The Practical Farm

Fly Control: Keep Flies Off Your Horses

Summertime heat brings out all sorts of pesky insects including f

By: The Practical Farm |

Fly Masks and Ear Bonnets can help to keep pesky flies off your horses face and away from their ears.

Fly masks and ear bonnets can help to keep pesky flies off your horses face and away from their ears.

Summertime heat brings out all sorts of pesky insects including flies. Flies are common pests for horses. It is no surprise that houseflies and stable flies like to hover around horse barns, stables, corrals and pastures. Not only are these flies annoying but they can also pose some health risks to horses as potential disease carriers. Houseflies are known to on occasion carry pathogens, while stable flies can leave nasty bites making it uncomfortable for horses and caretakers alike.

Fly life cycle

The types of pathogens that houseflies can carry include intestinal disorders and eye infections. Houseflies thrive in moist areas like manure piles, old hay, feed silage and/or rotting feedstuffs. Female flies lay eggs as they feed on the moist matter. Once the eggs have been deposited they hatch in about seven to 14 days. When the eggs turn into larvae, they then move to drier areas to grow into adults. Similar to the common housefly, the stable fly thrives in moist areas, including rotting hay or feed. The female flies lay about 40 to 80 eggs at a time and it then takes about 21to 25 days for them to develop into adults.

Fly control options

Every horse barn should have a plan to control flies. Little things like cleaning the stables at least once a week will help break the fly’s lifecycle. Removing feedstuffs that are longer edible to an offsite locate is also important.

Fans are a great way to keep the air moving in your barn.

Fans are a great way to keep the air moving in your barn.

In addition to general upkeep and oversight, purchasing some items that can also keep flies in check maybe necessary. Fly masks and ear bonnets are nice pieces to invest in and to have on hand to put on your horses for additional protection and comfort. Flies like to go after the moisture around horses’ eyes. Purchasing a fly mask can help prevent flies from being an annoyance around your horse’s face and ultimately reduce the stress associated with persistent attack by flies.

Never underestimate the power of air. Purchasing fans, preferably big ones for your barn will help keep flies at bay. Fans are a worthwhile investment and can last for a very long time. In general, fans offer additional comfort that contributes to good equine health.

Sticky Rolls are a safe and effective system that can be easy to install for use in horse stables to capture flies.

Sticky Rolls are a safe and effective system that can be easy to install for use in horse stables to capture flies.

Other items that may need to be replaced on a more regular basis include sticky kits and fly tape to put up in your barn and stable areas to catch the flies. In addition to fly capture products, you can also go with a spray that can be misted in your barn and stable areas. Fly repellants can be sprayed manually – by hand or by an insect control system installed in the barn that automatically sprays the product throughout your facility.

Combating flies should be a multifaceted approach. General barn upkeep coupled with investments in fly masks, fans, and an array of other equine products will help you control flies around your horses. Mitigating the potential risk that flies could pose to your horse’s health is essential.