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Flies - Control Hints and Tips

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Its that time of year again, at least in Australia, time for the great Aussie salute

Flies are starting to make their presence felt and numbers are increasing. So I thought some ideas on how to control these pests

would be in order, not only for your horse, who will thank you, but for us poor humans as well.

Is it possible to get rid of flies?

Yes although when you read further you will realise that it isn't going to happen here. Before the Beijing Olympics every person in China was given the task of killing a fly a day and I believe that by the time the Olympics came about flies were indeed scarce.  So assuming that we are not going to be able to get our neighbors on board with a mass eradication program we are stuck with finding a solution that will minimize numbers in our immediate area.

Why Should we Control Flies?

Apart from the nuisance factor, fly control is a must to reduce the instance of diseases they can carry.

There are over 30 species of blood letting flies. These flies hunt by sight. They are painful vicious biters of both people and horses. And they are more than just an annoyance - they can transmit diseases like Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) and Potomac Horse Fever (PHF). The horse & deer fly can suck blood for several minutes and only the female horse fly bites to feed on blood.

Both horse flies and deer flies will deposit eggs on vegetation around moist soil or very near water. The larvae will burrow down into this soil and feed on organic matter. The larvae mature into flies in the late spring.

The adult flies are very strong fliers traveling long distances from breeding sites. They will enter any area within minutes of spraying with insecticides. Fly sprays are basically ineffective when it comes to horse flies. The best control is obtained by trapping the female flies before they have the opportunity to bite/reproduce. This will reduce the population and make the area around your barn and pasture a much more enjoyable place for both you and your animals.

Homemade Fly Trap

2 cups water

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup vinegar

Mix ingredients to make fly bait. Cut a plastic 2 liter soda bottle 1/4 down from the top. Invert top portion into bottom portion. Punch 4 holes at top, tie string (twine) to hold both portions together and hang. Add fly bait & hang at your barn. Dispose of entire container when full of flies. (as you probably know, the longer this hangs the worse it smells and the more flies that it attracts.)

Some great more natural control measures can be found in this article Click Here to Read...

What works for me?

I have had the best results from using traps, usually commercial ones that you refill with a prepared bait, although he idea of making my own that can be thrown away has definite appeal as cleaning a reusable one is a less than delightful task so this year I am giving the home made ones a go so I can throw the lot in the trash.

I have also used dy-fly Plus (no I dont sell it but your produce store probably will)  this is a bait that I sprinkle on manure and has a hormone that attracts flies and kills them.  When I am persistent using it there was a major decrease in numbers.  Although looking on line for this article I was unable to find it. Maybe another product taken off the market. A similar product appears to be QuickBayt Fly Bait. Update Dy-Fly Plus is now made by John Cooper industries so you should still be able to purchase if. Although it is for house flies I found it effective for most other species as well since once the dead flies accumulate that will also attract the other species.

If you have dogs you will need to be careful using it to avoid accidental ingestion as the dogs don't mind the horse manure and the sugar type attractant also seems to appeal to them,. Sprinkling it on the dog poo works well as the dogs wont touch it and the flies love it.

Looking on the net I see that there is a range of fly bait stations now available and I may give these a try myself this year. One that seemed particularly promising is Fly Sentry Fly Bait Station which seems straightforward and hopefully effective.  I will let you know how they work.

Would love to hear from you as to what works for you particularly with Buffalo Flies and March Flies which drive my horses crazy. So this year it is fly rugs as usual and some chemical control around the place and off course break out the Aeroguard :)

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