove eggs.
  6. Administer anthelmintics: Deworming your animals in the late summer and again after the first killing frost will help kill internal larvae and break the bot fly’s life cycle.

Remember, prevention is always better than a cure. Using these repellents and maintaining good hygiene practices can help keep bot flies at bay.

Effective Bot Fly Repellents

There are several products and repellents that can be effective in keeping bot flies away. Some of these include Alto Bug Shield, #43 Bug Repel, and Vet-Kem Flea, Tick, and Bot Spray. These products contain active ingredients that repel insects and prevent botfly eggs from hatching.

In conclusion, while bot flies can cause serious discomfort and health issues, there are various preventative measures and treatments available. Awareness and timely action can help in effectively managing and preventing bot fly infestations. Always consult a medical professional or a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the bot fly season?

The bot fly season varies depending on the region. In North America, for instance, bot flies are most prevalent during the late summer and fall months.

Are bot flies harmful to humans?

Yes, bot flies can pose a risk to humans. While it is rare, their larvae can infest human skin and cause a condition known as human myiasis, which can lead to various health complications.

How can I identify bot fly eggs on my pet?

Bot fly eggs are typically small, yellowish, and oval. They are often found in clusters on the animal’s fur, particularly around the legs and belly.

Can I use regular insect repellents to deter bot flies?

While regular insect repellents may deter some bot flies, it is recommended to use products specifically designed to repel bot flies for the best protection.

What should I do if I find bot fly eggs on my pet?

If you find bot fly eggs on your pet, you should remove them immediately using a specialized bot fly knife or grooming stone. After removal, it’s crucial to clean the area thoroughly and consult with a vet for further instructions.

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