Spring is finally here and that means it’s time to review our fly control plans for the year, so we have 7 easy ways to get started! From horse flies, stables flies, mosquitoes, and more, it may seem impossible to create a completely fly-free barn for you and your horse – but there are simple steps that you can take to greatly reduce the number of insects that call your barn home. Here are 7 fly control strategies to get started:
1. Remove Manure to Reduce Flies
First and foremost, keep all stalls clean and dry by removing manure and wet bedding each day. This reduces fly-attracting odors and eliminates the warm, moist environment where flies like to lay eggs – helping to reduce the overall fly population. Many flies also feed on manure, so removing their dinner goes a long way in deterring them. Additionally, it is important to regularly remove manure piles from pastures for the same reasons.
Spreading or raking manure over fields and large paddocks helps dry it out, making it a less ideal environment for egg laying flies. If you use a manure composting pile, make sure to pile it up rather than out, and cover it whenever possible – this can help make it too hot for flies to lay eggs. In some areas there are waste management services that will remove the manure pile entirely. Take that flies!
2. Fly Traps for the Barn Perimeter
To expand the fly-free zone outside of your barn, fly traps can be used to lure flies away from the barn. There are two types of traps – those that attract flies visually (best for biting stable flies) and those that attract flies by odor (best for house flies). It is important not to hang these traps near the barn, so that flies are lured away from the barn and your horses. Hang the traps at least four feet above the ground and follow the manufacturer’s directions for placement, and it may be helpful to experiment hanging them in different areas to find where you’ll get the best results.
To catch flies that have managed their way inside your barn, consider hanging strips of fly tape from higher locations like ceilings in the aisle or rafters above stalls. The sticky tape will trap adult flies when they land and can help reduce the number of flies available for breeding.
3. Fans for Inside the Barn
Ceiling and portable fans are also a great way to deter flies inside your barn. The circulating air makes it difficult for the flies to make their way around the barn. A fan angled to blow air over your horse will make it even harder for flies to land on your horse as well. It is very important to make sure that you use fans and power cords that are specifically designed for agricultural use to reduce the risk of fire, and that the fans are placed out of reach of the horse.
4. Good Housekeeping to Reduce Food Sources
Whether it’s dropped grain around the feed tub or uneaten supplements and medications, leftovers can attract flies as they look for an easy meal. Empty and scrub feed tubs regularly to remove remnants. The same should be done with water buckets, especially for horses that like to dunk hay or drop grain into water buckets.
Make sure all garbage cans inside and around your barn have tight fitting lids to prevent flies from accessing the trash as a food source. Regularly remove garbage from inside the barn, especially when it contains food, and scrub and disinfect garbage cans periodically to remove any stubborn residue.
5. Premise Sprays for Inside and Around the Barn
To further combat flies inside the barn, consider using a premise spray. Premise sprays can offer quick knockdown of adult flies and other insects that are already in the barn and help deter new ones from entering. There are many types of premise spray systems available from individual solutions to whole-barn systems – no matter the type, always make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and use.Some on-horse fly sprays double as a premise sprays, you can use them in specific areas of your barn to kill and repel flies where they gather. UltraShield® EX and UltraShield® Red do double-duty as premise sprays. When using a fly spray like this, concentrate around the outside of doors and windows to keep insects from coming inside – essentially you’re hanging out the “no flies welcome” mat for your barn.
6. Fly Sprays for On-Horse Fly Control
One of the quickest and easiest ways to provide fast-acting protection against adult flies for your horse is with a quality on-horse fly spray. Applying fly spray to your horse before you ride or work them can also help your horse focus more on you, instead of being distracted by swarming insects and painful biting flies. UltraShield® Fly Spray has been trusted by riders and their horses for decades because of the results they get from Absorbine’s most effective fly control line ever. If you use a high-quality fly spray, you won’t have to reapply it as often.
Use enough. Cover every part of the horse’s body evenly – about 45 pumps.
Start slow. Some horses may be afraid of the sprayer noise at first. Start low on the legs and work up.
Face cloth. For face, ears and sensitive areas, apply to a cloth and wipe on being careful to avoid areas directly around eyes, mouth and nostrils – do not spray face directly.
UltraShield® fly sprays include 4 different formulas:
UltraShield® EX, Absorbine’s longest-lasting spray repels 70 species
All UltraShield® fly control formulas are water-based and ready-to-use, so there are no worries about proper mixing. Gallon sizes can save you time and money as a refill for your 32oz sprays. Choose the option that best fits your specific situation and pest species, then follow the instructions on the fly spray label for proper application.
7. Fly Mask and Sheets
A great way to shield your horse’s face and ears from flies is by using a fly mask. UltraShield® masks are designed for comfort and protection, so horses stay cool, dry and comfortable in the summer heat – and they offer great UV protection for your horse. There are options for ear coverage, no ear coverage, and options that extend further down a horse’s nose.
Along with fly masks, fly sheets and leg wraps are good ways to provide a physical barrier from flies on your horse. Again, there are many different sizes, fits, and materials to choose from when it comes to fly sheets and leg wraps and so you’ll want to find the option that best fits your needs. Check masks, blankets and leg wraps regularly to make sure that they are fitting correctly (not causing any rubs or soreness) and are in good condition (not fraying or developing areas that might get caught on objects such as stalls and fences). Check the labels on these items and wash them on a regular basis to keep them clean to further prevent skin irritation.
Using these fly control strategies in your barn will help you greatly reduce the nuisance fly population and make fly season better for you and your horse. Enjoy your fly-free barn and horse time!