From the horse’s mouth about those darn, annoying, biting barn flies.
Can I tell you a secret? Mr. Ed, the talking horse, was real. All horses can talk if you would only listen. How do I know that?
My name is Hunter. I’m a 34 year old off-the-track Thoroughbred. In other words, I’ve been around the barn a time or two. Today I want to talk to you about barn flies and the different pest controls I’ve seen along the way.
First, the flies. They hurt when they bite! Their bites pierce our skin and feed on our blood. They lay secretions around our eyes, mouths, noses and other sensitive areas that cause major discomfort. Not to mention the diseases they carry. One of my good friends, Preacher, was extremely allergic to fly bites and by the end of the summer he would have bald patches and yellow crusties all over him.
I, on the other hand, am allergic to oil based fly sprays. I looked like a massage ball all bloated and covered with bumps after a good dousing.
Not that fly spray is the answer. Have you ever covered yourself with insect repellent? I mean really covered yourself? It is sticky, smelly and uncomfortable on our coats.
Most fly sprays are made from Pyrethroids, which are a neurotoxin. A few of the synthetic pyrethroids, including resmethrin, were flagged by the EPA as having possible “developmental and reproductive toxicities.”
Plus, a lot of the other ingredients will attract the flies as much as they repel.
Then there were those ridiculous sheets and fly masks. The only thing the fly sheets are good for are getting tangled around our legs and bellies The fly masks did keep the flies out of my eyes but if they didn’t fit just right I ended up with sores under my chin from the Velcro straps. And when I rolled in the mud the mask would become caked with it and I would be running half blind. The cows, in the next pasture, would fall down laughing.
One barn used an automatic fly system. It was like having acid rain fall on you every 20 minutes. I lost a good friend to skin cancer from that barn. I still blame the fly system.
The best barn I was boarded at was a barn in GA. They used fly parasites.
The fly parasites were totally cool. They lay their eggs in the fly larva and when the parasites hatched they fed on the baby fly. The fly parasites didn’t bite or sting. They just did their thing and kept the barn flies from getting out of control. It was way better than anything else I had ever seen.