Brilliant Man Builds Trap That Kills 1,697 Horseflies In Just One Week

by Ileana Paules-Bronet
Ileana is the Senior Editor of Branded Content at Wild Sky Media. She grew up in upstate New York and Oregon and now lives in Queens, NY. Ileana graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in sociology. After graduating, she attended the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City, then worked as in marketing at Oxford University Press. Since transitioning to editorial, she has written for BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Woman's World. She has also worked for local newspapers and magazines in upstate New York. In her free time, you can find Ileana watching Law & Order: SVU, eating ice cream, and spending time with her dog.

If you’ve ever been bitten by a horsefly, you know how painful — and then itchy — it can be.

Usually, horseflies try to bite horses and cattle, but they are also known to bite other animals, including humans.

Some areas are known to have a lot of horseflies, which can make outdoor recreation completely miserable.

The University of Kentucky explains that while male horseflies feed on nectar, female horseflies only feed on other living beings — once they land, they bite using their knife-like mouths to feed on blood.

Although humans can use insect repellants to avoid horsefly bites, animal insecticides may wear off more easily (and animals can’t reapply insecticide by themselves) — horses and cattle have to put up with these pests all summer long.

Dan Owsley was concerned about his horses, so he decided to build a trap to try to catch and kill horseflies — and it worked better than he ever could have imagined!

facebook horse flies

Dan Owsley decided to build a DIY horsefly trap, and when he saw how well it worked, he posted about it on Facebook.

Hundreds of thousands of people saw his post and shared it with their friends — his photos and explanation went completely viral.

Dan explained:

Built a horsefly trap 3 days ago.

Day 1 killed 146 horseflies.

Day 2 killed 375!

We either have a terrible horsefly problem or it’s a great trap.

dead horse flies

UPDATE: The 7 day total was 1,697 Horseflies killed! They are big (1″ long) and easy to count.

They need to be cleaned out every day anyway, so they won’t rot.

How it works is simple.

Horseflies are visual hunters.

From a distance the black bag looks like something to bite, they do a fly over and are deflected into the soapy water and drown within a few seconds.

horse flies trap plan

UPDATE: I’ve added a couple of pics since many people have been sharing this and asking for plans.

The leg configuration can be whatever you like. I just made mine so it would be easy to move and change the bag.

One last tip: The plexiglass needs to be keep clean and free of scratches.

We have high humidity here so I squeegy the dew off the plexiglass every morning.

The third pic is one day’s catch! I’ve quit counting.

catch horse flies

UPDATE: I just realized the pic of the HORSEFLIES was blurry so I replaced it with a clearer pic.

Also added a fourth pic of the saw cuts in the 2×4 that holds the plexiglass. They are at 45 degree angles, about an inch deep.

The plexiglass fit tight enough that I didn’t need to fasten it in anyway.

The bag I used was a 55 gallon trash bag from Sam’s Club. It holds about a 5 gallon bucket of water with a big squirt of liquid dish soap.

horse flies

UPDATE: Make sure and set this in an open area where the horseflies can see it from a distance.

You may need to move it around until you find the “sweet spot.”

Clean it out with a cat litter scoop or large slotted spoon.

horse with flies

NOTE: Be sure to paint the top board a dark color so the light color of the wood won’t reflect in the plexiglass and make it visible to the flies.

UPDATE: Dan Fowler from Tennessee sent me a video of his setup catching a horsefly. He caught over 6,300 in one week!

Do you know someone with a horsefly problem? SHARE this article with them on Facebook!