Fly Control for Horses

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When most horse owners think of controlling flies, they think of sprays. But, there are other options that deserve consideration.

First and foremost is sanitation. It takes up to two weeks for a fly egg to hatch and molt into a mature fly capable of reproducing. Breaking the life cycle by composting manure and cleaning up piles of wet, rotting hay helps reduce the number of flies to control.

For light fly pressure, you may be able to reduce them by hanging sticky fly tape around the barn. If populations increase, spray the barn walls where flies rest during the night hours. Spraying an insecticide like Countdown, Grenade or Atroban EC will knockdown fly numbers while minimizing your horse’s exposure to pesticides.

Using fly baits can be effective if used in a safe manner. Cutting open old milk jugs or soda bottles and hanging them from barn eaves where they are out of children and pets reach is effective. Horses spending most of their time on pasture can get good protection with insecticide impregnated strips tied to the halter or with a light string around the neck..

Finally, there are a number of good insecticides for spraying the horse or wiping on with a light rag. Some are designed for daily use and others are designed for use on horses that are handled less. Be aware that no insecticide will control every fly.