Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Biting Midges, Bothering or Biting Horse

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

    Biting midges (aka no-see-ums) are tiny gnats that can be more than a mere annoyance for horses. They are active during the warmer months, they favor areas close to water, and are most active at dusk and dawn. They are blood-suckers and they inflict painful bites usually on a horse’s top line, belly or tail area.

    In severe cases, these insects can cause severe irritation or an allergic response.


    Inspect your horse’s top line, ears, belly and tail base area for evidence of this problem. If your horse’s skin looks inflamed in these areas (hair loss, dandruff, dermatitis, sores, redness, swelling), or your horse appears greatly bothered by these insects (itching, off feed, excessively anxious or upset), contact your vet with your findings and concerns. Treatment may be required.

    Prevention is the best approach to dealing with this problem. Enclose horses in stalls at night and consider using fine mosquito mesh netting over windows, if practical. Use fans to blow air through stalls. Use insect repellents and blanket your horse at night.


    Your vet understands parasite and insect biology and can help you manage your equines in a way that reduces exposure to these highly irritating pests.

    Helpful Terms & Topics in HSVGWritten, Reviewed or Shared by Experts in Equine Health

    Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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