These days we are rightly concerned about using too many chemicals, especially when controlling insects around our pets. There are ways you can limit the use of toxic substances and instead, turn environment friendly methods. Here are some ideas.
Flies, mosquitoes and other insects are drawn to piles of manure and stagnant water. Clean manure from stalls and outside areas as often as possible. Choose one area to compost manure and cover with a tarp to avoid it getting wet. Composting produces heat which kills fly larvae and in turn, reduces the number of flies.
Make sure that faucets don’t leak and downspouts and gutters are clear so that water can run off. Get rid of any unused objects such as pails, buckets, trash, etc. that can collect water and become a breeding place for flies and mosquitoes.
Insects are more active during sunrise and sunset. Keep your horse inside or in an outdoor shelter during these hours.
Install fans in the barn to help chase away flying insects. Fans provide air circulation and ventilation as well.
If possible, graze your horse on higher, dry pastures. Use lower pastures later in the summer when they are dry.
Use a layer of sand or finely ground gravel in the horse’s confined areas to reduce mud.
There are fly masks, fly sheet blankets and fly boots available to protect horses that are sensitive to insect bites. They also provide protection from the sun.
There are good bugs for sale such as fly parasites that will control the fly population. Check when and how often to release them, generally begin early in the season.
Install bird feeders in and around the barn to encourage insect eating birds to come to the area.
Place sticky fly paper or tubes strategically inside the barn to catch flying insects. Don’t put them too close to the horse where there hair can get caught.
You can purchase insect bait jars or make one of your own. Simply fill a jar 1/4 full with water and put a bit of raw meat inside. Place the jar far from the horses and where it won’t be disturbed. The odor will attract flies that will eventually drown.
If infestation is too great and you must use insecticides or insect repellents, read ingredients and follow instructions carefully. Try the least toxic product first.
Following “green” suggestions to control insects should help to limit the use of chemicals.