Horse Channel


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Is It Too Early to Think About Fly Control?

    Well, it's probably never too early for that, but if you use fly predators or are thinking of trying them, now is the time when most of the fly predator companies run specials.

     When we moved to Santa Fe from California 6 years ago we had never had the horses on our property but we had seen plenty of stables full of flies.  It was a concern.  The property we bought had the barn set up about 100 feet from the house.  We loved having the horses right there but knew flies would be an issue.  We decided to try fly predators and actually started the program 2 months before the horses arrived.

Cashel Quiet Ride Fly Mask
with ears and extended nose.
     That first summer there were plenty of flies both in the barn and in the house.  To be fair, after the dogs had run through the screen door twice, we just left the back door open when we were home.   We used fly spray, put up fly traps and the horses wore fly masks.  The second summer we wised up and started sprinkling some of the fly predators in the back yard as well as in the barn and paddocks.  We also installed a dog door. That year the fly traps caught about half as many flies.  The third year people who came to the barn started asking "Where are the flies?" and we realized there were virtually none.

     We're still vigilant about picking up the manure in the morning and evening (we spread it on a galloping track and harrow it into the dirt) and we still put up fly traps, but there are very few flies to catch.  We use fly spray when we go out on trail.  With no flies at the barn the horses seem especially bothered by them on trail.  After a few rides where Sunny threw his head around so continuously and vigorously that I was afraid he would fall off the trail I invested in a Cashel Quiet Ride fly mask that fits over the bridle and that solved the problem.

     We started with Arbico Organics and we've never had any reason to change.  They ship out of Arizona, are very pleasant to deal with and are very helpful.  You choose your area of the country and how many horses you have and they suggest a plan or you can make up your own plan.   The predators are shipped every three weeks during fly season with instructions.  We still order the 2-5 horse plan even though with Hans gone our large pony and 2 miniature horses probably only add up to one horse.  It seems better to be safe than sorry.

     This year we are starting over on a new property.  We just ordered for the summer.  Through March 31st Arbico is offering a 10% discount, 3 free boosters (an extra order of larvae for whichever dates you choose) and a $10.00 coupon for other Arbico products.  Our fly control program for this summer will cost $176.00.  We will have to buy another bottle of fly spray for the trail.  It took 2 summers to use up the last one.

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