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Liberty Valance 08-01-2009 03:51 PM

Feed Through Fly Control
I'm considering feed-through pest controls.

At the moment I only have 2 horses, but we're going to purchase another one shortly. I've never used feed-throughs before, but I'm about fed up with the topical treatments. The water-based stuff is about worthless and the pyrethrin/citronella stuff, even though they work and last for several days, makes my horses all flaky (like dandruff) and gross. They feel greasy, too. Right now the horses are looking better than they ever have. They're all shiny and their muscles are all ripply. Everyone comments on how good they look. I have police horses (we all own our own horses), so they're out in public all the time, and of course everybody wants to pet them and love on them. The chemical fly sprays that work are greasy, attract dirt, and what's worse, it leaves a residue on people's hands, especially the kids (and then the kids don't wash and put their fingers near their mouths, etc). It can also get people's clothes dirty. It's kinda embarassing sometimes when it's really hot and you have to lay on the spray...people expect the police horses to be clean and tidy...and they are! But they don't seem like it cuz of all that nasty fly spray goo that gets all over. I have used every fly spray out there: Bug Block, Wipe, Wipe II, Bronco, Tri-Tec 14, Flys Off, Pyrahna, Ultra Shield, Green Shield (whatever that Absorbine green is), Super Shield Red (liked that one the best but they don't make it anymore in the gallon!), generic, the black and yellow bottle, the orange bottle, and about a million others.

I've tried the spot ons...they seem to only work in an area around and downward from where it's applied. They don't get the whole horse. (My horses also have lots of white and you can actually see the spot stuff when it runs down the white...sometimes it stains a little, too)

I would like to maybe try feed-through pest control, and I have some questions. I would like to hear your opinions about products you've used, used but don't anymore, etc. also.

The biggest thing is if I'm going to do it, I need something that's going to keep their coats looking sharp and soft but I also need something that isn't going to break the has to be economical to use on 3 horses.
  • Are the feed-throughs that kill the larvae in the manure the same feed-throughs that raise the body acidity or cause them to secrete oils to repel bugs from their bodies or are they two different types?
  • Do you have to feed them in the winter, too, (I live in NE Oho...VERY cold) or can you stop in winter and start up again in spring?
  • Is a feed-through even going to help this situation or will I still have to use a topical?
Oh, and I thought I'd ask while I'm at it...has anyone ever used any of the home remedy fly sprays with any success? (and without ending up with a stinky horse? lol)

Any information y'all have would be great! Thanks. :-)

MyBoyPuck 08-01-2009 04:31 PM

I think there's a difference between the ones that kill manure larvae and the ones that make them smell. The former uses diatomacious earth. It's what I'm currently giving my TB. I'm using Bug Check. It's a powder and has to be wet a little so it doesn't blow away. It doesn't make his smell at all which is why I think there are two separate classes of feed throughs.

As for effectiveness, it sort of works. I do see two differences this year. Last year at this time, my horse had flies constantly bothering his legs. He'd stand there and stomp all day. This year nothing and it a really bad fly year since we've had a ton of rain and now wicked heat. The other thing I've noticed is, the big really nasty bugs, the bombers and the green horse flies, will land on him, but not bite. Last year I was finding blood on him daily from where both types were biting him. The still land, but they must decide he doesn't smell or taste right and move onto another horse.

I forget what I paid, but I think I got a full season's bucket for $90. I am in CT, so I just use it from March until November. I do still use fly sprays to when we're out riding, and the no-see-ums still bothered his belly, so I guess I'd be a mixed review for feed throughs. I'll still use it again next season since I did see a few positive changes.

For general fly control, fly predators work very well.

Liberty Valance 08-02-2009 01:37 PM

Oh, yes thank you for bringing that up...I've seen the ads but I've never known anyone who's actually used them. My two biggest concerns on fly predators is that 1.) how do I keep the flies in my manure pile and not my neighbor's lol, and 2.) how does it affect the balance of the environment.

Living in CT I'm sure you guys have your fair share of foreign species, too. I live near Lake Erie, so we've got tons of environmental balance problems. We started with a zebra muscle problem, then somebody got the idea to import the Asian whatchamakalit that eats them, but now nothing eats the Asian thing, and it turns out the Asian thing DOES eat the zebra muscles, but it would much rather dine on the small fry of our sport fish...and now we don't have that many walleye, pike, or musky like we did. Down south some folks decided that to curb the aphid problem they were having they would release thousands of ladybugs. Then there were too many ladybugs, so they released lots of turkeys. Then too many turkeys (our predator population is pathetic, anymore...too many people making too much noise). I worry about that with the fly predators.

OH...ha ha...silly question...serious, but sounds silly...

Does you manure pile still decompose with the feed-through? I know the flies are annoying, but they do a nice job of keeping the pile in check. lol

MyBoyPuck 08-02-2009 02:26 PM

I agree, people have a way of making bad situations much worse. they address problem A without considering affecting B,C &D.

I'm the only one using the feed through stuff out of 9 horses, so I doubt his poop is having much affect on the manure pile. I doubt it hurts decomp. All it does is keep flies from hatching in his poop.

I don't think the fly predators go very far. The larvae hatch, you put them on the manure pile, they enjoy a few good meals and die off within the month. I doubt they'd cause any long term natural imbalance since they're so short lived. You have to reorder them each month. They do work wonders. This is the only barn I've been at where there is no fly problem.

riccil0ve 08-03-2009 01:22 AM

I give my girls garlic powder in their grain. It's done wonders to keep the flies away, and it only makes their breath stink until they get to the hay.

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