SmartPak Monday Morning Feed: 3 Ways To Keep Your Barn Fly-Free

We won’t lie. Fly season is rough. But there are things you can do to keep your barn fly free and minimize your equine pals’ irritation with the pesky insects.

1. Fight Different Flies with Different Solutions

To defeat the enemy, we must first know the enemy, and while we all hate barns overrun with flies, do we even know which flies we’re fighting? Everyone has heard of stable flies and house flies, but there’s more than just those two species to consider when it comes to protecting our horses over the summer.

Biting flies like mosquitoes, black flies, midges, horse flies, and deer flies are known to feed on animal blood. Nonbiting flies feed on bodily secretions, from sweat to ‘eye gunk’ (or mucous), to the blood and tissue around open wounds. Which ones do you have at your barn? All of them? Only some of them?

If we don’t know which bugs are bugging us, then we’re probably not using the right solution to get rid of them.

2. Don’t Overlook Smaller Breeding Grounds

We all know the most common culprit is the manure pile, but did you know that the feed room, water buckets and troughs, and even the pond in the back field can be a welcoming area to common pests, too?

Unless we’re emptying the standing water from the buckets in every stall, the troughs in every pasture, and somehow draining the pond out back, you’re not getting rid of the problem. And if we can’t get rid of the water on our properties, we do like everyone staying hydrated, after all, are we really going to scrub each of those buckets and troughs every day? (The pond already feels like a lost cause, there)

There’s an easier way to keep all these smaller breeding areas from becoming big breeding areas, and we’re going to talk about it.

3. Make the Biggest Problem More Manageable


So we agree, the most common culprit for bug breeding grounds is anywhere manure sits, right? But that’s not just the muck pile, it’s also the manure that sits in stalls, pastures, trails, and arenas. Any of these areas left un-mucked can make for an ideal environment for fly eggs and larvae to grow into full adult flies. And not only are there already ton of these spots across our properties, but every day our horses are adding more.

Short of having a team of poop-scoopers available around the clock and a manure-removal service stopping by daily, what can you do? It can feel overwhelming, all the issues buzzing around in your mind. So where are the solutions? You can address all the smaller issues in the barn and across your property, and it will help, but until you tackle the biggest (and smelliest), the pests will persist.

Here Are Three Ways You Can Fight Flies:

1. Prevent flies from developing before they can bother your horse.


Fly Stoppers™ are tiny, beneficial bugs. They stop adult pest flies from developing by feeding upon and breeding within the pupal stages of manure-breeding flies, making them an ideal choice for environmentally friendly fly control in stables. For the best fly control in your barn, release the Fly Stoppers in those breeding hot spots discussed above, such as manure piles and near standing water.

Learn more about Fly Stoppers.

2. Use sprays to protect your horse from swishing and stomping.

Fly sprays and repellents can work in a few different ways. Most commonly, they can act as insecticides, which means that they’re able to kill insects. The other big solution we know of, sprays can repel insects. This means that they’ll discourage flies from landing on your horse but won’t actually kill them.

Insecticides use permethrin, pyrethroids, and/or pyrethrins. Repelling insects often requires peppermint, geraniol, and citronella.

Check 0ut some of the best-selling fly sprays here.

3. Help feed your horse’s own personal no-fly zone.

There are two main types of insect control supplements you can add directly to your horse’s grain: EPA-approved insect growth regulators, which help reduce the population and insect defense supplements, which make your horse unappealing to biting bugs.

If you and your barn mates are ready to band together and feed all the horses on the property on an insect growth regulator. If everyone in your barn isn’t on board, pick an insect defense supplement to feed that can help give your horse his own personal no-fly zone.

Learn more about insect control supplements.

You’re not alone in the battle against the bugs. Our friends at SmartPak can help you fight the flies on every front.

Go SmartPak and go riding!