Home remedies for flies and fly bites? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 11 Old 04-25-2013, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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Home remedies for flies and fly bites?

Anybody know of effective home treatments for those pesky pests? I have a gray horse that heads straight for the muddiest part of her domain whenever she gets a visit from a handful of flies. She's a bit allergic, and gets puffy, small bumps where they bites her. Also sensitive, and tends to be downright cranky and excited after dealing with a swarm for the day by stomping and kicking. One full day of stomping and kicking kills her hock arthritis and gives back soreness, too :(
I tried four brands of fly spray, and it's not too effective, especially when she rolls. She has a combo fly sheet, that she ripped three times by rolling, rubbing, and biting at the sheet when some flies snuck into the sheet in some places. We live in high humidity and heat, so wrapping her up isn't ideal. I had fly wraps for her legs... that she evidently rubbed and stomped on in such a way that they only lasted about eight months before beginning to give her sores from where the material was busted.
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post #2 of 11 Old 04-25-2013, 02:23 PM
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Apple cider vinegar rinse. 1-2 cups of ACV in a 2gal bucket, then fill the rest of the way with water. Once a week (after a full bath is best), pour the mixture over the horse from head to tail, sponging it on the hard-to-reach areas and refilling the bucket with the mixture as needed.

My old gelding was allergic to flies and this was the only thing that worked for him.
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post #3 of 11 Old 04-25-2013, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DraftyAiresMum View Post
Apple cider vinegar rinse. 1-2 cups of ACV in a 2gal bucket, then fill the rest of the way with water. Once a week (after a full bath is best), pour the mixture over the horse from head to tail, sponging it on the hard-to-reach areas and refilling the bucket with the mixture as needed.

My old gelding was allergic to flies and this was the only thing that worked for him.
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I'll have ro try that for Jack. I'm not sure if it's the flies he reacting to, but this seems like a great tjing to try. Thanks, Drafty
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post #4 of 11 Old 04-25-2013, 03:08 PM
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Do you keep the poop maintained in the pasture and stalls? It seems like a never ending job with 5 horses and we just added two rescues to the mix of pick. I have one location we keep it all piled up and then every couple of days I sprinkle a layer of lime over it. Has helped keep them to a minimum while hanging fly strips and bags up around the barn. I have been occupied with other things the last week and my smaller pasture where the rescues are now is filling up fast. I may hook the drag(section of chain link fence with square tubing tied to it for weight) behind the mower and pull it all down into the ground this go around.

I've found the ACV/water mix is a short lived comfort for the horses as It takes about an hour before the flies start showing back up on their pasterns. Albeit it is great for their coats. SWAT works pretty good, but waste maintenance is probably the No.1 preventive of major fly population.

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post #5 of 11 Old 04-25-2013, 03:11 PM
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I'll have ro try that for Jack. I'm not sure if it's the flies he reacting to, but this seems like a great tjing to try. Thanks, Drafty
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I never had to fly spray my gelding or my friend's gelding who is severely allergic to flies when I've used the ACV mixture.
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post #6 of 11 Old 04-25-2013, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by DraftyAiresMum View Post
I never had to fly spray my gelding or my friend's gelding who is severely allergic to flies when I've used the ACV mixture.
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Do you keep the manure picked up or do the piles stay were they fall? Just curious of how it attracts flies in your area up there. Are the flies present and just don't bother landing and biting on the horses?

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post #7 of 11 Old 04-26-2013, 09:12 PM Thread Starter
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I keep my horse's manure taken care of, and feed her FlyStop to prevent flies from reproducing in her manure, but the real culprit are the family poultry flocks! We need to build them their own pen, right now they have been holing up in a stall down the end of the barn and using a paddock, but the feces is ungodly and everything is wet in there. Turkeys and chickens are clumsy idiots. They seem to enjoy mixing their water and feed together with feces... Lucky me, I'm allergic to their poo and feathers. Gotta get them OUT, because they fill the breezeway with poop and I've even found eggs and poo in my hayroom. The hens used to jump up on my horse's back and settle there, I had to keep her in the stall farthest away from them to avoid that (chicken poo and broken eggs on a horse is hell). Maybe if I rub fried chicken and barbeque sauce on my horse, that oughta keep the chickens away, haha!

The flies are worst out at pasture near the pig and chickens, and near the neighbor horses. The horseflies by my mare's buddies are HUGE, and I'm wary about the flies carrying any illnesses over to my girl if any horse over there happens to fall ill. I let her out full-time pasture this time of year with a body clip due to the heat and humidity. I put her into the stall to keep her clean for some event, for magnet blanket use, or to keep her out of the rain. She's never really pooped much but she pisses like the racehorse she was bred to be =_= she gets urine all over herself and that's what attracts the flies the most...
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post #8 of 11 Old 04-26-2013, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Roadyy View Post
Do you keep the manure picked up or do the piles stay were they fall? Just curious of how it attracts flies in your area up there. Are the flies present and just don't bother landing and biting on the horses?
Stalls were cleaned once a day (in the evening) and we had fly traps hanging around the barn. There were a few stalls on self care that only got cleaned twice a week, but the majority were cleaned every day except Sunday (the one day I wasn't there). The turnouts were cleaned once a week. I know the flies were landing and biting because I got bitten quite a few times.
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post #9 of 11 Old 04-26-2013, 10:29 PM
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You've said nothing about a shelter. Rolling in mud give her some protection from the flies. She needs to be inside during the day when the flies are bad, in a dark shelter and out at night.
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post #10 of 11 Old 04-27-2013, 08:56 AM
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Cakemom had a great way of keeping them off the horses by using diatomaceous earth. It is like a powdered form of micro broken glass that gets into the crevices of exoskeleton bugs and cuts them to death.After seeing her post about it I did a lot of research and it turns out to be very good stuff. Just make sure to get the food grade form and NOT the pool grade and keep it dry as it ruins it once damp. I am picking up some today and figure to put it in a sock and bump powder the horses with it as well as sprinkle it on the poop pile, ant beds and around the outside of the house to help keep any bugs out/away.
I'll report back my results. Our local feed store has it in stock.


Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

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