After the mild winter we had here in Kentucky, the flies around the horse farms have been unbearable. I don’t remember a year that they were this bad. We’ve put together some tips for you to keep flies out of your horse barns as best as possible this summer.
A topical repellent is the most common approach to handling flies around horses. Whether it be a spray, roll on or drops, these methods are easy, fast and convenient, not to mention easy to come across. Most feed and tack stores stay well stocked on these topical products in the summer months.
Barriers, such as fly masks, fly sheets and leg protectors are a good way to help keep flies from biting horses. Flies love to congregate around a horses eyes, and can be extremely irritating for the horse. A fly mask drastically reduces the number of flies in and around their eyes. Some horses are extremely sensitive to fly bites, making fly sheets and leg protection necessary. Depending on the climate in your area, these can also make horses too warm.
Fly traps are a good way to try and control the number of flies in the barn. There are many different types of fly traps. While they don’t even completely eliminate the flies, they can drastically reduce the numbers, making it more manageable to keep them off the horses.
Overhead spray systems run on a schedule, releasing a fly repellent throughout the barn. Most of these systems have a sprayer in each stall, protecting each horse from flies. These systems can be expensive to install and maintain, but if your barn is in an area that is overrun by flies and the horses stay inside most of the time, this is a great option to help keep them comfortable.
Fly parasites are becoming increasingly popular. These kill the fly at the source. They are non-stinging wasps that eliminate fly larva. These “fly predators” are most affective if hosted in manure, as that is where most flies lay their eggs. Fly predators will feed on the fly larva, and drastically reduce the future amount of flies.
Feed through supplements are designed to eliminate flies reproducing in the horses’ manure and to repel them from the horse. A supplement with IRG passes through the horse and is deposited in the manure, keeping flies from reproducing in their manure. Supplements with garlic, apple cider or yeast help repel the flies from biting horses, as the flies dislike those tastes. Most of these repellent supplements will make your horse smell like the supplement as well.
Flies can put a damper on the summer months. Horses hate them, and we hate them. It’s impossible to live a fly-free summer around horses, but with the right information and tools, we can certainly make them a little more manageable. [/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][/cs_content]