When Bugs Fly

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I am a little lazy and a whole lot frugal, so when it comes to fly control, fly parasites are perfect for me. Using these tiny bugs drastically drops our consumption of fly spray. All I have to do is dump the packet in a pile of horse manure and bye-bye flies. (We've had good luck in field trials with traps, too, but I don't want to do the set-up and maintenance.)

Before we incorporated fly parasites, we went through so much fly spray in a season that we started with the least expensive stuff and then moved into the pricier ones when the cheap ones stopped working.

Now, please don't tell me all fly sprays work the same or that they don't work at all. Those beliefs persist because we think that if we spray our horses, we shouldn't see flies around.? that's unrealistic.

First, most products (especially natural ones) are repellents. That means that the ingredients are offensive to flies. Flies may still land, but they?ll leave before biting. Plus, if the product also includes an insecticide (more expensive ones usually do), the fly must land to pick up the poison. The other perk you get from most pricier formulations is a good residual buildup, meaning as the season progresses it seems to last longer and you can spray less and still get a good effect.

When choosing a fly spray, remember that not every one works the same way in every climate/geographical region. You may even need to change spray brands halfway through the season.? One manufacturer told me that flies can build up a resistance to certain ingredients, meaning you must change products every now and then. (I also asked why a company would carry so many different brands. Marketing, I was told.)

Our favorite fly spray is Mosquito Halt. If I bring anything else in the barn, I hear about it! Follow that with UltraShield EX, Repel Xp, and Pyranha. THere's one more, but it comes with a caveat. it's Original Wipe, the one you can't spray. it's the most effective product We've ever used, but it's so messy we only reach for it when all else fails.

We've never had good luck with the ?spot? products for pastured horses, but we do like Fly Armor, a tag you hang in your horse's mane (or as a bridle part). The hotter it gets, the better it is, we found. Not so great in cool temperatures.

We also use fly masks, of course. We love the long Cashel Crusader, but the most durable We've found is Farnam?s Super Mask (we have one that's on its third season!). All this so we can look out the window and not see our horses stomping feet and shaking? heads.

?Cynthia Foley, Editor-in-Chief