SOLVE THE FLY CONTROL PROBLEM SAFELY
As a horse and barn owner I’ve come up with a pretty good system of fly control by working with nature. There is no “one” thing, no magic bullet to controlling flies, but with time, patience and consistency you can reduce some of your fly populations up to 85% while protecting your horses 99%.
Here’s how I do it:
- Manure management
- Beneficial insects
- Nature’s Balance Care products
First you’ve got to manage the manure. That means removing manure from stalls and paddocks every day. I remove manure from stalls 4 times a day which is every time I feed the horses and from the paddocks once a day. The manure I remove is composted which has multiple benefits. However for some of the large and commercial barns removal is an absolute necessity, but I encourage composting of at least the residual if your area allows it. Learn how to compost your manure either through your local extension office, community college or research online. Some local governments offer grants to build a Compost Shed so look into what may be available for your property. To compost at my barn it only takes tarps and a tractor that’s it!
Secondly I use beneficial insects to control the fly population. Fly Parasites also know as Fly Predators or Fly Wasps are a beneficial insect that I purchase every fly season from a local Beneficial Insect provider. I prefer to support my local businesses so I encourage you to seek out a local beneficial insect provider, you’d be surprised how many providers are in your community or state. It is important to read the instructions before tossing the Fly Predators around. You gotta let them hatch first which can take up to a week sometimes so be patient, don’t spread them too soon. I spread the Fly Predators at dusk around the perimeter of my compost piles (having compost piles helps the population of Fly Predators to grow), around the water troughs, along the fence lines and around fresh manure piles in the pasture. It’s is very important to cover the predators up with a little dirt or manure so they don’t get eaten by birds, carried off by ants, get blown away or die in the sun. The first year you probably won’t notice a difference, but by the second year I noticed a 50%+ drop in my fly population and by the third year 85% of the flies were gone! You must have patience and be consistent. Your local beneficial insect provider can help you determine how many units you need for your property size and number of horses. A really cool bi-product using the fly predators is they procreate and spread to your neighbors reducing flies all around your property. I have cows on one side of me and a large horse breeder on the other so they are getting the benefit too.
Lastly you can protect your horses directly and safer by using Nature’s Balance Care® products. Nature’s Balance Care® products are bio-based, free from DEET, Pyrethrum, Resmethrin, Picaridin or neuro-toxic chemicals. I use the Face & Body Formula by NBC every couple of days on my horses, but the first two years of fly predators I used it every day the flies were out. The Face & Body keeps all types of flying pests off my horses from the regular barn flies to bots and mosquitoes to ticks. Every horse wears a fly mask at my barn during fly season, and then I rub a little dab of F & B on their muzzle around the edges of their mask, around their ears, under their chin, down their chest, between their legs down to the belly button area and around their sheath/udder. I continue applying to the inside of their back legs, around their pasterns, and then a dab rubbed into their mane, a little down their midline and on the dock of their tail. I’ll put a little on their shoulders and haunches too. It dries with no sticky or greasy residue so you fluff the hair back up and you can’t tell there’s anything there except for the lovely smell of flowers and citrus. I no longer have sweet itch outbreaks, hives, welts, stomping or swishing. It’s great for shows too.
There is no ONE thing to control flies, but working with nature gives you a “w”holistic approach that really works.
PS – mow your pasture if you can as that reduces the living space for no-see-ums, ticks & other biters.