How to Protect Your Horse against Deadly Horse Flies

girl on horse How to Protect Your Horse against Deadly Horse Flies

Horses are beautiful, majestic animals that are fun to ride, a pride to show, and a joy to own. However, highly persistent and invasive pests such as horse flies can make life very uncomfortable for your horse. In addition, these pests bring diseases that can become a deadly menace.

What are Horse Flies? Typically, cespecially the female. They are extremely persistent when it comes to feeding. Measuring anywhere from 10 – 30 mm in length, a horse fly can be a deadly problem to livestock. They are known to consume large amounts of blood, and transmit viruses, bacteria or other microorganisms.

How Do Horse Flies Affect Horses? In an attempt to avoid being bitten, horses will become irritable and distracted. In addition, horse flies are the main carriers of “Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA), sometimes referred to as swamp fever, is common in the southeastern US and is mechanically (on the body of the fly) transmitted to horses and other equids.  It is a viral disease that causes lethargy, weight loss, and sometimes death in an affected animal.  There are two strains of the virus; one is more intense than the other.  An acutely infected horse almost always dies quickly.  A chronically infected horse will eventually die of complications or unapparent carriers may live without obvious health problems,” according to an article posted on the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension website.*

How to Control Horse Flies — keeping flies away from horses is not an easy task. One step in horse fly control is to make sure the horse’s living quarters are kept tidy and clean. Another line of defense is the use of safe fly repellants on or around the horse. The following control methods have been proven effective in reducing the infestation of horse flies and other pests.

  • Horse Fly Control Concentrates — keep your horses relaxed and protected from flies with a horse fly control available as a pour on solution or a spray. Spray your horse and stable to protect against the annoyance of flies. Horse Fly control concentrates help control insects that spread West Nile Virus, Lyme disease, equine encephalitis, and other diseases.
  • Horse Fly Control Daily Feed — adding horse fly control daily feed to your horse’s feed is a very effective way to help control horses flies. These daily feed additives will prevent the development of stable and house flies in manure. Equitrol, a horse fly control daily feed, has proven to be very effective.
  • Horse Fly Masks — these masks can be very helpful in various situations. Horse fly masks protect your horse’s eyes and ears from flies, dirt, debris, and the sun. They can also work to guard your horse’s eyes against irritation, for example, by protecting their eyes during trailering. These masks can also help speed the healing of eye injuries.
  • Horse Fly Spot-on and Lotions — the bite from flies can cause a great deal of pain and irritation. One way to help alleviate a fly problem is through fly repellents such as spot on treatments. Applied directly on the horse, spot on treatments and lotions provide a shield of protection against flies. These treatments kill and repel houseflies, stable flies, face flies, deer flies, black flies, horn flies, eye gnats, and ticks on horses. Equi-Spot and Freedom Spot-On are two great options for Horse Fly Spot-On control.
  • Horse Fly Sprays and Wipes — horse fly sprays and wipes are very effective in killing horse flies, house flies, stable flies, deer flies, gnats, and mosquitoes. In addition to removing pests, sprays and wipes have beneficial effects on your horse’s coats as well.
  • Long-Acting Insecticides — are easy to apply, provide long-lasting repellent power, and rapidly kill a wide variety of pests including: horse flies, stable flies, face flies, horn flies, deer flies, house flies, black flies, cluster flies, sciarid flies, gnats, midges, punkies, no-see-ums, deer ticks, lone star ticks, chiggers, American dog ticks, brown dog ticks, Gulf Coast ticks, fleas and lice.

*Horse Fly/Deer Fly.   Accessed on June 13, 2016.

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