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Fly protection in S Florida

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    Fly protection in S Florida

    Everyone has been so helpful with tips and tricks for my move from northern Ohio to southern Florida. Still slightly stressed as this is such different climate than up north and I want to be prepared as possible. Im sure I am probably over reacting. With the bugs already super bad up north I can’t imagine what it’s like down south right now. So as the move is getting closer, was wondering a few things about the bugs and flies.

    We are planning to get koolkurtains for the door ways and windows to help with shade and bugs. Also will have a fly spray system and fans. What fans does everyone use? Looking at Big Ass Fans and possibly doing two per stall. Hoping that helps cool and keep bugs off.

    Wondering the best fly sheets for warm weather. I’m thinking of getting a mosquito sheet from Schneider’s. Seem to be lighter and cooler.

    What are the best fly sprays to use to keep bugs at bay? I know there are a lot of bugs that will be new to me like no seeums.

    Also what do people use as a feed through?

    I’m looking at fly predictors and keeping the manure away from barn and frequent pick ups if possible.

    Anything else I’m missing? Any additional information would be grateful, there is just too much on the internet to weed through. Thanks!!

    I have had very good results with Smartpak Bug-Off Ultra for a feed thru.
    And for skin/leg funk I love Equiderma lotion. And Desitin. Buy stock in that.


      Flies are a challenge. I use a feed through insect growth hormone and change it up to a different one every few months. I also spray the stalls (I dont have a system). IMO Pyrahanna is the only one that really works but I do sometimes thin it out with Avon Skin so Soft for use while riding. Muck Itch for scurfy stuff. Most important IMO is to be vigilant about every little scratch. Protect it ASAP so it does not become a summer sore. Be sure to check the mid line when you are going over the horse also! I like the liquid-bandage type sprays such as Alumashield and the Farnum Purishield (be sure you get the one that is a barrier not jsut a cleanser) and the clay-type stuff from equiderma (that one is zinc oxide based IIRC) and Coat Defense which is clay-based. Those do stay on pretty well even in a shower. I have a fly sheet with a belly band - it's one of the fine mesh ones but he still sweats under it, especially on the shoulders where the protective lining is.


        I am also in South Florida. Good fans, premise sprays, and spray on the horse as well. In summer, my horses have stall access (with strong fans) and attached run ins during the day, and pasture turnout at night, after dark. In my opinion there is not any fly sheet that wouldn't cause additional heat stress to a horse than he already has without a sheet. Sometimes it's 95 degrees with 90% humidity. as much air going over the horse to cool his body is preferred.


          I’m in central Florida and one of my horses gets destroyed by bugs in the summer. He is on night turnout and has to have a fly sheet on or else he breaks out in hives and is miserable. The fly turtle sheets are cool, I cut out the nylon shoulder lining to make it even cooler. I’ve also heard the Saratoga summer sheets are really good for hot and humid weather , I’ve ordered one to test it out.

          for fly spray, I’ve had the best luck with mosquito halt, tritec 14, and the ultra shield in the black bottle


            Originally posted by ThoroughbredLuver View Post

            What are the best fly sprays to use to keep bugs at bay? I know there are a lot of bugs that will be new to me like no seeums.

            Also what do people use as a feed through?

            I’m looking at fly predictors and keeping the manure away from barn and frequent pick ups if possible.

            Anything else I’m missing? Any additional information would be grateful, there is just too much on the internet to weed through. Thanks!!
            Although I'm not from FL, some principals don't change. You need to understand what your fly species are and what the biology of their life cycle is. That is fundamental to pest control anywhere, not just in a horse barn environment.

            Sanitation - keeping manure away from the barn and out of your paddocks is a HUGE step to success. A manure pile will help to concentrate the files breeding area and make it easier to concentrate your control efforts. Composting and the use of fly predators is a very important step in interrupting and stopping the development of fly larvae and consequently more flies. If you use the predators, you may not feel like you are seeing immediate control because you aren't. Used at appropriate intervals and amounts over time, they will reduce the fly population going forward. Within a year or two you should notice distinct results. One thing I have learned over the years is that I keep using my predators a bit later into the season than you think you have too. Up here in the north our fly season starts to wain in mid-August, but we have another population flush in mid-September when that Indian summer arrives. I have been putting out one last batch of predators then. What that does is greatly decrease the number of larvae that could overwinter. Then there are far fewer flies to start the next spring season. Fewer to start, less to multiply over the season.

            If I could only do two things for fly control sanitation and predators would be it, hands down.

            Realize that using any of the chemical based fly sprays continuously over time will only lead to the flies developing resistance to them all. Unfortunately what is on the market all falls into a closely related chemical class - pyrethrins, pyrthroids, cypermethirns... Use them judiciously, only during the worst fly pressure when you really need to kill some flies fast to cut back the population to manageable levels. Zero flies is not a realistic goal. Nature will out fox you every time.

            Generally the "natural" sprays don't have a long staying power, but I've had good luck with a select few. Uckele's Zypher's Garden line has worked particularly well for me. They have fly sprays, anti-itch salves, and other products that are my go-to these days for my one horse that is bug hypersensitive and has sweet itch. I find that top notch nutrition and having flax in his diet has made his skin much more resilient to the problems he had when he came to me several years ago.

            I have also had very good luck with Eco-Vet fly spray for certain species. I totally HATE the smell, but can't deny how well it works, so I tolerate the horrid smell and coughing it brings on. (It was made for the pandemic; only kidding but wearing a mask when applying sure helps.)

            Cold witch hazel helps quell hives and bug bite itch if you need a partial quick fix on a bad day. I just squirt is on and rub it over them with my hands. I often feel them relax as I'm doing so.

            Second the comment to buy stock in Desitin (or generic 100% zinc oxide), especially for the no-seeums. Lucky you if you never had no-seems in OH, but I bet you did; you just didn't see them (sorry bad pun). I start checking the horses ears for crusties in early April, shortly after snow melt in northern MI. You'd be surprised how early they are active.

            Good luck. The flies are an ongoing battle but if you really educate yourself, you can learn when and how to interrupt their life cycles. With that understanding you can make your control strategies as effective as possible.