My first encounter with fly parasites was definitely not my last.
When I first heard about fly predators I was intrigued. I didn’t know a thing about them. In fact, I had always gone the conventional route, with sprays and insecticides to combat the flies at the barn. I had tried to “go green” one year, brewing up all sorts of homemade fly traps, sprays and baggies filled with water and a shiny penny, all to no avail. In fact the flies the following year were ten times worse and though I felt better about using natural solutions my horses and other farm animals didn’t. Those darn flies hurt when they bite!
I will admit I had my doubts about releasing fly parasites into the barn. I had visions of huge black wasps dive bombing me and all the lesson kids. Then what would we do? Get something bigger to take down the fly parasites?
My husband, who is the data oriented one in the family, talked to Brad Ross the owner of March Biological. Brad assured us that fly parasites are actually very small winged insects that eat fly larvae, stopping new flies from hatching, and wouldn’t bother humans or horses. So, we told him we were on board. A few weeks later a bag of wood shavings mixed with tiny brown larvae arrived in our mailbox.
Following the instructions, we waited until the larvae hatched – it was pretty cool to see them crawling around the inside of the bag – before we started sprinkling them around the barn. We put them in the back of the stalls and around the clean shavings and manure pile. Just in case we missed some of the larvae hatching. We would leave a few shavings in the bag and hang it in the shavings room.
We waited. We were told the fly parasites don’t kill adult flies so we kept the fly strips up, changing them out when they got to gross.
Within a few weeks there definitely weren’t anywhere the number of flies as there had been. Even the moms mentioned the lack of flies. My farrier asked me what I was doing for fly control. Other barns he serviced were having a really bad year for flies. How come I wasn’t?
Yay, fly parasites really do the job.
Now is the time to get your order in for next spring. You will receive a shipment every month for $19.95. I don’t know about you, but we were spending twice that much every month just on fly spray for the horses.