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Fly Control: Prevention and Management

Fly control around the horse barn is not a one-and-done type of situation. It is an ongoing process that requires continuous effort to keep fly populations in check. Here are a few tips to remember to help fight the good fight against these pests. This is not a complete list of everything you can do, so if you have products or practices that work best for you in your situation, keep doing it! We all want to keep our horses happy and healthy.

  • Keep the area around the barn free of debris, especially anything that can hold water and allow water to become stagnant. This creates a very attractive setup for flies.

  • Do what you can to have good drainage around your barn and/or confinement area (dry lot). This includes your pasture area also. Again, the purpose is to reduce the opportunity for standing water.

  • Keep pastures clipped and areas around the barn free of overgrown weeds and other vegetation.

  • Regular cleaning of feed pans and water buckets as well as automatic waterers.

  • Although it takes time, regular thorough mucking and cleaning of stalls is a must, which leads us to the next point…

  • Managing manure is another integral part of fly control. Flies breed in manure. If you are not able to haul and spread manure daily, create an area as far away from the barn and horses as possible until you are able to remove it. If applying on fields and pastures, be sure to apply at an agronomic rate to keep soil and forage conditions in balance.

  • Use a premise spray around the perimeter of the barn and/or confinement area. This is very effective when used according to the directions on the label.

  • Utilize any one of the many sprays, wipes, sticks, and roll-ons available on the market today. Most all are very effective when used according to their product label. They are most all available in conventional or all-natural formulas.

  • Create a physical barrier between your horse and flies using fly masks and/or fly sheets. These are readily available at most equine supply outlets and vary in size, design, and price.

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