Guest post by Sarah Macey.
Summer is on its way and the weather is slowly getting warmer. There are so many wonderful things about summer, especially when you like to ride! When the sun’s out there is more time to spend time outside with your horse. Unfortunately, there are many things about summertime that can be problematic and one of these is flies. These pests appear in force during the summertime and can be extremely bothersome to you and your horse. The following methods will help you to fight the fly problem naturally, so that you can keep the fly populations in your stables and fields under control.
Managing the manure in your horse stables, fields, and yards is the single most effective method for getting rid of flies. Stable flies are a species of biting fly that breed in manure and are particularly bothersome to horses. To keep their numbers down, it is best to regularly muck out your stables and remove manure. In fact, I would recommend cleaning out manure from your stables, yards, and fields as often as you can to keep these pests at bay.
Top Tip: Horse manure is a good source of nutrients and is an extremely popular addition to many home gardens. If you find you have too much of the stuff, bag it up and give it away or sell it to local garden centres or friends and family. Their gardens will thank you for it!
Flies love areas that are moist and they seek out these places to breed. Search your horse’s stable for any leaks or areas of pooling moisture. Be sure to look out for areas where rainwater gathers too, as this can be a great breeding ground for flies. Once again, it comes down to regularly cleaning out your horse’s stall. You can reduce the amount of moisture in your horse’s stall by putting down moisture-soaking materials, frequently cleaning, or by using highly absorbent bedding. One of the best ways of beating the moisture in your stables is to install rubber matting. This form of stable bedding is extremely effective at reducing stable moisture and it is also very easy to clean!
Fly traps are an effective way of ridding your stables of these annoying pests. I would highly recommend using sticky fly traps so that the flies can’t escape, once they have entered the trap. Sticky fly traps can be hung anywhere around your stable or yard. However, I would suggest hanging a couple of fly traps in your horse’s stall as this area will naturally attract more flies.
Food and Garbage Storage
The environment and cleanliness of your stables can have a significant effect on the number of flies in your facility. By practicing good barn keeping and ensuring your barn is kept clean and dry will help keep flies to a minimum. Be sure to securely cover any open garbage cans. Flies are attracted to garbage and will swarm any open garbage can they find. So, seal your garbage well. Also, be sure to keep all storage and feed containers well-covered, as some of the sweet feeds for horses can attract flies.
Most importantly, be sure to dispose of any rotting hay as it is a popular breeding ground for flies and other pests. Avoid using straw bedding as this soaks up the moisture and will remain in the stalls as an ideal breeding ground for flies. Instead, replace straw bedding with rubber matting. Rubber matting is an excellent alternative to straw bedding and it will keep your stables drier for longer.
Top Tip: Always clean up any spilled feed or hay right away, especially if it is wet, to avoid attracting flies.
Fly sprays are something most of us are familiar with. Both insecticidal sprays and fly repellents discourage flies from landing on your horse. Oil-based fly sprays have better staying power than water-based products. When applying fly sprays, be sure to follow the instructions on the label. When applied correctly, fly sprays are an effective way of keeping flies off and away from your horse.
Top Tip: When applying any kind of product around the eyes, ears and muzzle of your horse, be sure to spray the product onto a washcloth first before gently applying it. You can also use roll-on insecticides for these delicate areas.
No matter how clean you keep your stables or how well you apply fly repellent to your horse, it is impossible to get rid of every single fly. My final suggestion for protecting your horse from flies is to use cover-ups. Fly masks are particularly effective as flies are notorious for landing on your horse’s face, feeding on the mucus in and around the eyes. This can cause irritation and potentially spread some nasty diseases. Fly masks protect your horse from this problem.
It’s not just the face of your horse that needs covering, the rest of the horse’s body can also be bothered by flies. Lightweight mesh blankets are a great solution as they protect your horse’s exposed body from biting flies and general pest irritation. By using these cover-up methods, you can have a significant impact on the happiness and comfort of your horse.
Help Your Horse Today
If you own a horse, you will know that flies can be one of the most frustrating pests in the stable. By reducing the number of flies buzzing around your stables, you can drastically improve your horse’s quality of life. I hope that the above methods will work for you and help keep your fly problem under control.
About the Author:
My name is Sarah Macey and I am the proud owner of Prime Stables Ltd. Started back in 2003, Prime Stables provide hand crafted equestrian buildings to horse owners all over the UK and have become on of the most popular suppliers in the country. We believe in three things: family and people, a love for horses, and quality. Find out more about us by reading our blog or following us on Twitter @SarahMacey9