Your 3 Step Guide to Conquering Fly Season...Naturally
Flies are the bain of every equestrian’s existence. Not only are they annoying enough to make you question why you even came to the barn in the first place, but they can actually be dangerous to your horse. Some horses are allergic to fly bites, and flies can make the smallest scrape a living nightmare by laying eggs in your horse’s flesh.
Every year we battle flies, and every year they return with a vengeance. The fly sprays that I used a few years ago don’t even seem to phase the little buggers now.
So what should we do?
Here is a three step guide to creating a fly free barn this summer.
1. Repel Them
This is the step we are all most familiar with. Fly spray is your number one defense...but what kind should you use? There are so many out there, but when opting for a natural fly spray, not all seem to work well. Lavender fly sprays work great (and your pony smells nice). I also like Eco-Vet as a natural fly spray, but be careful because a little bit goes a long way. Also if your horses are the only ones around, using a neem based fly spray like Equiderma can actually reduce the fly population.
Definitely check with your local feed store on this. They will already know what fly sprays have been working this year, and which ones haven’t.
Another important step in repelling flies is removing their reason to show up in the first place...poop. Mucking out often and keeping the manure pile far from the barn can help reduce flies substantially.
2. Kill Them
Okay this may sound a little harsh, but one of the best ways to keep flies away is to actually reduce their population size. As I mentioned before, this can be done using neem products. Additionally, some people choose to use a feed through supplement that disrupts the reproductive cycle of flies that eat the horse’s poop. This only works if the majority of horses on the property are all eating this though. It would be a waste of money to give this to your one horse out of fifty at a boarding facility.
Another, more natural option is Fly Predators, which are tiny wasps that won’t bother you, but will kill flies. They get shipped to your home, and you distribute them over your manure pile. Then you just get out of their way and let them do their job.
2. Trap Them
Finally, any flies that are strong enough to survive the Fly Predators, feed throughs, and neem, or any flies that are brave enough to trespass in a fly spray zone, can be trapped. You can’t possibly keep all of the poop out of your horse’s stall, all of the time. We all know how many times a day a horse can poop. Also, many natural fly sprays simply don’t last for multiple days at a time. So for those in between moments, hanging a fly trap in each stall will help keep your bases covered.
Hopefully this three step guide is both timely and helpful. Best of luck in your battle.