The days are longer, nights are warmer, and stable flies are back in force. Summer is the time of year when flies can be a nuisance to your horse. Here are some tips to make sure stable flies do not become a nuisance to your horse.
1. Keep your barn, stalls and paddocks manure free. Flies breed and feed on fresh piles, so make sure to move manure away from the barn and your horses as quickly as possible. Drag paddocks to spread and dry residual waste to kill fly larvae and reduce future fly populations.
2. Outfit your horses with fly masks during the day to protect their eyes and reduce the risk of eye infections such as conjunctivitis.
3. If biting flies are a concern, try protecting your horses with fly sheets, too.
4. Hang fly tape in your horse’s stalls to collect and kill flybys. Fly traps work, too, using a rotten-meat scent to attract flies to their final end. Just remember these attract flies, so put the traps somewhere away from you and your horses.
5. Consider releasing fly parasites, a tiny, harmless wasp that interrupts the fly lifecycle by feeding on fly pupae.
6. Make sure your deworming program is up to date, thus reducing the adult population of flies, while also keeping your horses healthy. A simple fecal test will let you know how well your deworming program is working.
7. Use screens and fans where practical to disrupt flight paths and keep files from landing.