To achieve the greatest reduction of flies, employ measures that work hand-in-hand.
Effective fly control doesn't have to be difficult. In fact, control of horse, horn, stable, house, face, deer, and bot flies is simpler than you may realize! Though natural fly repellents and methods may be costlier and require more of your time, they are environmentally-friendly and nontoxic , and the added effort brings peace of mind.
You can win the war on flies , if you work diligently to eradicate them through good stable and pasture management and incorporate an integrated system of fly control.
The need for chemical sprays can be greatly reduced or eliminated by adopting a program of Ecological Fly Control .
* Fly Raptors : Such a program includes regular releases of fly parasites aimed at preventing flies at their sources, or breeding sites. It also includes the use of fly traps which will help eliminate the adult fly population.
* Baits: EPA-approved, safe, and effective organic fly baits and traps will not threaten the health of livestock or pets. 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.
* Traps: Fly Traps use just soap and water, and trick flies into approaching, where they hit deflectors and ricochet into the soapy water tray below. These traps are effective against biting flies, including horse, deer, bull and stable flies.
No fly control program will be successful if manure is allowed to pile up around the premises. While insecticides and repellents are a part of many fly control programs, much less has to be done with insecticides if manure and moisture are managed properly.
* Manure Management : Remove manure and wasted feed daily from stalls and pens and either spread it thinly to dry or compost it. The most effective method of manure management is to spread it thinly on fields where it will dry quickly. Pest larva are highly susceptible to this drying process. If spreading isn’t practical the manure should be piled.
* Moisture Control : Eliminate wet spots in stalls and pens by clearing the bedding away, liming the stall floor, and letting the ground dry out. Elimination of as many wet areas as possible and the use of hydrated lime on the areas where your animals urinate frequently are also very helpful. Rake around feeders and waterers every day removing the moist feed that has been dropped. Pick up grass clippings, keep grass and weeds mowed, and pick up trash regularly. Be sure there is proper drainage in all stalls, pens, paddocks, and pastures. Repair leaking faucets, hydrants, and hoses. Proper air circulation (via natural wind flow or fans) is essential.
* Daily Maintenance: Keeping feed, water buckets and stalls clean and free from stagnant water, manure and feed will help control flies in and around the barn .
In addition to stocking up on repellents, fly masks and other insect control products, focusing on maximizing your horse’s “built-in” protections can assist your horse in winning the ongoing war against flies.
* Hairy Help: Augmenting your horse’s natural pest control features will make your efforts that much more effective. The mane and tail are designed to protect sensitive skin from insects. A long forelock and tangle-free tail will help efficiently whisk pests away. You’ll also want to let the protective hair on your horse’s fetlocks, muzzle, eyes and ears grow longer. And as much as it may hurt to see your grooming efforts erased, a good covering of dust or mud is an effective barrier against insects.
* Essential Oils : Homemade fly sprays can be an effective alternative to manufactured fly repellents for your horse. Horse owners can select from a wide variety of essential oils, a number of them containing insect-repelling qualities such as Citronella, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Neem, Peppermint, and Lemongrass. Straight essential oils are too concentrated to be used directly on an animal and may cause toxic side effects. They should be mixed with water or a lotion, or blended with oils so that they are diluted in strength. Fly sprays made with essential oils will repel flies, not kill them on contact and will need to be applied often.
When mixing a lotion or wipe-on insect repellent, use a natural aloe vera base 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.
* Diatomaceous Earth : DE is an excellent and totally natural control. 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).
* Head and Leg Protection: Fly masks and mesh leg wraps protect horses without overheating sensitive soft tissue.