bug control

flies on horse's face

Keeping on top of the insect menace can be a challenge for horse owners. Our equine partners seem to be a magnet to all 6-legged creatures that fly, bite or sting. Spring, summer and even Autumn can become a running battle between yourself and those little pests determine to drive your horse to tail swishing, leg stomping, head shaking madness. An enjoyable afternoon spent out with your equine partner can very quickly turn into a hasty retreat for home shelter as both horse and human (sporting au de equus) attract a swamp of unwelcome admirers.

Tack Stores and Feed Merchants have shelves bulging with lotions and potions offering the promise of possible relief, but what works for one horse, doesn’t necessarily work for another and manufactures seem to be constantly altering formulas, and changing ingredients making it a nightmare to keep track of what natural and not-so-natural ingredient has been stirred into this the current season’s batch.

But while you’re trying to convince your horse that the current offering of spritz, spray, cream, gel or lotion really is worth sticky, smell, gloopy effort in the quest for relief from those little blood suckers have you ever thought there may be an easier way?

In the quest to make the most of those heavenly blue sky days and warm(ish) weather we’ve found a few less sticky natural solutions to help the forces of good do battle with those little winged devils.

 

insect collars

insect collarThe insect repellent collar is an easy effect way to provide your horse with a reliable natural treatment for ticks and flying insects for horses, ponies, donkeys and miniatures. The collars contains a blend of natural ingredients formulated to repel external parasites such as flies, horse flies, botflies, blow flies, midges, mosquitoes and ticks.

Designed to be worn constantly this soft flexible collar is placed round your horse’s neck and secured by using the enclosed safety poppers. Within a few hours of first wear the active ingredients in the collar will begin to migrate across the surface of the coat via the natural sebum of the epidermis, this creates a repellent “halo” around your horse. And unlike many sprays that just taste plain evil to horses, the ingredients in the insect repellent collar will not affect the natural social grooming behaviour of horses.

insect collarWe have used these collars for several years now and find them to be 80-90% effective, which is the same comparable effectiveness as some of the most expensive natural spray-on fly repellents. Our horses (even those with very sensitive reactive skin) wear them 24/7 from spring to fall without any sign of rubbing or irritation. They are especially useful for horses who suffer from sore eyes and ears caused by fly strike, and help to elevate the stress of head shaking both in the pasture and when ridden, allowing your horse to focus on your cues as opposed to the flies.

One of the best features of the insect repellent collar is that it won’t wash off when you’re horse is caught out in a summer shower, rolls in wet grass or gets a little sweaty after a long ride like so many of the sprays do. Effective for 3 to 4 weeks depending on the weather (the ingredients are released faster as the temperature increases) it will certainly out last a bottle of bug spray for around the same price making it a cost effective solution to keeping your horse free from pest.

Feeling a bit left out? We use the insect repellent collars as hatbands in the warmer months to keep us free of those little flying pests to!

 

redTop fly catcher

redtop fly catcherFlies love hanging out our yards and stables in summer about as much as we do. They seem to take delight in testing the patience of horse and human alike. What starts as a couple unwelcome arrivals in early spring quickly multiplies into a plague flying annoyance.

Using automatic aerosol dispenser can help elevate the problem around buildings but it’s an uneasy compromise as they essentially release insecticide into the air and indiscriminately kill any winged insect that comes in contact with spray. Which is not good news for the bees and butterflies around your barn and stables nor is it the healthiest option for your horses who to breathe in that vapour.

The RedTop fly catcher is an ideal targeted environmentally friendly solution to this issue. Making use of a natural protein based bait, this light weight fly trap and be hung anywhere around your buildings and muck heap to emit the most inviting scent to attract and trap flies and only flies

redtop fly trap grandeThis is a product we grew up using in Africa, and have come to see as an essential addition to pest control about for our horses, it is a cost effective, long lasting, animal safe solution to managing flies. Hanging the RedTops fly catcher near muckheaps attracts the flies away from their egg laying in the manure pile and helps to control the fly population by breaking the breeding cycler.

For maximum effectiveness hang your RedTop between 10 to 15 metres from the area you are trying to protect, ideally about 6ft off the ground in a warm area. Every six to eight weeks (or when full) simply take your RedTop down, pop in the bin and replace with a fresh RedTop.

Benefits of using a RedTop Fly Catcher:

  • Non-toxic, does not contain any insecticides;
  • Enery Free, the bait is activeated by sunlight and warmth;
  • Large capacity, can hold up to20,000 flies;
  • Targets female flies breaking the breeding cycle, approximately 85% of flies trapped will be female;
  • Long lasting, the bait remains active for to 2 months;
  • Simple and cost effective to use;
  • Hygienic, no washing out or changing bait required, simply bin and replace as needed.
  • Environmentally friendly, it will not attract bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects, targeting only flies

Instructions for use:

Simply added the quoted volume of water required and hang the trap in a sunny position ideally 6ft off the ground and 10 to 15 metres away from the area you wish to protect. When full, simply dispose of in the rubbish bin. (We recommend one bag to every 500 sq ft of ground)

 

waspinator

waspinatorThe Waspinator is ingenious chemical-free solution for discouraging wasps from moving in and creates the largest possible wasp-free zone by taking advantage of their natural territorial behaviour.

It essentially fools any wasp in the immediate area into believing that a large colony of wasps has already claimed your stable, field shelter, horsebox or anywhere else you hang the Waspinator as their domain.

Wasps are extremely territorial; once a colony has essentially claimed an area as their own they will actively kill any foreign wasp that happens to cross their path. For a wasp looking for a place to setup shop the Waspinator is a sign that a bigger stronger colony of wasps owns this area and it’s best to move on.

Why use the waspinator:

  • Long lasting, one waspinator will last you the whole summer (and the next if you store it inside over winter);
  • Maintenance free, simply hang in a sheltered, visible spot and you’re done. No traps to clean and no mess;
  • Ecologically friendly and non-toxic, working only on wasps (and doesn’t kill them) and leaves butterflies, bees and other positive insects completely unaffected,
  • Lightweight and easy to transport, you can take them with you to shows and horsy events to keep your horsebox or shelter a wasp free zone.

 

citronella bedding

citronella beddingWhy use toxic aerosols to combat those midgets hiding out in your field shelters and stables on summer evening. Consider options for a healthier more natural solution to midges and mosquitoes and switch to natural fibre bedding that contains citronella as an economical and environmentally friendly solution to your bedding needs in buildings and shelters for the warmer weather. This offers your horse comfortable bug-free shelter from the heat of the day and those unexpected summer showers additionally for those horses who have developed a taste for bedding the citronella helps to discouraging them from sampling what is under their feet.

 

To discourage winged pests from your stables and shelters it’s important to keep them clean and dry, removing wet bedding as often as possible and replacing soiled bedding when required. Remember the cleaner you keep your shelters the less inviting they are to those little winged monsters and the more inviting they are to your horse.