Fly Control Tips to Reduce Flies at the Barn
Every spring we revel in the lovely season, for at least a few days, until the flies and other flying nasties start celebrating with us. Ugh! Warming weather brings bugs of every kind, from winged to creepy-crawly, to invade our barn and torture us and our horses. Here at Hobby Horse, we know the importance of keeping your life (and your horse's) as bug free as possible. Aside from being a nuisance, insects can harbor infection and disease, so investing in a bug strategy is a wise investment. Here are four simple ways to improve fly control and cut down on those pesky insects.
Step One: Barn
- When you are cleaning your stalls, make sure that the manure pile is a good distance away from the barn. This is a huge help as bugs mainly hang out there and will be less likely to travel to the barn.
- Make sure that there isn't any standing water that can attract insects. They not only drink it and transfer bacteria, but it can also be a breeding location, especially for mosquitos. Dump your water buckets daily, and scrub twice a week in warm weather.
- Add heavy duty fans to your barn to help keep the fly population down to a minimum. Airflow created by the fans will help keep flies from entering the barn. (While you're at it, make sure they're ag sealed-motor fans with wiring in conduit to avoid a common cause of barn fires.)
- As always, make sure that all garbage is thrown out in a covered container and that there isn't any food left on the ground or laying around.
Step Two: Fly Traps and Fly Parasites
- Fly traps are great to keep around the barn so that they trap adult flies, preventing them from laying eggs. Be sure to buy the types of traps for the flies you have, as various breeds are attracted to differing sight and smell stimuli.
- Fly Parasites are a low flying wasp that kills flies by targeting fly pupae before they hatch. Hobby Horse team members who use this method swear by them, and they're very eco-friendly. Although they are naturally occurring, they do not replicate in the types of numbers you need without buying a service that delivers them monthly for release on your farm. Harmless to humans and animals, they can be placed by manure piles or other fly-concentrated areas to seek and destroy fly eggs and interrupt the fly breeding lifecycle.
Step Three: Fly Spray/Topical/Feed-Through
- Using Fly spray such as Pyranha aerosol or Zephyr's Garden natural can help reduce the amount of flies that land on (and disturb) your horse.
- Topical remedies can be used for sensitive areas such as the face and ears.
- Feed-through insect control works by making the manure an unfriendly nursery for fly egg, therefore this suggestion only works if all horses at the facility and nearby are on the feed-through insect control. It also doesn't work with fly parasites - these two options are “one or the other but not both". However, it does work well if all horses are on it.
Step Four: Barriers
- Using items such as a fly sheet, fly mask , neck cover and fly boots often help relieve some of the annoyance caused by the winged insects.
- Using a fly mask with mesh ears always helps keep pesky gnats out of your horse's ears. If you keep your horse's ears clipped, ear covers are a necessity.
- Using a fly sheet that is lightweight and fitted correctly also helps keep flies off of your horse's body.
- Fly boots help to keep flies off of your horse's legs and can prevent them from stomping their feet. Incessant foot stomping leads to cracked and damaged hooves, lost shoes, and more.
Following the tips above can help give your horse a comfortable and enjoyable spring and summer season.