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Tip of the Week


Oh No! Fly season is hereOh No! Fly season is here

Spray, pump, wipe…repeat! Each year horses suffer at the onslaught of a winged, biting, egg laying and disease carrying army of insects. We walk into battle with our artillery of chemical, natural or organic wipes and sprays. We even feed fresh or dried garlic. The question is do these work? What other choices do we have?

Thriving upon research, the arena of pest control provided an opportunity to experiment with several application products. Unsuccessfully, I even tried to make my own. The two topical application type products that really worked no longer were available. Unfortunately both lost the battle and had gone out of business. Do I have different flies than everyone else? When it comes to topical applications I look for products that are organic and there are many out there. The only way to find out if they work, try them.

What about garlic? Yes, I believe it helps with insect control; plus a healthy dietary supportive product to boot. What about Diatomaceous Earth? Yes, I’ve read studies and have tried using it myself. As a feed through it provides some fly control. To apply topically dries the skin and to coat the stall floor dries out the hoof so those are not good options. It has helped though when spread down the aisle of barns or in certain areas of the barn yard. What’s thrilling is Diatomaceous Earth is an inexpensive weapon for insect control. Make sure you purchase food grade and take the necessary precautions for eye and inhalation protection during application.

What else can we add to our armory? It may come as a surprise to you but the new front line is another winged insect. They are called “Fly Eliminators” and the company’s concept is to reduce the use of chemical pesticides. “Fly Eliminators” are gnat-sized parasitic wasps that feed upon and breed within developing (pupal) stages of manure breeding flies, eliminating the adult pest fly. They work! Experimentally, I did not implement “Fly Eliminators” one season; my horses have yet to forgive me.

This tip was brought to you by Kendra Helfter and KAM Animal Services, home of KAM’s “Equine Learning Circle” FREE webinars, which take place monthly. These webinars are an expansion of KAM’s weekly tips. Go to www.kamanimalservices.com  to sign up for the next webinar. The FREE webinars will conclude with a question and answer session, so be ready with your nutrition questions.