Okay, in case you haven’t heard, there’s a heatwave going on in Los Angeles and in parts of the United States and it’s not fun. It’s especially unnerving when your constantly battling fly control in your barns. Now, some of us are lucky enough to have some sort of fly spray system in our fancy barns….I’m not one of those people. We have a small 4 horse stand alone barn in a horse community built roughly in the early 40s. It’s not fancy. It has nice in and out with huge paddocks. Paddocks that are now swarming with pesky flies. My ‘crazy’ kicked in. What do I do? First, I set out to the equestrian center if anything to find happiness in knowing we weren’t the only ones being invaded by the Lord of the flies. Just as I thought, It was an all out invasion and we would have to go at it full force to preserve sanity of both human and horse.
Here’s some tips and favorite products to help you through this July attack and hopefully we’ll make it through August without losing it.
It’s hot, you’re dying, I get it but in this case spending some extra time on your stalls will make a difference.
Flies live and reproduce in your horses’ manure, so you need to attack them where they start. Keeping stalls and runs clean is the first step. Spreading the manure is the best solution, breaking up and drying out the flies’ home will decrease their presence. If you do pile, consider location as well as composting. If use bins…place the bins a bit further away if possible.
If you have someone cleaning, he too will appreciate the effort you make in helping. Horses will spend more time in their stalls when it’s hot..so only makes sense that you should spend more time cleaning it. Flies love poop. Take it outside and maintain it.
Make sure the area around your feeders or buckets are kept dry or dug up to dry on their own. Flies love wet mucky places to breed.
I know we tend to want to place the trap where the flies are accumulating. Don’t do it. Before you know it your stall or barn will smell like something died. You want to hang that icky smelling thing that flies love so much AWAY from your barn. I choose to hang in the far corners of the paddock. That’s usually where my boys like to do their business as well so the flies seem to just hang out there instead of inside. If you do have a guy who likes to chill in his box stall then I often get one of those sticks and hang it out of reach of my giraffe neck gelding..try hanging it horizontal instead of vertical. Two hay wires or twine on each side of the stick hung very high works wonders and they don’t smell. CAUTION: when I mean high I mean HIGH otherwise you may have a sticky situation going on in your mane when you arrive the next morning.
Bugs killing bugs is another option. Fly parasites kill flies in their developing stages while they are in the ground. Fly parasites must be replenished on a regular basis to ensure that you have the best fly control. They can never become a nuisance because they have a very short life span.
I use repellents. A good fly spray can save torturous hours of stomping and face mutilation for your horse. There are several useful repellents on the market both natural and chemical based. Many products contain a combination of pyrethrin and permethrin: a fly spray and repellant combination. There are Spray ons, wipe ons, sweat-proof, sun screen, coat conditioning, wound safe and all-natural choices to decide what’s best for you, consider how often your horse is out of the barn. I like the option of making my own, but again I have two geldings with two different tolerant levels for natural oils and or chemicals. One I swear lavender makes him welt, the other you could spray straight chemical on and he’d never show any signs of infliction. (naturally, not my choice and I wouldn’t, just saying he has very thick skin) You can see some of our favs below in the products section.
I’ve been reading about feeding fly control. You add a feed-through option and start your regimen in the spring so by the time summer hits the flies won’t be interested in your horses business anymore. The theory is your horse’s manure regulates and stops the larvae from producing. I’m still not sold, seems like just another thing I have to convince my horse to ingest. I think I’ll stick to more old fashion ways of combating.
Fly masks, sheets and wraps are used widely. These breathable devices will help in the irritation caused by pesky biting flies and help detour the stomping and pawing which can cause damage to the legs. Cashy actually hates his fly mask. I’ll find it sometimes on the ground stomped to shreds, other times hanging on something. For him a nice natural spray with sun screen is my go to. So it’s always a choice dependent upon what your horse can handle, loves or will put up with.
The Disposable Fly Bag Trap is easy to use – just add water to the included fly attractant. A specially formulated lure is designed to attract a broad range of fly species and is long-lasting. Catch hundreds of flies!
- Non-Toxic Fly Bait Included
- Features a safety lock cap
- Leak proof design
- Just add water and hang
- Safe – No pesticides
- 24 inches long
- Comes in bright orange to attract flies
- Slim stick design
- No insecticides and is odor free
Equiderma Neem & Aloe Fly Spray is an all-natural insect repellent and features an eco-safe formula that’s great for the environment, you, and your entire family. Backed by the power of neem, aloe and 8 fly-fighting natural oils, you can use it with confidence to protect your horses, ponies, foals, blood-sucking insects.
Contains: 100% active ingredients of 10 essential oils known for their powerful repellent and skin enhancing qualities
Neem Leaf Tea, Aloe Vera Gel, Neem Oil, Red Cedar Oil, Eucalyptus, Lemongrass, Citronella, Lemon Peel, Tea Tree, Lavender
- Repels and controls all flies, mosquitoes and gnats
- Inhibits ticks
- Features a citrusy botanical scent
- Leaves coats shiny and healthy without being greasy
- Inhibits fungal and bacterial skin problems that plague your animals
Pyranha Wipe N’ Spray comes ready-to-use, provides insect protection, and imparts a high sheen to the hair when brushed out. A favorite of show horse owners, effective protection results can come from only 1 to 2 onces per horse. This repellent has been effective on biting flies, mosquitos, gnats, fleas, and should also be effective in helping to deter ticks. WIPE N’ SPRAY™ has been especially developed for use on horses. It provides a protective hair coating against flies while imparting a high sheen to the hair when brushed out. 1 to 2 ounces per head per day gives adequate protection. Apply by either soft cloth or fine spray mist. ACTIVE INGREDIENT
Love this recipe from Reformationacres.com. A note on duration… you will need to reapply this spray about once a day. You’re probably not going to find an organic solution that lasts any longer.
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar (buy it by the gallon here)
- 1 cup mineral oil (buy it by the gallon here)
- ½ teaspoon lemongrass essential oil (buy it here)
- ½ teaspoon bitter orange oil essential oil (buy it here)
- ½ teaspoon citronella essential oil (buy it here)
- ¼ teaspoon eucalyptus essential oil (buy it here)
- ¼ teaspoon clove essential oil (buy it here)
- 2 Tablespoons Bio Kleen Concentrate (for emulsifier), or dish soap (buy it here)
- Combine all of the ingredients for the concentrate together in a storage jar.
- In a spray bottle mix it at 1 part Fly Spray Concentrate to 5 parts water.
- Shake well before and during use.
- Re-apply daily.
This mask is great. The mesh is super soft and the fringe helps with the flies on the nose without being too hot or heavy. The only drawback is Cash likes to pull on Smoochy’s fringe.
This sheet does a great job of protecting your horse from flies and dirt. Ideal for warm weather, your horse will stay cool and clean in the barn without sweating. Probably wouldn’t turn out in it.