What did one Fly say to another? I’ll be back.
Many farm managers are welcoming the cooler weather even if it means chopping away ice from the water buckets and shoveling frozen stalls. Why? Because the blasted flies are gone. At least until warmer weather returns. I think Arnold Schwarzenegger got his famous line in the Terminator “I’ll be back” from a fly.
One huge reason flies love the barn life is the ever present manure pile. It’s one of their favorite places to lay eggs.
On top of being annoying, they can spread over 100 animal and human diseases. The common barn fly is tagged in the top 20 insects for being resistant to pesticides.
So, what are the alternatives? First let’s talk about better manure management.
According to the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment the elimination of the breeding ground is one way to control fly infestations.
We picked stalls every day and thoroughly stripped them once a week to break the fly’s life cycles. The manure and other fly breeding materials was spread thinly in an area as far away from the barn as possible.
Maintaining good drainage to eliminate wet manure, spilled feed, and hay will help as well. Check for and correct wet areas around the animal’s water source. Dry manure and accumulated organic matter are not good breeding grounds.
Feed buckets should be cleaned out once a week and all feed should be kept tightly covered. This will also help with rodent problems.
Manure piles in the pastures should be spread at least once a week. We used to make the kids put on mucking boots and go “poop hunting”. When they were young they thought this was a hoot. As they got older they learned how to drive the tractor with a piece of chain link fence attached to the back.
For a while we resorted to pesticides but quickly found that while they killed the adult flies they did nothing to address the breeding grounds. Now we had bad chemicals contaminating the ground and other surfaces in the barn, the animals and… a whole new generation of flies.
Another good option is fly parasites. We ordered our first batch in March and had them shipped once a month until October.
Fly Parasites are nature’s original method of fly control. These tiny beneficial insects kill the larva before it can develop into a fly. Fly Parasites have been proven highly effective in a wide range of applications such as dairies, horse stables, poultry farms, feed lots, and waste water treatment facilities, anywhere flies breed and cause irritation to animals and humans.