Don’t Let the Bugs Bug Your Horse : Green Fly Control Tips
Spring is in full swing and we look forward to long sunny days shared with our equine companions. Unfortunately, the warmer weather also brings pesky mosquitoes, black flies, ticks and fleas. For the horse and rider, their unwelcome intrusion can take the fun out of a long ride and make it next to impossible for us to work with our horses as they are driven to distraction. And who can blame them?
It’s a bug-eat-bug world out there, so use it to your natural advantage! Fly predators are tiny insects that eat fly larvae, interrupting the life cycle and therefore reducing the population. You will be amazed at how well this natural method works, as long as you start early in the season. You may have to double up the use during the peak of the fly season, or if your spring and summer is wetter than usual.
Keep it clean. Not only will your shelters and paddocks smell better, but you’ll keep pesky insects at bay if you promptly remove manure. In larger areas, harrow occasionally or break up manure with a pitchfork, and rotate pastures to avoid worm infestation.
Keep it dry. The less homey you make it for bugs, the more they’ll move on! Eliminate standing water and tall grasses where flies and other insects settle. Watch out for the overlooked nooks and crannies where rainwater collects, like unused buckets and pails, and even tarps and other areas where water pools.
An apple a day…well, not exactly although your horse would like it. But adding apple cider vinegar in small quantities to your horses’ feed is a natural repellent.
Feed DE. Diatomaceous Earth is a non-toxic pesticide which can be added to food to help eliminate internal parasites and reduce manure odor. Apply it as well to manure piles to prevent flies from laying eggs. DE looks like white chalk powder but is actually the indigestible fossilized remains of single-cell plants. Since bugs can’t digest it, they die, but it is harmless to larger animals and people.
Use flower power. Planting flowers like marigolds naturally deter many insects. There are many pretty plants that are natural repellents, so you can pretty up your yard with double duty beauty.
Add some POP! These fly traps really work, and are easy to use. http://www.rescue.com/pop_fly_trap/
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