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Horses and Bugs Question

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Anianna, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. Anianna

    Anianna Songster

    Feb 28, 2010
    N/E of Richmond, VA
    My daughter takes riding lessons with a lady who has a bunch of horses. She is having a bad bug problem this year. She had been keeping chickens and guineas to take care of much of the problem, but there is a pair of foxes near her property she hasn't been able to get rid of that are making it impossible to keep poultry. She has a lot of mosquitoes and biting flies. The biting flies are so bad that the horses' faces get bloody from it. What do you horse keepers do to deal with mosquitoes and biting flies?
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011

  2. danischi24

    danischi24 Loves naked pets

    Aug 17, 2008
    Fly masks & fly sheets. Fly spray several times a day on horses (efficacy is max 6 hours) as well as spraying for flies & mosquitoes on surfaces & where they breed. Fly traps & blue light shock traps.
  3. arabianequine

    arabianequine Crowing

    Apr 4, 2010
    I use a concentrated permethrin and I dilute 1/8 tsp or a tad less to 32 ounces of water in a spray bottle. This stuff is wicked strong. I hope they are up to date on west nile vaccine also. It can kill horses and it has here in Washington. I had a neighbor lose a shire last year to west nile virus.
  4. arabianequine

    arabianequine Crowing

    Apr 4, 2010
    For the face I have a roll on stick....you can also put on gloves spray on your hand and act like you are petting them on the face. Of course be careful not to get in eyes, ears (I do actually rub on the outside of ears and out side hairs on the inside of ears just don't get excess in their ears), nose, and mouth.
  5. TMNTCkins

    TMNTCkins Songster

    We use fly mask & fly sheet's on our horses. We also us fly lotion on the faces, it stays on longer than the fly spray. I spray my barn, house, chicken coop and any solid surface with permethrin spray and it works great. The fly traps work good to. The flys are really bad this year so far.
  6. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Songster

    Jul 26, 2010
    We use all of the following at the same time, especially this year, which is bad due to all the rain:

    Mud control. Don't feed any hay unless it's under a waterproof feeder cover, dig out and rock and limestone all gates and muddy areas. Stall thresholds to prevent bedding from getting kicked outside and getting wet and mixed with urine and manure.

    Manure control. All manure cleaned up and stored in covered bins away from the barn. Manure removed from stalls 4 times a day, manure removed from paddocks twice a day. Manure broken up and scattered in pastures or large piles are removed.

    Runoff control. Remove all sources of manure runoff. Manure bins have covers and concrete bases so they don't have runoff. Clean all paddocks before rains.

    Use of SHADE. Many flies cannot find horses in shade.

    Wound treatment. Wounds are covered with bandage or salve that repels flies.

    Elimination of all standing water. Fill in ruts and holes with rock and dirt and seed them with pasture grass seed.

    Removal of any junk or equipment so water doesn't accumulate on them. Store equipment under cover or in the garage.

    Cleaning water and feed buckets daily. - We stopped feeding sugary feed and molasses in the summer as it attracts tons of flies.

    Cutting down all brush and long grass. This helps immensely.

    Fly sheets

    Fly masks that cover ears and eyes for while turned out

    Fly masks that cover ears for while riding

    Fly predators - little flies that eat the larvae of certain types of flies and mosquitoes

    Fly repellant spray - a permethrin based one and a citronella based one

    Fly killer spray (the predators aren't around the horses so it doesn't harm them)

    Fly traps - different ones for different kinds of flies.

    Screens over barn windows and screen doors for people doors, and screen strips over doorways the horses go in and out of.

    Chickens to eat the flies
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011
  7. piecemaker

    piecemaker Songster

    Feb 12, 2008
    Centerville Texas
    we use a supplment that you feed and it keeps the fly eggs from hatching in the poop


  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Note that you need different control strategies for different kinds of "bugs". Mosquitoes, stableflies, horseflies, greenheads, gnats.... each has its own DIFFERENT place it breeds and DIFFERENT rules of engagement regarding time of day, shade/sun, repellants, part of horse afffected, etcetera.

    So other than putting flymasks and turnout-type fly sheets on, beyond that you need to look at what KIND of flies the problem are, before you can intelligently figure out what to do about them.

    BTW to the above posters' lists of "all the things that you can do that sometimes help with some fly situations" I would add providing a fan or a windy place to stand, and in some cases (NOT for mosquitoes, which appear to be part of hte o.p's problem) turning out at night instead of daytime)

    Unfortunately the only things I know of that really help for mosquitos, and even that is far from satisfactory results if you have a bad skeeter problem, is a) apply waterbased citronella-type repellant (e.g. Bronco) heavily at dusk every day, b) have horses wear all available fly masks/sheets/wraps, c) stall them at night in a barn that is either FULLY mosquito-screened or have a safely-rigged fan blowing in each horse's stall. People always say "drain all standing water" but honestly I have yet to EVER see a place with serious mosquito problems where most of the skeeters were bred *on* the property... mostly they are from elsewhere, if you gots a lot of 'em.

  9. Anianna

    Anianna Songster

    Feb 28, 2010
    N/E of Richmond, VA
    Thank you everybody. I'll see what I can do to help the instructor.

    The area doesn't have much of a mosquito problem that I have seen, but her property always seems to have them. She says it's because there is always water out for the horses, so I worry how she is watering them. She always has 4H girls and families out there helping her feed and groom the horses, but I haven't seen anything done about waterers, though that doesn't mean nothing is being done. I have only limited observation of the situation. I would think a simple fishtank aerator would be enough to keep skeeters from breeding in a water trough if she can't change the water out several times a day. She also has a large dip in her driveway that collects water that needs to be addressed.

    The flies seem to be a problem everywhere. We don't have horses at our place, but we have the flies here this year. We have the big horseflies and the little V winged nippers, which I have never seen in this area before. At the instructor's place, the horses are really getting bothered something fierce, so I'd really like to help out and I appreciate the ideas.
  10. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Quote:LOL, we would have to dig up the whole yard in that case! The mud has been sooo terrible this year with all the rain we've had. Poor plannning on the original barn's owner has been heck for us, as this guy built our barn at the BOTTOM of a hill! Thank goodness we have an upper field where the horses can graze and get out of them mud.

    As for flies and mosquitoes, fly masks and fly sheets are the way to go. We bought fly masks with ear covers which work great to keep flies out of ears. Ours horses will actually come running over when we have the masks and stick their faces right in. Fly spray is good, but not all brands work well. Also, it can be a pain to constantly catch the horses to spray them. Sometimes we'll just walk into the field and spray everybody without tying them, but that can be a pain too in the larger fields. Shade is very helpful and cooler areas seem to keep the flies away.

    Mosquitoes can be a bit more tricky if you live near a swampy area like we do. Try to minimize stagnant water. Changing trough water on a regular basis cuts down on mosquito larva which reach adulthood. However, the farm behind us is mostly swamp which the owner runs cows on, so there is not much we can do about his land! Fly strips work well, but if you have a lot of flies you'll have to change them often.

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