5 Tips to Rid Horses of Flies and Other Pests

Protecting horses during hot weather
Protecting horses during hot weather

With the arrival of warm weather, pesky flies and other organisms detrimental to horse health and comfort make their appearance in many areas. Veterinarians warn horse owners not to wait until it is 90 degrees outside with humidity to match to think about fly control. Early prevention is key to having fewer flies and other pests around horses and barns later in the summer.

Proactive fly and pest control for horses

Proactive fly and pest control for horses

Start now with fly prevention for your horses with these five ways to keep flies under control this summer.
© 2017 by Carien Schipper

Here are 5 tips to help horse owners prevent flies and other pests making life miserable for horses:

1. Harrow pastures and break up manure piles while being sure to muck out dry lots or pens. This might also mean bringing in some new sand for areas that have been saturated with manure and urine. Stalls and sheds should also be stripped of old bedding. Old manure, dirty bedding, and feces saturated soil will attract flies and insects once the temperature increases.

2. Remove, or eliminate potential fly and mosquito havens. This means anything that holds water after a rain like empty pails, grain pans, and unused water tanks. Filling in dips in pens will also help reduce places for standing water; simply raking these spots as the water dries will also help dry the area out.

3. Feed garlic, or add apple cider vinegar to your horse’s water or grain. Feeding garlic helps deter biting insects. Cider vinegar is also believed to do the same thing when added to your horse’s drinking water or grain. It can also be added to rinse water when bathing your horse, which will act as an external repellent.

4. Use fly predators. These little insects are very helpful in reducing the number of flies on your property. The key is to use them correctly and to have your first order shipped early enough in the season. Once flies have begun to hatch out, it’s more difficult to break their reproductive cycle.

5. Have barrier/repellent products stocked and ready to use before you need them. Make sure that you have fly masks and sheets ready to go before you see your first flies. When using sheets and masks from last year check for tears and rips and either mend these spots, or replace them altogether. Have at least one-month’s supply of fly spray for both your horses and for your barn on hand.

About the Author

Flossie Sellers

As an animal lover since childhood, Flossie was delighted when Mark, the CEO and developer of EquiMed asked her to join his team of contributors.

She enrolled in My Horse University at Michigan State and completed a number of courses in everything related to horse health, nutrition, diseases and conditions, medications, hoof and dental care, barn safety, and first aid.

Staying  up-to-date on the latest developments in horse care and equine health is now a habit, and she enjoys sharing a wealth of information with horse owners everywhere..