dealing with biting flies

When I was at the previous barn we had a horrible time with biting flies, and at our current barn, we are being attacked again by these creatures and they are pissing me off!

Line of attack:

Fly spray – effective for short term use. I’ve tired the sweat resistant kind and they are okay but not significantly different to warrant the difference in price. About $12 a bottle, generally I go through one bottle per horse during the summer. Instead of sticking to the one brand I like, I think I’ll be rotating through a couple hoping that the difference in formula will keep them at bay.

Fly Trap bags – I’ve hung three and they will catch the typical stable fly but not horse flies. The trap smell can bug certain people but I hate flies so bad that I’ll put up with the stink. They are hung up in the barn rafters and will probably need to be replaced every three weeks or so. About $8 a bag locally.

Equi-Spot – though designed for ticks it does seem to give some effective resistance to flies too. Needs to be replaced on the horse about every three weeks, more if it’s been raining or you bathe a lot. Right now Farnam is running a $2 off coupon deal.

Fly Predators – Since my horses are pasture stabled, there is no muck pile to house these babies where they eat the maggots of other flies.

Fly Sheet and Mask – Horses are now in masks, and I’ll probably get a sheet for T; Z would most likey rip hers up and stomp on it. I’m having trouble keeping her in the mask but will keep trying.

Fly bands – these wrap around the legs. I’ve seen a horse get hung up with one of these so right now I’ll pass, though I did hear they changed the manufacturing. If your horse is skin sensitive, pass on these. Or try the non-chemical fly mesh boots.

Feed through Fly Control – I did a lot of research about Garlic supplements for horses for fly control. It’s worth a try, but I have my doubts on how effective it would be vs. the cost.

Now there are chemical, man-made alternatives that can be feed as supplements, though this idea gives me the willies. Since I’ve had a mare with a metabolism problem I am always leery of introducing more chemicals, especially internally as a food product.

Simplifly seems to be the one cornering the market. From reading how this works, if your horses are the only ones on the farm, or you can provide the supplement to all horses and have no neighboring untreated horses, it can be successful. In my current arrangement, even if I fed my two, the other 10 or so on the property would generate flies and I would still be dealing with these pests.

I had become interested in using the Epps Fly Trap but really just can’t afford to buy one.

When I asked about it on a message board, I received this alternative from Four Winds Ranch:

“You will need a big barrel or drum.  Most people can get the big blue drums that bulk juice or soap comes in usually around 50 gal. 

The barrel needs to be suspended horizontally several feet above the ground.  So put an eye bolt in each end in order to hang it.  Set in an open area, not the woods. 

Use a black plastic trash bag…slit it so it is a single layer sheet.  Double sided tape to secure the plastic around the barrel..use 2 bags if needed.

The sticky glue can be hard to find. *Tangletrap* is a special glue that doesn’t dry out used in the orchard industry.  Comes as a paint on, in a caulk gun form and as a spray on.  Spray on is the easiest to use. 

Cover all surfaces of the plastic including the *belly* of your barrel horse after plastic is on the barrel. carries it if you cant find it.”

From doing some searches, it looks like the glue is going to be the hardest to find and may not be bought locally. Once I get all my supplies together, I’ll take some photos and update on the results.

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