Goodbye Rain! Hello Sun! Warmer weather is a sign of many fun things on the horizon; vacations, riding outside, trips to the beach and BBQs with family and friends. But with warmer weather comes those darn pesky flies. Here are some tips for shoo-ing those flies away:
Manure Control: Many of us board our horses out, but if you keep your horses at home or in a co-op situation, putting in place a manure control program is the first place to start in controlling flies. By removing manure and wet bedding each day fly attracting odors and moist environments for fly reproduction are greatly reduced. Many types of flies also feed off manure, so by removing a food source you will reduce the number of flies in and around your barn. Moving manure offsite is ideal, but not always possible. If you have a lot of acreage you can spread it across your land in thin layers to help dry it out. If you lack acreage to spread it across, consider piling it high as far from your stable as possible. The internal heat of piled high manure will be an inhospitable environment for fly breeding.
Fly Predators: Another preventative measure that can be taken are fly predators and fly parasites. These bugs are harmless to humans and animals and seek out fly pupas before they hatch. By purposefully placing these creatures around your property in high fly areas every four weeks starting in spring you can get a jump start on reducing the future fly population.
Supplements: There are many feed through bug repellent supplements on the market like Solitude, Simplifly and Diatomaceous Earth. Feed through products are best started in the Spring before the flies get bad as a preventative since they will kill existing populations in your horse’s manure and preventing them from fully taking hold. Allow 4-6 weeks for full results. Learn more about the Fly Life cycle: The Secret Life of Flies.
Fly Spray: Repellents are the traditional equestrian go-to and everyday it feels like there are increasingly more products on the market. Mary’s has a large selection of fly spray from the more traditional Pyranha, Farnam, Absorbine and Bronco brands to local vendor brands like Lavender Dream Farms and Mary’s Botanicals. Many products on the market are now made from natural products such as: It Works Organic Fly Spray, Eqyss, Espree and Calm Coat. You will want to add a Fly Roll on Gel or Cream to your fly fighting arsenal like Endure Sweat Resistant Roll On or Swat. These are great for getting fly protection on your horses face without getting them in their eyes or on your hands.
Fly Gear: Fly sprays wear off, so in between applications consider gearing your horse up to keep flies off them. Flysheets come in many sizes, colors, and fabric type. Mary’s staff will be happy to find the right fit for your horse. Many companies like Cashel, Rambo Micklem, Weatherbetta and Kensington have matching fly boots and masks to match the sheet you choose.
Fly Traps and Tapes: There are several ways to lure adult flies away from your horse using two types of traps – the kind that attracts flies visually (great for stable flies) and those that attract flies by odor (best for house flies). Traps should be hung in outside locations at least four feet above the ground. Many will have manufacturer’s best practices for placement, so be sure to read the packaging. You may consider hanging strips of fly tape on the ceiling and in the rafters above stalls to help reduce the fly breeding population.
The friendly staff at Mary’s Tack and Feed are more than happy to chat with you about what products have worked best for us out in the field, so do not be afraid to ask!