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Fighting Flies For Your Horse

Learn how to keep pesky bugs away from your horse.

Is it starting to warm up in your area? If it is, it won’t be long before flies are buzzing around your horses and your barn. Flies thrive in warm, muggy weather and it’s almost impossible to keep your barn completely fly-free. But there are to cut down the fly population in and around your barn; it just takes a little work. Here are some tips to help you fight the flies!

Keep the manure pile far from the barn. Yes, it may take a little longer to push the wheelbarrow to the pile, but the extra effort is worth it. A manure pile attracts flies, and if the pile is close to the barn, flies will find their way to you.

Pick up manure piles on a regular basis in your horse’s field and place them on a manure pile. Piles of manure are great places for flies to feed and to lay their eggs. Break up those piles and the flies have nowhere to lay their eggs. If you have a harrow or drag, drag the fields at least once a month to break up the piles. It’s best to drag your fields on a sunny, hot day, because sunshine and heat will kill the fly eggs and larvae.

Pick up manure piles around the barn. If your horse poops in the aisle, scoop up the pile and dispose of it right away.

Clean stalls every single day. Wet, dirty stalls are great breeding grounds for flies. They love dark, damp places!

If you keep your horse indoors during the day in the summer, place a fan in his stall to keep the air circulating. Flies will avoid air currents that blow them around. Keep the barn doors partially open to let air circulate around the barn.

Look into a misting system that sprays the barn or corrals with fly repellent.  These are timed-release sprays that spray insecticide into the air at regular intervals. Misting systems can be battery-operated dispensers that attach to the stall wall, or they can be more elaborate pip systems that are installed overhead and puff out a fine mist throughout your barn.

Hang up flytraps around your barn. There are sticky bait strips that trap flies or plastic containers filled with a smelly liquid that attracts flies. Once the fly is in the container, it’s trapped and dies.

Wash feed tubs at least once a week. Dried up food can attract flies. Rinse out and refill water buckets, too.

You could give your horse a feed-through fly control product. Place the special pellets in your horse’s feed every day. The pellets contain larvacide that doesn’t activate until it travels through the horse’s digestive system and passes out in his manure. Then the active ingredient in the larvacide kicks in and kills fly larvae in the horse’s manure. This method will only work if you feed your horse by himself though. If he’s fed with other horses in the pasture, he might not get the correct dose of the product every day—other horses might nibble it up!

Hose off sweaty saddle pads and clean dirty tack after you ride instead of leaving them out in the barn. Flies love dirt and sweat.

Always hose off your horse after you ride him in warm weather. Flies are attracted to dried-up sweat. Wipe off saddle and bridle marks on his coat.

Spray your horse with fly repellent at least once a day when it’s fly season.

Look for insecticides that are called “surface” or “premise” sprays. These are insecticides that you spray on areas where flies like to congregate, for example barn doors and windows. Some surface sprays come ready to use in a spray bottle and others come in a concentrated form and have to be mixed with water.

If your horse’s stall has a window, install a screen in it and spray the screen with fly repellent.

Remove puddles and wet areas that might attract flies. If you’ve got a leaky faucet or hose, get it fixed.

 

 

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