LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jul. 23, 2014) -- With summer now at the peak of its season, the annoying buzz of insects is at high volume. While many of us may have found the best solutions to fly control for our own facilities, utilizing everything from fly predators to fly sprays and masks, we might not be prepared for pests encountered while traveling. Whether you are traveling to the state next door or headed to Canada, it’s good to know what types of insects you’ll be facing and how to protect your horse. Our friends at Spalding Laboratories help USRider members take a close look at this serious problem.
The most prolific flying pests are common house flies. The house fly is no stranger and usually just an unwelcome annoyance. House flies feed and reproduce in rotting matter, garbage, spoiled feed and manure. And, they are heavily drawn to nasty odors. So, not only is it critical to remove manure, garbage, and other debris from in and around your trailer at frequent intervals, it's also important to wash out urine as frequently as possible.
Biting Stable Flies are also on the list of irritating fly species. While they are especially noticeable in the midwest and southeastern states, they can be found throughout the US and Canada. They are particularly gruesome pests as they are notoriously blood-thirsty and cause pain when they bite through your horse’s skin to feed. Since theses flies are drawn to manure (as well as rotting vegetation) when they reproduce, you are not only advised to keep trailer and surrounding areas clean, it would be a good idea to invest in the safest fly repellents and pesticides available.
Before hitting the trail or show ring, Spalding recommends spraying your horse down with fly spray. With many newer organic brands introduced in recent years, there is a wide variety of fly sprays on the market, such as: Thyme, Cedar, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Citronella, Clove, Geraniol (from geraniums) and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (from coconut and palm oils).
Be careful about parking or camping near areas with untended ponds or lakes. Much like flies, mosquitoes favor tall weeds as resting areas, so avoiding tall grasses is also wise. Mosquitoes do not fare well in areas with winds over 7 mph, so consider keeping fans running near your horses to discourage these pests.
Bottom line, stellar sanitation, high quality fly sprays, masks and ceaseless attention to your horse’s care and well-being will help lower flying pests at home and during travel. Another option to fight off insects is to invest in supplements that contain chemicals that inhibit the fly's normal ability to develop in horse manure. Once added to your horse’s grain or bran; these supplements digest and pass without harming your horse. This then halts flies from completing their reproduction cycle within the treated manure. - Information courtesy of Spalding Labs.