Do you know the feeling you get when a fly buzzes around and bites you? It can almost drive you mad, but can you imagine how your horse feels as flies tend to land on them by the dozens. From March through October here in North Carolina, flies are in peak season. These biting insects can cause emotional distress to your animal. The constant biting makes them scratch and can cause irritation on their skin.
Ways to Stop Your Horse From Getting Bugged
Sadly, owning horses or any other animal isn’t always a walk in the park. Flies range in all sizes, and some of these critters like the horsefly, have a bite that packs a more powerful punch. Flies aren’t always attracted to all animals, but the horse tends to get their fair share of attention. The good news is that you can help them to get relief from these annoying insects that tend to bite relentlessly. Here are a few methods to try.
1. Eliminate Their Breeding Grounds
Flies like to breed in the dirtiest places, and a fresh pile of manure is like a 4-star hotel. Manure piles are very beneficial, but it’s best to keep them covered to help your horses not be in the line of fire. Do you have compost bins sitting around the property?
These are also natural attractions for flies and should be kept covered to keep the population manageable. Dragging the pasture helps ensure that you can keep your horses comfortable. The less fecal matter you have in the fields, the less your fly population will be on the farm.
2. Switch The Grazing Areas
When summer arrives, it’s best to let all equines graze on higher planes with drier pastures. If there are any wet or muddy areas, you’re almost sure to have a fly issue in these locations. Flies love swampy zones almost as much as they love manure, so you want to ensure these areas dry out before you allow your equines to graze in these spaces.
3. Bait and Fly Traps are Beneficial
When it comes to fly control inside the barn, you can use bait or fly traps to help keep the population low. Sticky traps are rolled sheets or tubes that attract insects to them, and they can’t escape. These sheets can work wonders in a barn, and you’ll be surprised at the number of flies you’ll catch.
They don’t work well for larger flies like horse or deer varieties. Rather, it would help if you used larger traps with metal in these instances. Sadly, these aids won’t work in the pasture, but they will help in the sleeping areas so your animals can rest.
4. Keep The Lights Off in the Barn
Unless you’re working in the stables and need ample lighting, there’s no reason to keep the lights on. First, it will cost you more in electricity, and second, it will draw things like flies and midges.
Keep the lights off if it’s hot outside to reduce the attraction. Additionally, flies tend to be drawn to an amber glow at dusk, so you need to ensure its lights off during these periods too.
5. Invest in Fly Masks
One of the best things you can invest in for the safety of your horses is fly masks. These lightweight masks help protect vital areas like eyes, ears, and jowls, which are prone to attack. For the legs of an equine, fly boots are beneficial.
These devices are easy to get on the horse and provide them with comfort in the prime season. You can use mesh blankets, fly sheets, or even open weaves to ensure they have the necessary coverage.
6. Use Fly Parasites
The internet opens new and more exciting ways to control pests. Did you know you can order fly parasites and have them deliver them right to your door? When you need to reduce the fly population quickly, you must go to the source.
These parasites lay their eggs over the pupae of the flies, which kills them and helps to control the population. The best part about using them is that they won’t hurt you or any animals in your pastures.
7. Increase the Air Circulation in the barn
Good air circulation is imperative for your animals to stay cool inside the barn. However, a well-ventilated area will also reduce the number of flies and midges in the stables.
The problem is that these little insects quickly get around, but they’re not great flyers. So, the constant air moving about throws them off balance, and they’ll avoid this area.
Being Prepared for Fly Season
Some areas tend to have heavier fly populations than others. Many factors come into play that determine the size of your problem. The good news is that it’s not as hard to keep them away from your equines as it might seem.
At Oak Haven Acres, we employ several methods to keep the animals in our care comfortable. By controlling the fly’s breeding and dwelling areas, you can help keep the numbers manageable.