I know, I know. It’s the middle of February. Isn’t it a little bit early to start getting ready for fly season? A few years ago, I would have been thinking the same way. However, if there is anything I have learned from the last 2 years is that if you want to get prepared, you need to plan ahead. I found this out the hard way last year when I didn’t buy enough of my stall fly spray. I ran out half way through fly season.
So this year I am getting a head start on the things I know I will need in order to make fly season bearable. And I thought it might be helpful for you as well – which is why I decided to write this blog post for you!
Getting Ready For Fly Season
Yes, it is February. And no, the flies are not here, yet. But they will be. They always are right? So starting planning early can really help to decrease the fly population before it starts building.
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I wish I could knock out all of the flies, wouldn’t that be awesome? But while completely fly free may not be realistic. There are a few things I am getting ready to start now in order to keep the flies away as much as I can this summer. And this is the best time of year to put together a plan for the summer. So, lets get to the plan!
Feed Through Fly Control Supplement
This has been the absolute best first thing that I have done to keep the flies under control. Using a feed through larvacide is safe and really helps to decrease the flies. It works by moving through the horse’s digestive system and is activated once it passes through the horse. And when the flies come to lay their eggs in the manure, well this is when the larvacide gets to work. The larvacide works by making it so the exoskeleton of the fly can’t form, and the fly dies.
And while I don’t keep my horses on a larvacide year round, I have found that by starting this supplement by the first of March gets my fly reduction program in motion.
Getting Ready For Fly Season
I have used Simplifly by Farnam for years. And it works great! It isn’t that expensive when you think about all the good it does. To me, the cost is worth it. And Amazon has the best price that I have found. You can buy the 20lb. container for $107. And yes, that is a lot of money to ‘see’ if the product works. And you can buy the smaller 3.75 lb. container for $27.47 on Amazon too, you know to check it out and see how it works. But for me, I know it works. And by buying the 20 lb. container, I have enough for about 5 1/2 months. Which saves me about $25.00. It is definitely worth the investment. By using Simplifly along with the other things I do, I have seen the biggest change. And this has been multiplied by starting early. So beginning March 1, Simplifly gets added to my horses feed to help keep the fly population low all spring, and summer long.
Commercial Fly Spray
I also like to buy fly spray now, again in anticipation for the summer. And yes, I do make my own fly spray, but I also buy readymade fly spray too. Last year I stocked up on fly spray when I had the chance, and I was glad I did. More than once I went to the feed store to get fly spray, and they didn’t have any. So while I don’t stock pile fly spray, I do anticipate what I’m going to need, and try to buy it early.
I have had good results with Absorbine Ultrashield Fly Spray. And buying it by the gallon is the most cost effective way to buy it. True, it can be a little messier to fill spray bottles. But with the help of a funnel, that I keep hanging on the tack room wall, and planning ahead by refilling multiple bottles, it is worth it.
I always say I’m going to keep track of how many smaller bottles I am able to fill with a gallon and then I always forget. But when you buy fly spray by the gallon, it is much more cost effective to spend $73.00 on a gallon rather than $30.00 for the 32 ounce size.
Getting Ready For Fly Season
However I have bought the 32 ounce size of all kinds of sprays in the past, and then I hang on to them. Because I will always have uses for spray bottles in the barn! I also save the gallon containers too, because I can fill these with my homemade fly spray concoctions. See, planning ahead and recycling at it’s finest!
Homemade Fly Spray
And to go along with the premade fly spray, I also like to have the raw materials to make my own spray. Even though the homemade fly spray doesn’t last as long as the premade stuff, I have found that by switching up the types of sprays helps to keep the flies away better.
And it’s fun to play mad scientist and mix up a batch of fly spray. Well, I think it’s fun!
If you want to be able to make your own fly spray, these are the ingredients you should have:
- Distilled Water
- Vegetable Glycerin
- Fractionated Coconut Oil
- Avon Skin So Soft ( I only buy this from Avon)
- White Vinegar
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Dr. Bronners Pure-Castile Liquid Soap
- Essential Oils: Lemongrass, Peppermint, Citronella, and Lavender are my favorites
Just so you know, all of the products I am linking too are ones I have actually bought, and used. And they last! So you aren’t going to be buying these ingredients every month or so. Oh no, think about buying them every 2 years. That is how long they last! But not only the ingredients, you will also need a heavy duty sprayer to deliver the spray. So far, I have had the best results with this 360 degree heavy duty spray head. Made by the Mop Mob. These sprayers are leak free and chemical resistant.
And it comes as a 3 pack, which is very handy to have. The sprayer fits onto the 32 ounce spray bottles I already have, so they are perfect! And if you are mixing essential oils, keep in mind they are the most potent when they are stored in a dark container. Which is why re-using fly spray bottles is so effective, and affordable too.
Barn Fly Control
All right, we have covered most aspects of my fly fighting routine. But there is one more area to think about. And that is inside the barn.
Now I wish this is how my stalls looked right now. And well, every day for that matter. But right now, they are pretty messy. So I figured I would give you a pretty picture to look at. And one thing I have added to my barn is automatic sprayers that deliver a sploosh of metered fly spray every 15 minutes beginning in early March, and running into the fall.
This is the one I have on one side of the barn. And then when I added a second spray mister, and I couldn’t find the Country Vet version, I tried it with a Glade Aerosol mister. Even though it isn’t intended for this – it works great! And it’s a lot cheaper too. The Country Vet mister will run about $44.00 just for the mister. The Glade one was $12.00. You can hang it up, and it works exactly the same as the other one. You can plug in the batteries, hang it up, and it works!
Getting Ready For Fly Season
Now the refills are pretty expensive right now. The most affordable one I can find on Amazon is around $25.00. Which is SO sad. I remember when I could buy these for $5.00 each! But last year, everywhere was sold out. So now I check out my local feed stores and buy one or two every time I get feed. This is definitely something I do not want to run out of again because they work that good.
One can of the metered fly spray will last about 30 days, and I need 2 for my ity-bity 2 stall barn. But they work fantastic when paired with my daily stall cleaning and everything else I do to manage the flies.
Ready, Set, GOOOOOO!!!!
Alright, there you have it! This is how I am getting geared up to get rid of flies at my barn now, and keeping them away all summer long. This has been the best way that I have found to jumpstart my spring and summer and keep the fly population low. Which gives me more enjoyable moments with my horses, all summer long.
I really hope you give some of these tips a try, I think you will be so excited to see how many LESS flies are around your horses! Happy planning!