BY Sarah Banks
The weather is warming up, which means that more and more flies are coming out every day. As summer comes, flies are reproducing and creating more flies that will be a nuisance to both you and your horse. Thankfully there are several actions that you can take to deter flies from your horse and your barn.
1. Fly Spray & Spray Systems
Fly spray is a must, especially during the summer. There are many options out there, including natural sprays without any harmful chemicals. If you have a barn, installing an overhead fly spray system can be a great way to keep flies out of the barn and off of your horses. These systems are designed to periodically spray during the day, spraying your horse at the same time.
2. Fly Cover-Ups
If the flies are really bad, or your horse is very sensitive to flies, you may want to invest in some cover-ups for your horse.
Fly masks are the most commonly used cover-up against flies, as flies mostly irritate horses’ eyes. They go for the eye mucus, and oftentimes will go for the ears too, so you probably want to get a fly mask that also covers their ears.
Fly sheets are useful for protecting your horse’s body. These sheets are lightweight mesh so the horse won’t get too hot while wearing it in the heat. There are also mesh leg wraps to protect your horse’s lower legs, which flies and gnats will sometimes irritate until the legs are bleeding.
Putting fans in your barn will help deter flies from being in there, as wind makes it hard for them to fly. Put fans in every stall, which your horse will love you for while also keeping flies away.
4. Moisture Contol
Make sure that you don’t have any standing water around the property as flies breed in wet areas. Ensure that nothing is leaking and leaving a puddle.
Muck stalls daily, or multiple times a day if your horse is inside most of the time, to keep your horse’s stall dry. Flies will even breed in spots that horse’s urinate in, so use materials that are highly-absorbent in stalls and clean them often.
5. Fly Traps
Putting fly traps around your barn will be a huge help to keeping flies down to a minimum. There are many types of fly traps that you can buy, and even ones that you can make yourself.
The most common fly trap is one that has a sticky surface which captures the fly so they can’t fly away, leaving them to die. Some traps will draw the fly inside, where they then cannot get out, and some have water inside to drown the flies.
Be sure to hang any fly traps out of the way of kids, horses, and other animals.
6. Manure Management
One of the most important ways to manage flies is to properly dispose of manure. Flies breed in manure, so it is very important to clean the stalls often and don’t let manure just sit around the stable all day in the heat. Also be sure to regularly clean out the turnout areas and the arenas that you ride in. The more often that you can clean up the manure, the less flies that you will have.
7. Biological Control Options
You can sign up to get tiny parasitic wasps to destroy fly eggs around your barn. They don’t hurt people and are barely visible to the eye, but they are a huge help with destroying the fly larvae.
8. Good Stable Management
Practice good stable management to keep the number of flies down. Make sure that trash cans are covered and emptied regularly, as trash draws flies. Don’t leave food out, and make sure all the horse feed containers are covered. If any food spills, clean it all up right away. Get rid of any old hay that is sitting around, as flies love to breed in it.
9. Horse Supplements
Supplements can be given to your horse to help prevent flies from biting them and to prevent them from breeding in their manure. There are supplements that contain insect growth regulators, which make sure that fly eggs won’t hatch when they are in the manure.
There are also natural supplements that you can use, including apple cider vinegar, garlic, and more.