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Help me decide on what fly control method to try this year, please.

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  • Help me decide on what fly control method to try this year, please.

    I tried feed-through for a couple of years - doesn't work. My vet warned me it probably wouldn't, because I have so many other animals around the farm who aren't on it, wild and domestic. And he was right.

    Would predators do me any good, do you think?

    I've also used a spot-on treatment for the past couple of years, which works great for a week. Unfortunately it can only be applied once every two weeks. I've been using a pesticide-free fly spray for the second week, which works ok until sometime around the first of July. I don't know why it stops working then unless maybe it's hot enough by that time that the horses sweat it right back off.

    By August, the spot-on stuff doesn't even last a week, but that's because I have to start washing the sweat off the horses every evening and I guess I wash the spot-on off in the process.

    Damn, here it's only March and already I'm dreading summer!
    I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

  • #2
    The fly predators we have been using the past three years have reduced flies down to maybe 10% of what they were before.
    We just got our first shipment and will be putting them out some time next week, when it warms up enough and the little critters show up in the bag.

    Using our neighbors for control subjects, that don't use any fly control, our horses and house by the door have definitively much less flies than we used to have.
    You can still use fly spray on your horses if you need it, but we went from using several bottles a year to less than half a bottle and that was for mosquitos.

    Now, I don't know if fly predators will work where you are, but they sure seem to have been working well here.

    This year we will pay $158.- for a full summer of eight monthly shipments plus extra bonus shipments here and there.


    • #3
      I've got a "thing" about dung beetles.

      I LOVE them. They'll destroy a poop pile in 24 hours. They are COOL!

      Search on a couple of threads about fly control - there were two recent ones I think. I posted links on those and some information about control for various species.

      You're right to stay away from the feed through stuff.
      Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
      Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
      -Rudyard Kipling


      • #4
        We clean the pens twice a day, except for a few designated spots on far off corners, where we leave some, so the horses know where to go.
        In those spots we put the fly predators and there are dung beetles practically all over that.

        We used to catch them for some friends, that thought they didn't have hardly any, until they looked better and yes, there were plenty where they live.
        Our dung beetles can fly and if you don't use gloves, they will bite.


        • #5
          I highly recommend a barn fly system if you have your own place. It's the only thing that has worked amazingly well here in FL.

          We did the feed through without success. I've been told predators help a little.
          Platinum Equestrian - Florida, USA


          • Original Poster

            I'd be willing to give the dung beetles a try - we have some already. But I read on one of those links that ivermectin will reduce beetle numbers by half - how do you worm your horses without harming your beetles?

            Re feedthrough - I actually had fewer flies when I stopped using it. My wasp species tripled, so maybe that's why.
            I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


            • #7
              Yes, horse owners do commit mass insecticide (ha ha) when we deworm with ivermectin.

              One of those links is to a company that is supposed to sell dung beetles - but I don't know if they are.

              The USDA does conduct dung beetle releases... or they did at one time.

              I usually see a lot of dung beetle activity in the spring and early summer and then it tapers off towards August/Sept. It's pretty cool to watch them. (yes, I know I need to get a life)
              Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
              Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
              -Rudyard Kipling


              • #8
                Another vote for fly predators. We tried them when we first moved here, then switched to the feed-through for a couple of years. The feed through worked the first year, then the company was sold and the formula was (apparently) changed, and then it sucked. So we went without anything last year and suffered, and now we're back to predators. Guess I better put my order in now.

                I hate fly season.
                In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
                A life lived by example, done too soon.


                • #9
                  I have a question about the fly predators - we spread our manure, and so don't have a manure pile (I hate this method, by the way; don't mind it if you have a few horses, but for 20 on a small acreage you end up with more poop than grass).

                  If I went with the fly predators, how could I apply them? Spread them in the stalls? (yuck), sow them over the field?


                  • #10
                    Predators are best sown under fence lines, around spots where poop isn't picked, to give them a place to attack fly larvae and lay eggs on it. Since your place has a variety of choice spots, I'd put them closer in to the barn, along back barn walls and fence lines, perhaps around the manure spreader, and places like that. The more poop, the more flies, the happier a hunting ground the predators will have.
                    In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
                    A life lived by example, done too soon.


                    • #11
                      I use an integrated fly control system (which basically means I try everything hoping something will work!).
                      Use the predators and like them-definitely helps decrease fly population
                      Fans in stalls during day-makes it hard for flies to land on horses in a stiff breeze!
                      Fly leg wraps during daytime, remove them at night(when horses are turned out)(really makes a difference with stomping and less chipped hooves)
                      Fly sheets on at night(for mosquitos)-will use during daytime if temps are not too hot. I use the Amigo fly sheets with permethrin
                      Clean feed tubs daily(less food for flies if no sloppy grain/pellets sitting in tubs)
                      Try to keep the stalls as clean as possible and keep paddocks adjoining stalls as clean as possible(the pastures are another story-only so many hours in the day!)
                      Vinyl curtains on doors leading from stalls to paddocks
                      All these in combination help control the flies but I still don't have a fly free farm. I'm not comfortable using feed through control and I only spray fly spray on the horses for the farrier or when I'm going to ride.


                      • #12
                        I have not found sprays or predators particularly effective and have philosophical misgivings with both (which I'd be happy to share if you're interested, but won't burden the thread with otherwise). I tried garlic the summer before last, and - miraculously - had great success with it, though others have had mixed results. Then I found out about Heinz body anemia. So I can't really recommend garlic anymore. It was effective in my little closed herd, and no one had any anemic symptoms, but I'm not really comfortable with it anymore, knowing the problems that other people have had.

                        So now I rely heavily on the trap and toss bags. You can catch SOOOOO many flies with those things. I have found them to be almost as good as the garlic. (The year I used garlic, you literally could not find a fly in my barn if you were looking for one!) The downside is that they are ugly, can smell bad, and you need to use a lot of them to get the best results.

                        Fans are also useful, but there is a fire risk with them. I used them in Virginia, where I had a relatively new, professionally built and professionally wired block sided barn. Here in SC I have an old, wooden barn, built and wired by a previous owner, so I don't take the risk. Luckily it's a shedrow barn, surrounded by trees. So it stays surprisingly cool and breezy without fans. If you are going to use fans, I'd strongly recommend springing for the ones with the enclosed motors, rather than the $10 box fans from Walmart. The enclosed motor fans are expensive, but worth it for the decreased fire risk.


                        • #13
                          My fly control method is my manure spreader. I have zero flies.

                          Now if I could just figure out a way to get rid of the creek that runs behind my house--I'm told that's where horseflies are born.


                          • #14
                            If you can find a way to actually get rid of them totally then you're on to a winner. You'll be set to be a multimillionaire!

                            If you live on a farm, near a river or anywhere near Scotland! then you'll be plagued with midges. Like little mosquitos but with a bite like an aligator! Then we have horseflies. They particularly like cattle and my legs though so I don't know why they're misnamed! They've a bite like a lion!

                            By all means do what you can but trust me and particularly ensure you try to remove any sources of such as stagnant water and muck but as fast as you move them, a load more will be back.

                            We've actually got a mass of insect eating birds here. Come the summer we ordinarily have between 70 to 100 swifts and house martin nests on the house eaves. We've also a mass of swallows and they're all flying catching every single day. There's normally about 2 or 3 nexts in every single horse's stable. We are dead pleased to have them everywhere! Mainly because they're species in decline - though you'd never know it from coming here. We've a perfect habitat for them. But it seems they hardly make a dent in the insect population. Woodland and rivers are just a fabulous environment. For us and for the insects!

                            What you also REALLY absolutely MUST have is this:


                            My marketing and sales strategy isn't sophisticated but buy it and see how it helps - not only to alleviate your horse's suffering and give them some relief from pesky bugs but also to do some good for a great cause.

                            I am so wanting to get this going again this summer. So you see you're dreading summer and I'm thinking some good will come of it.

                            PLEASE, PRETTY PLEASE!????


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MaresNest View Post

                              So now I rely heavily on the trap and toss bags. You can catch SOOOOO many flies with those things. I have found them to be almost as good as the garlic. (The year I used garlic, you literally could not find a fly in my barn if you were looking for one!) The downside is that they are ugly, can smell bad, and you need to use a lot of them to get the best results.
                              Amen to that. I tried predators with no success, and I don't feel comfortable with any of the feed-thrus. The trap and toss bags are fabulous. You DO have to use a LOT of them, and they stink. Buy them by the case to save $ and be sure to shop around. Make sure you squish them to reactivate the attractang every few days to get the most out of them. If you're going to have flies, give them a place to go and get them to go there with an attractant. It makes me positively giddy to see bags with thousands of flies trapped and/or dead. Horrible, aren't I? Makes the few that are still flying around bearable.