We all know how these horrid creatures pester our horses. Try these 10 Natural tips to keep these pests out of our horses’ homes so they can live and rest stress free.
1. ORGANIC FLY BAITS AND TRAPS: Fly baits attract the mature fly via odor. The fly either drowns in the trap or eats the bait. Look for EPA approved and Organic products.
2. FLY PREDATORS: A biological fly control system using tiny insects that prey on the flies in their larval state, aims to stop the cycle of fly infestation before it begins. Simply releasing the tiny insects into manure piles and other areas in which flies commonly lay their eggs can reduce the number of flies by as much as 80%. The tiny nocturnal insects do not bother humans or animals and do not bite or sting; when used as directed, they can dramatically reduce the fly population.
Fly Predators should be dispersed in the fields, over the composting manure and near standing water. Avoid spreading in the stalls.
3. LEG PROTECTION: Mesh leg wraps protect the horse’s legs without overheating sensitive soft tissue. Use wraps that are durable and will not loosen or slip down the horse’s legs, risking more serious injury as they stomp their feet or travel. Remove wraps at night when flies are dormant.
4. CLEAN FEED TUBS DAILY: That yummy feed that attracts your horse also attracts flies. If feed tubs are attached to a wall, scrub out as conscientiously as your dinner plate. Preferably use only plastic or rubber tubs that can be removed from a stall after each feeding and cleaned.
5. CLEAN WATER BUCKETS DAILY: Flies love to hang out “poolside” and will (ugh!) relieve themselves around the rim of your horse buckets. Scrub buckets daily to remove fly feces. If you have automatic waterers, remove old water and swish away fly residue.
6. SCREEN-IN SHADY STALLS AND RUN-IN SHEDS: Closing doors facing South and East reduces sun intensity but increases fly congregation. Use mesh/screened products that allow air circulation but keep flies out.
7. SEASON GRAIN WITH GARLIC: Garlic may be one of the most researched and talked about herbs in equine and human health fields. Among all the wonderful things garlic can do for us and our animals:
- natural fly repellent
- anti-fungal action
- anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties
- arthritis combatant
- blood thinning capabilities
A main component in garlic is allicin, which is very sensitive to heating, microwaving, steaming or pickling. When purchasing garlic for your animals, look for cold processed and non-irradiated processing. Hand-crushed fresh garlic is not recommended, as it can be harsh to the point of blistering your horse’s mouth. Look for a reputable equine manufacturing source as opposed to buying bulk at your discount stores.
8. DUST WITH DIATOMACEOUS EARTH: Watch flies fall when this natural, mineral-based pesticide burns through their wings while leaving horses unscathed (Note: Avoid getting the fine dust near horses’ faces). Diatomaceous earth is a naturally-occurring mineral compound made from the microscopic, fossilized remains of prehistoric algae-like plants called diatoms. The diatoms build up into deep, chalky deposits of diatomite, and these deposits are mined and ground up to render a powder that looks and feels like talcum powder. Be sure to get Food Grade DE when using around animals. DE is an excellent and totally natural control, with no indication of damage to internal tissue.
9. KEEP STALLS AND RUN-IN SHEDS CLEAN! Pick up manure at least twice daily, cover your manure spreader with fly netting, and keep manure far away from your daytime shelter. Spray the manure with organic fly control to kill the adult flies or spread predators on the pile to kill larvae.
10. USE ESSENTIAL OILS: Many essential oils are known to be unpleasant to insects. They should be mixed with water or a lotion, or blended with oils so that they are diluted in strength. Straight essential oils are too concentrated to be used directly on an animal and may cause toxic side effects. Do not mix more than two or three oils together because this can cancel out the properties of the oil.
When mixing a lotion or wipe-on insect repellent, use a natural aloe vera base lotion diluted with 40-50% water or Witch Hazel. The Witch Hazel helps to keep the skin from clogging. If making a spray, use one-third lotion, one-third witch hazel, and one-third water, with one-quarter to one-half ounce of essential oils, depending upon the oil. This can make 16-32 ounces of spray.
HH READERS SHARE THEIR TIPS:
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Lorrie Bracaloni - Apple cider vinegar 1/2 cup over feed with 5 cloves garlic added in the gallon. Natural diet ... as flies feed on garbage, where the diet is clean, no flies. Mix 10 drops each of tea tree oil, eucalyptus, and citronella; some add neem to olive oil and water.
Yvonne Johnson - I also try to keep manure cleaned up and sprinkle Sweet PDZ on potty areas
Megan Kelly - Neemella from omega alpha. It's neem and citronella oil. Smells wonderful, it's all natural and bugs hate the neem smell.
Karen Kay Kopulos - Diatomaceous Earth (food grade, of course) Fed and also sprinkled on manure pile.
Jalkr TempleKeeper - SmartPak's BugOff supplement, DE dusted around and fed, fly masks, leg wraps, and daily manure pick up. We also use non-toxic fly traps, especially for the big uns, the horseflies and their kin.
Deborah Cappola - Fly predators, have been using them year round in Florida for natural fly control. They really work great.
Wy Olson - My QH has a severe allergy to the noseeums, but he has EXTREMELY sensitive skin which makes it difficult to put products on him. Any suggestions?
Mary Lord - Fly predators, bait traps and looks-like-a-horse traps for those biting meanies. Good manure pickup helps too.