Stable yards and surrounding fields provide the perfect environment for flies to flourish, due to the abundance of food and shelter they offer. So it’s worth taking preventative measures to control flies, as they can be a common summer problem in stables.
There are approximately 7,000 fly species in the UK. Below are three common fly species typically found in the stable environment. However, if you keep horses near cattle, then the Horn Fly may also become an issue.
Stable Fly – This closely resembles the House Fly in size, but the key difference is that these flies can bite. They will typically target a horse’s lower legs, which can cause them to stamp their hooves in irritation. They lay their eggs in fermenting grass, decaying hay or wet straw cuttings where there is horse or livestock waste.
Horse Fly – These are major carriers of microorganisms that can cause diseases, and have a painful bite. They are sometimes known as clags or gladflies. They will typically bite the stomach or neck of a horse, and consume a comparatively large amount of blood in one feed. They lay their eggs in open water, including lakes, ponds and troughs. They don’t just bite animals, horse flies are also known to bite people, often causing painful blisters and occasionally allergic reactions.
House Fly – These are usually seen as an issue indoors, House Flies can also cause an annoyance outside. They will lay their eggs in manure and feed from the discharge from a horse’s eyes or any wounds they may have.
Horse owners can attempt to limit fly activity in their stable by taking the following actions:
- Restrict larval feeding
Good stable hygiene will help prevent infestations from developing. Remove horse manure daily as well as soiled bedding, straw and sawdust shavings which provide a perfect breeding ground for Stable and House Flies. If possible leaving the stable to air and dry completely will also help restrict larval feeding.
- Direct population reduction
Once an infestation exists, populations can be reduced by using sticky fly papers. These are fly-killing/trapping devices made of paper coated with a sweetly fragrant, but extremely sticky and sometimes poisonous substance that traps flies and other flying insects when they land upon it. The Rentokil Fly Box targets the flies external breeding sites. The unit requires no electricity to work, so is highly flexible in where it can be deployed to offer the most effective results.When house flies are also present in stables, they can be controlled by using fly bags containing food attractants to trap the adults.
- Chemical control
For stables with a large numbers of flies, chemical controls may be required. These can be applied as larvicides into manure heaps, or sprayed and painted directly onto surfaces where adult flies regularly congregate. Care should be taken with all biocide applications to ensure the wellbeing of the horses and people working in the stables.
These three measures should help to prevent flies from becoming a nuisance to your horse this summer. If you do require chemical treatment to control flies then it’s best to contact a pest controller, who will be able to advise on the best solutions and ensure your animal’s health and safety.