HHH: Already diseased skin is more vulnerable to fly or mosquito parasites.
The herbs rosemary, yarrow and calendula are great to repel insects from wounds; try adding them to an aloe vera gel base to assist healing and deter insects. For a "base" check out: Horse Magic Organic gel 1-800-232-2563 or their liquid distillate for a spray application to add herbs to.
Moisture promotes fly breeding; stop leaks promptly
Dry manure means less fly breeding, ventilate or spread manure to expose it to sunlight for more rapid drying.
Scattered feed attracts flies for breeding. Keep storage in sealed containers and areas clean.
Try cedar flakes and/or diatomaceous earth around storage areas to repel insects.
Studies suggest that flies like to bite horses with sugar in their veins.
Sulfur is said to discourage biting flies.
Human grooming agents (perfumes, hair spray) attract insects
The numbers of equine parasite larvae on the grass can be greatly reduced by co-grazing a horse pasture with sheep and/or cattle.
HHH: Patch test natural bug repellent sprays on your horse to avoid sensitivity or irritation. Assess effectiveness of herbs to determine the best choice for your animal.
Make a fly spray using ¼ cup (fresh ground, chopped, or crushed herb) or a tbsp dried herb to every cup of water, strain, then put in a sprayer. Store out of the sun in a cool spot (shelf life 3 days max).
Plant rosemary, basil, single leaf tansy and rue in the sun where the wind can carry the natural bug repelling scents to the barn. Add Southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum) to a stall where horses can rub against it (deters flies and moths).
An old barn remedy to take the sting out of bites is meat tenderizer.
or use vinegar to repel the flies before they bite.
Make your own fly spray with 1 cup water, 1 tbsp (optional) eucalyptus oil, 2 cups white vinegar and 1 cup Avon Skin So Soft bath oil (original) or substitute the SSS with coumarin; the plant ingredient that makes it repel flies.
HHH: Herbs have been used effectively, for ages, to deter against bugs with no known insect immunity! Options:
Bay, basil, citronella, eucalyptus, frankincense, garlic, lavender, mugwort, rosemary, rue, sage, thyme wormwood and other herbs as natural repellents.
Hypericum and calendula tinctures help repel insects, as well as encourage healing, and are antiseptic.
Tea tree oil is a natural fly repellent. Do not use pure oil; dilute it to avoid blistering the horse. Try a small area first, and then wait 30 minutes before further application.
Pennyroyal is a natural insecticide esp. for ticks (there are cases of toxicity with small pets).
The essential Oil Cypress (cupressus sempervirens) is used as an insect repellent
Lemon Balm (a mint), as well as Basil contains natural oils which repel insects.
Garlic is a great natural source for sulfur which may reduce the incidence of both internal and external parasites! Try 5-10 cloves per day if desired.
Lavender (lavendula angustifolia) is used as a wash in France to treat parasites; add a few drops to water.
Witch hazel is an herbal distillate used to treat insect bites.
HHH: Beneficial parasites may include dung flies, fly parasites, and dung beetles.
1. Dung Flies are non toxic and not harmful (adults eat house flies and other adult insects), they naturally seek manure, lay their eggs, and later the larvae feed on the manure while tunneling downward. They look like bees, are fuzzy, golden, often red-eyed insects on manure piles.
2. Fly Parasites are a non stinging/non biting member of the wasp family (eat fly pupae) whose job includes keeping the fly population in check (sorry- they can't get rid of existing adult flies).
Don't place them in direct sunlight until you observe hatching. Scatter them around feeding/watering areas and fly problem areas, careful not to place them in actual walking paths.
Do not use pesticides for your fly control, as they will kill the fly parasites.
3. Dung Beetles are non toxic and have no known disadvantages (although are expensive).
Start a biological fly control program in the early spring or summer.
Dung beetles won't work on poor soil.
4. Beneficial Nematodes (ex. Hederohabditis spp. and Steinernema carpocapsae) control insects such as fleas and ticks by gnawing through the outer coverings of pests and feeding/reproducing until the pest is dead. They are available in dry and wet formulations. Best with early application followed monthly until balance is reached.
Sources for Beneficial Insects:
Biofac (TX) 800-233-4914 www.biofac.com
Hydro-Gardens (CO) 800-634-6362 www.hydro-gardens.com
IFM (WA) 800-332-3179 $17 + 3.85 SH
Beneficial Insectary (CA) 800-477-3715 www.insectary.com
HHH: Fecal test every three months.
Worms may go undetected because they are rarely seen in the manure. If you have the lab count the number and types of parasite eggs, the degree of infestation can be determined. A false negative (a zero egg count) can result if the parasites are not actively releasing eggs or are in the small intestine, liver, heart or lungs (migrating through the body). The worms may be too sick to lay eggs, butnot die. Smaller species eggs might even be broken down by digestion. Some may simply continue to migrate through tissues until they finally die. The encysted stages of a small red worm will not show up on a fecal test. Regular re-testing will more accurately determine worm presence, as will clinical signs.
HHH: Better safe than sorry???
Not every horse in the barn needs worming at the same time. Each horse needs to be tested. Variance in worm testing within a herd is the perfect example of how routine chemical worming can be an unnecessary toxic burden on horses.
HHH: We are feeding a small amount of poison to our horses every time we use synthetic wormers, states Mickey Young, equine naturopathic practitioner. Mr. Young is quick to point out a wormer is not needed by all horses nor on a regular basis. At least 98% of the horses he sees have kidney and liver problems he relates directly to the use of synthetics, chemicals and improper food. Years ago Mickey?s father used fresh field tobacco for worming. When tobacco companies added preservatives during the drying process, his dad looked for a natural alternative. Mickey?s mother, a qualified naturopath, developed a line of herbal remedies that later became Silver Lining Herbal products.
HHH: Non-toxic, natural dewormers and herbs are biodegradable and often assist in repelling external parasites.
Herbs that are successfully used for their worming properties:
Black walnut (avoid walnut shavings for bedding)
The essential oil lavender, a parasiticidal, is known to help combat parasites.
As an advocate of natural worming, I feed raw garlic daily (when available), rotate a small herd on large acreage, and hand select professional formulas developed by qualified practitioners for accurate and appropriate deworming protocols.
Address deworming on an individual horse basis. Consider the age and health of the horse, feed quality, activity level, travel and susceptibility to worms, environment (stalled or pastured), size of pasture, grazing time, commingling with other animals, manure management and so forth. Don?t be locked into only chemicals or just natural alternatives. Take the time to know what possible side effects may come from administering drugs or any natural alternatives you select. Approve the safety and history of a formula before administering it and never compromise your standards by accepting unpredictable detrimental side effects. Your animal?s quality of life depends on it.