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Fly Predators

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    Fly Predators

    Wondering if anyone has used these before and what their opinions are? what types of flies are they mostly used to get rid of?

    #2
    The Spalding website has lots of good information about what the predators are able to help with.
    https://spalding-labs.com/

    I have always found they work great. I used them for years. My farrier frequently commented about our lack of flies.

    This year we did not use them (Covid job loss meant cut backs). I am noticing an increase in flies.

    Comment


      #3
      I use them every year. They are effective against the filth flies--stable flies, house flies, etc--and not effective against the tabanids like horse flies or deer flies.

      They are more sensitive to pyrethrins and permethrins than the flies, so don't poison your bedding by spraying fly spray in your stalls (if you're releasing your predators in your manure pile.)

      They've been hugely effective for me and a key part of fly management. It's probably too late to start this year, though.

      Comment


        #4
        Yes!

        We love those little bugs! We were late ordering one year and noticed a huge difference. It took two months to slow the bug population back down.

        Daily cleaning and fly predators = happiness.

        Comment


          #5
          I have used them for 15 years. They really work for the non-biting flies. For biting flies, you need the Horse Pal Horsefly Trap. Expensive, but I have had mine for 15 years (with a few replacement parts which I ordered on their site). Added plus, it is a small US business.

          Comment


            #6
            Have used them forever and the one year we decided maybe they were not worth it, by June we knew we were in trouble.
            You still need to use fly spray for mosquitos and other than plain flies, but be careful not to get other also covered with fly spray, use lightly on the horses only, so you don't kill predators also.

            There are some that say they didn't work for them, they have for everyone in our area.
            You have to try them to be sure they do work where you are and under your management.

            Comment


              #7
              I've only had my horses at home for 2 years. I noticed a huge difference when I started using them.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                I use them every year. They are effective against the filth flies--stable flies, house flies, etc--and not effective against the tabanids like horse flies or deer flies.

                They are more sensitive to pyrethrins and permethrins than the flies, so don't poison your bedding by spraying fly spray in your stalls (if you're releasing your predators in your manure pile.)

                They've been hugely effective for me and a key part of fly management. It's probably too late to start this year, though.
                I've been using them for 15+ years and they have worked very well for me. Vet, farriers, anyone new to my barn always asks how I keep it so fly free.

                I've seen the comments about not spraying your stall bedding because it will kill them when that goes into the manure pile. Just last week, I asked the folks at Spalding about this again as we had a flush of flies with the hot humid weather and I was using more fly spray than normal. Their answer was that as long as I wasn't putting the predators directly in the stalls and the spray had dried on the bedding before it went into my manure pile it really wasn't a problem. The predators burrow into the pile to go after the fly larvae so are also not feeding on the fly spray per se. Pyrethrins/permethrins have a relatively short life so unless the insect feeds on them relatively quickly, they don't have a long lasting effect.

                Use the flies in a multi faceted control program and you should have good success:
                • Keep stalls and paddocks clean of manure and urine. I like to clean my stall first thing in the morning before the flies become active for the day.
                • Eliminated standing water that can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other insects
                • Try to use minimal pesticide sprays but don't be afraid to use them when you need to get quick knockdown of a population flush of flies (such as the one we just had after a rain followed by hot weather). In about a week we are back to low levels since we timed control right.
                • Know your pests and their life cycle so you can target appropriated controls with the right timing for best results. Some are filth/nuisance flies, some are blood/protein feeders, some are hosts in the worm cycle. Each has different habits and needs slightly different control strategies.
                I just stumbled upon these bug balls last week. I've been wanting to try making my own deer fly traps but needed the black balls and was never able to find them. Maybe now I can give it try. If anyone gets to it before I do, Iet me know how well (or not) they work.

                By all means, I would use the predator wasps. Now that you are mid season and at the peak of fly population time, you may not see big results until next year, but stick with it. I have found if I use one late season application of predators (early-mid Sept for me), I get better control since they kill a lot of fly larvae that would over winter and be the start of next spring's fly crop. Start the season with fewer flies and it takes longer for their numbers to build (kind of like being in an area where Covid numbers are low and keeping it controlled by diligent distancing and mask wearing. Be cavalier in a hot spot and you just get a bigger disaster. What an analogy for our times.)

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by fjordmom View Post
                  I've been wanting to try making my own deer fly traps but needed the black balls and was never able to find them.
                  Spray paint is your friend.

                  We spray painted a Jolly Ball. It works great.
                  We have to repaint it every season (because it seems to peel a lot over the winter where we store it is not 100 out of the weather), but it is quick and easy to do.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by fjordmom View Post

                    Their answer was that as long as I wasn't putting the predators directly in the stalls and the spray had dried on the bedding before it went into my manure pile it really wasn't a problem.
                    Fly predators became MUCH MUCH MUCH more effective for me when I stopped using fly spray in the stalls. It was the only thing that changed. And that improvement in performance has persisted over multiple years. So 🤷‍♀️.

                    Using fly spray only outside of the stalls is not difficult for me, so I keep it out of the bedding and the manure pile.

                    Your mileage may vary, of course, but in my experience over multiple years, spraying fly spray in the stalls absolutely does decrease effectiveness of the predators.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by trubandloki View Post
                      Spray paint is your friend.

                      We spray painted a Jolly Ball. It works great.
                      We have to repaint it every season (because it seems to peel a lot over the winter where we store it is not 100 out of the weather), but it is quick and easy to do.
                      Thanks, I had thought about going the spray paint root but wondered if it would flake off. (Beside, I was a bit lazy too.)

                      Seeing how inexpensive the 3 pack is, I'm game for a try if we get a bad black fly crop. We are almost past their season here. I can easily get the tanglefoot by the gallon. DH uses it in the orchard on his fruit fly monitoring traps.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Simkie View Post

                        Fly predators became MUCH MUCH MUCH more effective for me when I stopped using fly spray in the stalls. It was the only thing that changed. And that improvement in performance has persisted over multiple years. So 🤷‍♀️.

                        Using fly spray only outside of the stalls is not difficult for me, so I keep it out of the bedding and the manure pile.

                        Your mileage may vary, of course, but in my experience over multiple years, spraying fly spray in the stalls absolutely does decrease effectiveness of the predators.
                        Unfortunately, for me the stall is the most wind-still place for application. We are very breezy here on top of a hill. Much as I'd like to spray them outside, most of the spray misses its mark and then becomes general contamination in our environment. With pyrethrins fairly high toxicity to fish, we have to consider that too, here on the shores of the Great Lake.

                        I am VERY judicious about using the pyrrethrins as it is also very easy to develop resistance with constant use/over use. That is one reason so many people complain that their fly spray doesn't work particularly well. At most, I go thru 2 bottles a season with my 2 horses. Basically all the chemical fly sprays for horses are some class of pyrethrin regardless of what color bottle they come in or what nice name they have. I've done a very careful look at the amount of PBO that is in various sprays as that helps boost efficacy.

                        Most of the time I use a citronella based repellent on the horses' body and save the chemical for just the lower legs and under belly if really needed.

                        For 15+ years now, I have always found my predators to work very well and have had extensive conversations with the folks at Spaulding about how to best support them. I also have 40+ years experience working with integrated pest management in large commercial orchards. There is a lot of total system sustainability and nuanced details that I don't get into these posts. I take a whole system approach to fly control and consider how each piece of the puzzle fits together for the best of the whole. Insecticides are a VERY small part of that.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by fjordmom View Post

                          At most, I go thru 2 bottles a season with my 2 horses.
                          Ah. Yes, with such little use, I could see how that would have little impact.

                          For much of the summer, I go through a quart or two a week, spraying four horses. And I don't think that's unusual use.

                          I will stand by my statement that keeping pyrethrins and permethrins out of the bedding and manure pile has very positively impacted the effectiveness of my fly predators. Because it has

                          Comment


                            #14
                            We had terrible fly problems every summer until the BO tried fly predators probably about 15 years ago. What a difference. She gets a shipment monthly. The packages are pretty small and the farm is big but they do what they are supposed to do. She follows whatever directions come with it.
                            "With hardly any other living being can a human connect as closely over so many years as a rider can with her horse." Isabell Werth, Four Legs Move My Soul. 2019

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I used them for a few years but quit using them because they didn't seem to do much. I have two horses on an acre. Property next door has 5 horses also about an acre and poor manure management. They are not the sort that would agree to buy their own fly predators. Also in CA the ants sometimes eat them. If my whole neighborhood would use that would help. I keep hoping those neighbors will move away but so far they haven't.

                              Comment

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