by Pippa Greenwood

I hate horseflies. I cannot see why they've been put on this earth, or any possible benefit they have.

talk_blog_pippaIf I had to describe myself, I'd say I was a nature lover. I'm forever taking the side of birds, insects, amphibians and mammals, and can argue the case for just about any creature, even pests. But at this time of year there is one exception: the horsefly.

I hate horseflies. I cannot see why they've been put on this earth, or any possible benefit they have. People complain about houseflies, but although they definitely don't feature on my list of favourite insects, I can see their role in breakdown of unwanted materials. But horseflies are a menace to horses and humans and no doubt a lot of other creatures too. Gardening has suddenly become a high-risk business - I seem to do more leaping about than weeding and sowing. We even have a house rule that hitting is allowed if it means squashing a horsefly before it attacks!

Apparently eating garlic helps to fend them off, and, interestingly my son is rarely affected. But he doesn't eat any more garlic than the rest of the family. Last week we ate tomato sauce on pasta , made using three huge, succulent and freshly harvested cloves of garlic. It made no difference. Perhaps I should rub the stuff on my skin, but then would any humans come near me? I use insect repellent and it works brilliantly but I hate slathering myself (and worse still the kids) in chemicals. The garden is suffering!

Discuss this blog post

Talkback: Horseflies
Your comment will appear after a quick registration step

Gardeners' World Web User 02/07/2009 at 19:48

I feel the same about mosquitos - no discernable use to anyone. I've had some success repelling them with a lavender gel and, believe it or not, eating Marmite! Don't knnow if it works for horseflies as I don't see them here.

Gardeners' World Web User 03/07/2009 at 01:12

I saw a lady bird today the first one in ages, all these useful bugs seem to be dissapearing whilst things that are no use to man or beast seem to thrive, I fear for our bee's and butterflies as well.I must admit horse flies and mosquito's are my worst enamies,along with wasps,they all seem to bite me.

Gardeners' World Web User 03/07/2009 at 09:03

Can you please advise me when it is the right time to cut down all spring leaves from Heleborus, they re growing strongly and cramping other plans in the woodland garden, i.e. hostas. Is there such a plant as "hot lips". thenk you. Eileen Carter.

Gardeners' World Web User 03/07/2009 at 10:25

@bunnysgarden Yes, Avon's Skinsosoft, applied liberally to all exposed skin, is a popular and fairly effective protection from biting insects. It won't necessarily stop them landing on you (it's not a repellent) but it seems to make them less likely to bite. I was first tole about it by a squaddie (apparently they buy it for themselves and take it out in their bergens, which is a fun image) but now you'll find it in places like camping shops (eg Tisos) especially up here in Scotland where midges are the real concern.

Gardeners' World Web User 03/07/2009 at 18:19

im finding ants seem to be my problem i think that i have kill them all and then they pop up again and again.

See more comments...