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Fly Control

The battle against winged pests involves arming customers with a wide range of effective products.
By Lizett Bond

Visit a barnyard and the animals aren’t the only creatures in residence. Flies are the universal adversary of the livestock world and are not only a source of constant irritation but transmit health risks as well. Fly eggs are deposited in manure, moist soil and a variety of other settings that often exist when farm animals are present. From there the succession of this nuisance begins. It’s a never-ending battle, as any owner will attest. So what’s the latest artillery retailers can offer their customers?

Karstens Ace Hardware’s “store within a store” offers pet supplies as well as horse fly control products and dewormers. Credit: Cheryl Karsten, Karstens Ace Hardware
Sanitation and management practices play an important role in pest control, but a wide variety of methods exist to further the crusade against these tenacious foes. Owners are constantly on the lookout for new weapons to impart comfort to equine and other farm animals.

The Direct Approach

Direct sprays can be a valuable asset in keeping flies from landing on animals and provide quick relief. Many effective repellents are already on the market, including organic products. Houston-based Pyranha Inc. recently announced that its Zero-Bite Natural Insect Spray could be used on both horses and dogs. The company reports the water-based formula provides an all-natural alternative to traditional pesticides. Its Pyrethrin Shampoo is also formulated for dogs and horses.

The insect control manufacturer offers two product groupings, one for animals and one for barns, which includes Pyranha Aerosol and the water-based Equine Spray & Wipe.

“Our highest selling product in the show horse industry is the time-tested Pyranha Aerosol and Wipe N’ Spray, however, the new Zero-Bite Natural Insect Spray is a rising favorite with those making a move toward green products,” said Sara Johnson-Bewley, spokesperson for Pyrahna.

For barns, Pyranha offers its SprayMaster Barn Misting System with 1-10 HP Insecticide refill and Odaway Odor Control.

Many disposable traps are easy to discard when full and can be most effective when set close to fly breeding sites. Credit: Courtesy of Sterling International
“Pyranha provides a full line of fly-fighting solutions for both the backyard owner and hobby farmer,” Johnson added.

Coffeeville Feed & Supply, in Coffeeville, Kans., carries a variety of spray-on fly controls and one of its best-sellers is Permethrin, a generic insecticide in concentrated form that is made into a mix by the customer, according to Emily Zwahlen, the store’s office manager.

The store finds that 25 to 30 percent of its customer base is now hobby farmers and that base is growing. In addition, these consumers are also shopping for their pets.

“Most people come in for their horse supplies but get to looking around and see that we have a lot for dogs and cats as well,” Zwahlen said.

Area Control

Spraying or placing insecticides in and around stabling areas can also be an effective way to maintain control over existing flies and this approach is generally based on more traditional pesticides. For example, the Natural Horse Vet’s Stable Check works as a repellent for flies and mosquitoes by keeping insects out of the air; it is sprinkled on the ground, in shavings and around the barn, according to the manufacturer. The granules are non-chemical and non-toxic with an effect that lasts up to three weeks.

Love Their Horse, Love Their Dog

Where there are horses there is generally a dog or two. It’s rare to find a barn without at least one canine on the premises. Add a boarding or training stable to the mix with all its various equine owners, with their own pets, and it’s no wonder that more and more pet and feed stores are offering products that cater to both four-legged friends.

Split Rail Country Store in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, offers a range of horse supplies consisting of dewormers, fly sprays and masks that generate a steady business. The store presents a medley of goods consisting of pet supplies, giftware and even farm-fresh eggs and local honey, but equine products are a valuable component.

“It’s definitely pretty important, it’s a huge benefit,” said store owner Amber Knott. “In the summer a lot of people come in just for fly spray and dewormers are always a needed item.”

Knott added that many customers come into purchase their pet products and in turn purchase items for their horses out of convenience.

Broken Horn Saddlery in Baldwin Park, Calif., is also finding ways to take advantage of the crossover between dog and horse owners and their dual requirements. Primarily a tack and feed store with an inventory that runs the gamut of equine-owning necessities and luxuries, a large selection of fly and parasite control products are also part of the offerings.

In addition, the array of dog-related product includes feed as well as items for flea control, supplements, fly spray, leashes, toys and treats. The intersection of equine and canine purchases has been beneficial to Broken Horn.

“The way I look at it, anybody that has a horse is going to have a dog. It’s very rare when someone has a horse but no dog,” said Neil Johnson, spokesperson for the store.

Knott echoed the sentiment.

“Almost everyone that has horses has dogs,” she said.  --LB

“Those who try Stable Check once always come back for more, and generally by the dozen,” said Dan Moore, DVM, and founder of The Natural Horse Vet.

As with sprays, baits and flytraps control flies in specific areas and retailers can offer them as a way to contribute a successful fly management program for their hobby farm and equine customers. Many disposable traps are easy to discard when full and can be most effective when set close to fly breeding sites. These traps can provide a useful way of reducing adult insect populations.

New from Sterling International, a manufacturer located in Spokane, Wash., is the Rescue Pop! Fly Trap. With the green movement in mind, the Pop! Flytrap is made from used two-liter soda bottles. The attractants are placed in the container, the consumer simply adds water and it is ready to use, the company reports. The Rescue Pop! can be reused and eventually recycled. Sterling purchases the bottles from local organizations, which collect them as fundraisers.

“It gives these bottles a second life,” said Stephanie Cates, director of marketing and communications for Sterling.

In addition to the new Pop! Traps, the company reports it has disposable flytraps that are very durable and popular with consumers.

“With a fly trap, everything is contained, it’s environmentally responsible and it’s a good, green way to control flies, the universal nuisance,” Cates said.

Aiming for the Source

Other methods of fly control include breeding prevention. Feed-through larvicides pass through a horse’s digestive system and prevent the development of fly larvae in manure.

“I think that is growing in popularity with hobby people as there is more information saying they actually work,” Zwahlen said.

Bug Check is a natural feed-through offered by The Natural Horse Vet. Ingredients include garlic and other natural elements and provide an economical and easy to use approach, according to the company.

“Bug Check is our most popular product,” said Dr. Moore. “It continues to amaze me with the results.”

Livestock can ingest fly eggs through a variety of means and that’s where dewormers enter the campaign. Regular deworming can play an important role in parasite control; horses grazing or eating off the ground, even licking themselves may begin a cycle of internal infestation that can be readily controlled by sanitation, correct feeding practices and by deworming.

Many retailers report they are experiencing a brisk fly mask business. Susie Kershner, vice president and manager of River City Farm & Pet in Williamsport, Md., carries several different brands, with the Super Mask from Farnam being among the most popular. Credit: Cris Kelly
According to experienced hands, paste wormers are frequently an inexpensive and easy to use product. Coffeeville Feed & Supply reports that paste dewormers are always in demand.

“We go through a lot of wormer; they are a fairly inexpensive way to control parasites,” Zwahlen said. “I think we will also probably hear about more organics, I think it’s coming,” she added.

Worm Check is a natural herbal paste formula available from the Natural Horse Vet. The company also provides free fecal examinations with proof of purchase of six wormers.

Protecting Livestock

Masks, sheets and leg protectors are a tried-and-true technique of providing a barrier between fly and animal. This practice of fly control has been around for years, but new innovations are available. Zwahlen reported that Coffeeville Feed and Supply is also experiencing a brisk fly mask business.

Kensington Protective Products in Pomona, Calif., reports it has taken fly masks to the next level, with the new Natural Look Catch-Mask due out in April 2010. This mask was designed with a built-in halter for ease in catching and leading, a three-layer Velcro latch and will be available in seven different “horse” colors. Horse owners will also have the option of painting their horse’s markings directly onto the mask, providing a type of camouflage to other horses that are often tempted to pull and tear at their companions’ apparel.

Susie Kershner, vice president and manager of River City Farm & Pet in Williamsport, Md., said her customers are generating a large demand for fly control products, with fly masks being a very prominent offering.

“I carry several different brands and the Super Mask from Farnam, with a variety of sizes, is usually the brand people ask for,” she said.

To take advantage of the demand for fly control products, Kensington Products is bringing new offerings to market, including a new, “natural look” mask. Credit: Courtesy of Kensington Protective Products
As a business that began in the beef and dairy industry, approximately 50 percent of River City’s business is now coming from hobby farmers and it is a demographic that has seen steady growth. The store offers a large selection of equine dewormers and fly sprays as well a mix of cat and dog products to meet its new customers’ needs.

At Karsten’s Ace Hardware in Cave Creek, Ariz., offering fly control products is an area where the store has experienced ongoing expansion.

“This store is 8 years old and we started with a very small selection of livestock products, maybe 8 linear feet. It has grown from there to where it is today, the store within the store concept,” said Cheryl Karsten, owner/manager.

Cave Creek is horse country and the store caters to that population.

“We have a wide mix of all types of fly and parasite control products because we have lots of professional horse people in Cave Creek, from all disciplines and we have a lot of backyard people too,” Karsten said.

Advertising for the “store within a store” has been primarily word of mouth, with occasional special promotions of the pet and horse products that it carries.

“If they have a horse, they probably have a dog or two,” she added.

Whether a hobby farm, a backyard endeavor or a large professional facility, the enemy is everywhere, but retailers and their customers can be well armed. New products are continually in development to aid those engaged against a common enemy in the ever-changing landscape of insect containment. <HOME>

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Fly Control

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Question: I am moving where there is a barn and my dogs and kitties will be in the barn a LOT so I am leery of a spray fly control system, especially since it does not take much insecticide on a kitty to kill her. Any sprays that work in a spray system that is OK with cats and dogs in the barn?
nanci, Umatilla, FL
Posted: 9/2/2014 11:43:50 AM
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