Proper fly control is a must if you live on a farm in the country and keep a lot of animals there. In this blog post, we explore how to wage that war in the correct way, and thus protect your horse and cattle from being harassed non-stop by these airborne pests. Read on as we explore effective fly control for cattle around farms.
Flies on the farm are a major source of nuisance. The harass your cattle and other livestock and the poultry. Highly strung animals don’t produce good meat, milk or other product. They can also carry disease, and cause wounds that make your animals more susceptible to disease. Flies also annoy the humans who spend a lot of time outdoors trying to get all the work done that the farm needs to keep going from day to day. As the weather warms up, their numbers become even greater – and you can find yourself at your wit’ end trying to deal with these pests. Luckily, fly control is now big business; they are an enormous range of products now on the market for ridding yourself of flies, and choosing the right one for your budget and the specific situation can seem like a real puzzle. Despite the bewildering array of choices available, you will have to do something about those flies that keep on bugging you and your animals. Here are a few of the options out there:
Get rid of the manure
Manure draws in flies like a moth to a flame and is basically a home base for them from where they carry out their obstructive activities. It is also where they breed, so getting rid of any manure lying around on your farm is the easiest and most sure-fire way of removing flies from your farm. Sell any excess manure to gardeners as fertilizer, or use it as fertilizer on your own fields. You may not be able to remove all of it, exactly, but you can still keep the manure to a minimum.
What manure remains, you can make as hostile and unwelcoming to flies as possible. Place a fly predator product in or around your manure piles and it will exterminate flies before they reach maturity; although not effective against fully grown up flies, it will keep them from breeding by getting rid of the young ones. Fly predators need to be replenished regularly and depending on how large your farm is, you will need to purchase quite a few – the expense of using fly predators can really add up over the long run.
Feed through techniques
Another, possibly better, option for getting rid of flies on your farm is to make use of a feedthrough technique. For example, there are now products out there containing cyromazine which you feed to your animals and that makes the manure that is a product of their digestion of this food, inhospitable to flies. These products are often designed to be appetizing to animals (for example, they might contain molasses), so use quite sparingly or else your animals will gain a lot of weight or suffer other health problems.
Another method you can try here is to put apple cider vinegar in their drinking water, or their feeding sources. Apparently, this will make your animals smell unappetizing to flies, thereby reducing the number of bites they are exposed to. A suggested dosage is 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to 50 gallons of water. A possible downside of this method is that not all of your animals will be very willing to drink this mixture, so carefully monitor their fluid intake to see that they are not becoming dehydrated.
If all else fails, you can still resort to the traditional methods of eliminating flies – such as repellant sprays, baited traps, sticky traps, fly paper, and so forth. Though these are tried and trusted fly control methods, they all come with their own drawbacks also. Fly traps are often very expensive when you add in the cost of shipping and are not reusable. Sticky traps and fly paper don’t work nearly as well in environments that are humid and dusty, and they must also be placed well out of the reach of your livestock – not very handy given that it is the flies in the direct vicinity of your animals that are causing all the trouble on your farm. Spray repellents only provide temporary protection against flies, and have to be regularly re-applied – this can be inconvenient, and the cost of replenishing stocks can add up over time, especially if you have a large farm with many animals (as well as human workers). Spot treatments like the ‘Spot On Insecticide’ for livestock may be a better option, delivering longer lasting protection.
Here’s one other method you can try
It’s a little bit old-fashioned, but that says nothing about its effectiveness. Try hanging a Ziploc bag half filled with water, and containing a penny inside, from the rafters of your barn in order to ward off the flies that keep bugging your animals. Why exactly this method is so effective is still unclear, but one theory is that bags generates light refraction that confuses the flies’ eyes, disorienting them enough to send them elsewhere. Whatever the logic behind it, this peculiar fly control method is one of the cheapest and easiest to use fly control methods out there. It does seem, though, as if it’s effectiveness is limited to barns – for fly control in the fields and other open spaces of your farm you will have to look elsewhere.
All of these methods have their advantages – and drawbacks. You will probably get the best results in controlling flies on your farm if you utilize a combination of different weapons in the fight against these persistent pests. The particular set of methods you go for will depend on your climate, your budget, and the size of your farm. But wherever you live, here’s to a flu season that is inexpensive, tolerable – and soon over.