Fly control for horses – time to get mean
Flies are a significant pain in the butt – and can be irritating. Luckily, many things to do around the farm and barn can be helpful. First, we must understand how flies live and breed and what gets their motor running. Although there are a zillion types of flies, for simplicity’s sake, we will lump them all together into the blood-sucking stable fly variety. These are the most annoying to horses and feed on blood.
Zebra prints are said to be less attractive to flies. And definitely more fashionable.
Start your fly control plan by fighting all stages of the fly life cycle.
Where flies like to hang out
- First, try and remove the source of flies at the barn- soft and moist decaying organic matter. Usually this is manure, but it can also be urine-stained bedding or any other decaying organic stuff.
- Manure is where flies breed and their eggs mature. So – get rid of manure, get rid of flies. Yes, lots of us compost the manure (yeah!), and luckily this is OK. You are fine as long as the manure is removed from the barn and allowed to compost and dry. Flies like the wet stuff.
Tackle the hatching flies
- Fly predators are great for this. These teenie tiny wasps actually lay their eggs in fly pupae, and the wasp babies eat the flies. Yum. This is a system in which you are mailed, at set intervals, fly predator wasps to release on your property. You should keep going with deliveries throughout the fly season.
Then you can attack the flies that may have hatched.
- This is a marathon, not a sprint, so be persistent and patient. Fly traps are very effective and stinky, so put them far from people and horses. This will also lure them away from the barn. You can also use fly baits, but as with all things, keep them away from kids and pets.
- You can also repel them from your barn with overhead fly spray systems or products applied directly to your horse, like sprays. I’m a massive fan of fly masks and fly sheets, also. Fly masks with nose coverings double as sun protection for pink-nosed horses and fly sheets offer some level of dirt-repelling properties also.
- There is also a new breed of fly control product out there – fatty acid-based sprays. These funny-smelling sprays camouflage your horse and confuse the flies, so they can’t “find” your horse. Spiffy. Be sure to read the instructions!
This fatty acid spray is designed for legs and bellies and lasts quite a bit. It will not work against flies that hunt by sight, like flies related to the giant horse flies and greenhead flies.
In the barn, you can also use your fans as fly control – some more double-duty! Flies have a hard time landing on your horse in the wind, and in the barn, just fake it.
How do you tackle flies?
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Sox for Horses – for any skin funk, fly problems, summer sores, stomping, and protection from UV light.
Amigo Mio Fly sheet – I love this one, the extra long tail prevents bugs up the butt, and the neckpiece is great. It’s also super light, which means it tears easily.
# A typical fly bonnet, affordable and cute with the piping. This fly bonnet is sound dampening. Turn your horse into a mermaid with this fun fly bonnet.