Arizona is mid-way through Monsoon season. For anyone who is unfamiliar with the Monsoon season, it is the rainy season in the desert. It comes with lots of sand storms, humidity, and crazy rainstorms. These rainstorms generally produce a significant amount of groundwater in a short period of time, and due to the high levels of sand in the ground, the water often pools or creates rivers and washes. Most Arizonians love the rain because we don’t get it very often and it has many benefit for the area. However, with increased water comes an increase in the insect population. Not too troublesome for most people, but for horse owners, it can create huge horse management and bug control issue. Insects carry lots of diseases (West Nile Virus, Potomac, etc.) and are quite frankly super annoying.
Here are some of the more effective methods of fly controls we have found for our horses.
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This seems like an obvious statement, but a good fly mask will help prevent flies from irritating your horse’s eyes. We recently found these wonderful lycra fly masks and the flies cannot get under them! I will caution you on these, if your horse is challenging to put a fly mask on, these fly masks will be difficult. They are designed to slide up over the horse’s head and do not have the velcro closure seen in most fly masks.
I don’t know about you, but I HATE fly tape. I’ve worked in lots of barns where that was the go-to fly trap and it was constantly getting glued to something (usually my hair!). While fly tape is pretty effective, disposable bag fly traps are a bit cleaner and don’t stick to you. You want to make sure you are cleaning these out (if you purchased a reusable option) or disposing of them on a regular basis.
Consider mucking out stalls and paddocks a few times a day if time permits. Many bugs reproduce in manure, so the faster you remove it from your horse areas the faster you’ll reduce the fly population.
During the monsoon, we are seeing a lot of standing water. Standing water should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent insects from reproducing. Mosquitos love standing water and it is a perfect place to harbor all sorts of nastiness!
Use a waterproof fly spray on your horse to keep the bugs away. Make sure to spray their legs and bellies well! You can use a roll-on fly spray or SWAT for sensitive areas like faces. I like to apply fly spray in the morning when the bugs are less active and before riding.
If your horse stays in a stall during the day, consider installing a stall fan. The air movement helps to discourage the flies and helps to keep your horse cool at the same time.
I’ve been around horses my entire life, but my Friesian journey started just over 20 years ago. Our horses have always been a part of our family. They have traveled with us as we relocated from Vermont to New York to Iowa and finally, to Arizona. I can’t wait to share our story with you!
Aug 5, 2021
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