What’s worse than being bit by a mosquito or horse fly? Now imagine how your horse feels. Biting flies and other pests can cause damage and irritation to horses. These annoying, and sometimes harmful, include biting flies, nuisance flies, lice, and bots. Horses confined in stables and barns are plagued by house and stable flies, while those on the pasture have to endure horse flies, deer flies, face flies, and horn flies. Symptoms fly bites range from minor itching and irritation to blood loss, extreme annoyance, fatigue, and even malnutrition.
Flies can be a nuisance to horses and other barnyard animals in the following ways:
· Sponging up liquid on the horse’s face or body. These flies are common found near the eyes and ears of horses.
· Piercing the skin to feed on blood. These bites are very painful and annoying to a horse.
· Laying eggs in the horse's throat, legs or nose that can be very harmful once they hatch and become larvae.
Fortunately, many management systems can be carried out to help cope with flies and other horse pests. Control of stable flies in barnyards, stables or corral areas usually involves several methods:
Sanitation - While the least glamorous, manure management is the key to any successful fly control program. The basic aim of managing the cleanup of manure is to help reduce or eliminate potential sites where fly larva can develop. Barns, pastures, stables and corrals have to be cleaned at least once a week to break up the life cycles of the offending flies. Once the manure and other fly breeding materials are removed, it is recommended that it be spread thinly over a designated area near the stable or if possible, composted. Good drainage is also very important to the elimination wet manure, spilled feed, and hay or straw, all of which, flies love. Check for and correct any wet, damp and moist areas around animal waterers, for example. Dry manure is a poor breeding site for flies.
Feeding your horse a feed-thru pest control such as SimpliFly is one method for preventing the development of flies in the manure of horses.
||Fly Repellents - Insecticides can play an important role in pest control programs, in that the proper chemicals can greatly decrease the amount of flies and larvae. Some options that implement insecticides include space sprays, baits, larvicides, residual premise sprays, and whole animal sprays. Fly baits can also be very useful for managing low to moderate fly populations.
||Fly Traps – Fly traps make use of insecticides to trap and kill flies. They can be effective when placed in the correct location. Farms with small or moderate fly problem should set their fly traps a good distance away from their home or stable; you do not want to attract flies from all over the area and make the problem worse. Instead, set the traps close to pest breeding sites.
||Fly Masks - Some horse owners prefer using horse fly masks or horse fly sheets over a chemical repellant. Many times, a horse fly mask provides more far-reaching coverage on the horse's face. Also the eyes, nose and thinner skin membranes behind the ears are areas of a horse's face that flies target. Obviously, you cannot apply a chemical repellent to these sensitive areas.
Managing fly and pest control requires several if not all the above mentioned methods. Your stable will be a lot cleaner and better managed and your horse’s well-being will be better off for it. After all, adopting a pest control management system is preferable than dealing with bites, infections and other symptoms associated with pests.