HOW TO CONTROL FLIES
One of the major barn and pen maintenance tasks is fly control. I am sure there is a good reason that flies were created…but their annoyance to my animals & my family overshadows their benefit in this world! Therefore, with that comment, I will go into some ways to reduce their populations in your yard and in your livestock pens.
- Clean – Clean, scoop and remove all feces, manure and poop! Whatever you call it, rake it up, scoop it up and get it off the property as soon as possible. We have trash picked up weekly and have an extra trashcan dedicated to livestock manure. This has made a huge improvement in reducing fly populations. Storing a manure pile in the back corner of your yard will only provide a breeding ground.
- Diatomaceous Earth – This is a non-toxic natural powder that is spread dry by a sifter. It can be spread wet with a sprayer, but it is only effective when dry because the diatoms in the powder absorb smells and dehydrate insects & larva. When applying diatomaceous earth (or any fine dust) in large amounts, wear a facemask. It is safe and non-toxic to you and your pets. Do not over do the diatomaceous earth as it can also dry out your project’s hooves, toes or feathers. A little goes a long way!
- Fly Strips and Traps – There is a large variety of strips, traps & sprays to use around the pen. Fly strips and the bags are very effective at trapping flies and can be hung safely out of reach of your animal. Fly strips can be hung in your pen area. The fly trap bag should be placed at a distance from your pen because the fluid in the bags stinks! The stink is intended on drawing the flies away from your pen. Pick one or two and experiment to see which fly control works best for your pen. Always hang your trap safely away from your project & check on it daily.
- Fly Repellant – Fly repellant can be purchased in the horse aisle and sprayed or wiped on your animal daily. For Swine – apply fly repellant AFTER the daily skin conditioner has been applied. Fly sprays can be purchased as sprays, roll-on & wipe on ointments. So pick which method works best for your project.
- Soil Treatment – Once your project has been sold and your pen is empty, perform one final clean out of feces and wet nasty dirt. Spread an insecticide like Seven Dust to the soil and let it sit. This will soak into the soil and kill off any remaining larva. This will help deter the fly population the next show year.
Fly Life Cycle
Flies live on average 2-4 weeks & the female is ready to reproduce within 36 hours. The female fly can lay 500 eggs in a lifetime, in several batches of about 75 to 150. Within 1 day, larvae (maggots) hatch from the eggs; they live and feed on manure and other decaying organic material. Their life cycle ranges from 14 to 90 days. At the end of their life cycle, the maggots crawl to a dry, cool place and transform into pupae. The adult flies then emerge from the pupae. This is complete fly metamorphosis.
As if their fast life cycle wasn’t enough, flies are capable of carrying over 100 diseases! The flies depend on warm temperatures; generally, the warmer the temperature, the faster the flies will develop.
Time is of the Essence! Always be ready to ward off flies by cleaning, and practicing fly prevention. As you can see the timelines are short for one fly, let alone for 200 flies, “2-4 weeks, 500 eggs for 1 fly, 1 day, 14-90 days, 100 potential diseases” it does not take too long to see how a fly infestation can develop and cause a lot of irritation for your livestock.
Fly control is one of those barnyard tasks that never go away. It can be reduced each year with good cleaning habits! If neglected, you will find out quickly as the flies will multiply like a biblical plaque! The horses have it made as they can and will wear fly sheets, masks, leg boots and neck covers to keep the flies at bay! But for all our other livestock who can’t wear such great products, we’ll have to work to keep things clean and managed!
- Manure Rake
- Fly strips, Bags
- Horse Fly Spray & Bottle
- Diatomaceous Earth