Gloria's horses (Eternally Asparkle, Cerilla Pata, and the hidden Cheyenne's Kaila) swat at insects with their tails in the early morning sun.
Biting Flies FAQ with Gloria Couture of Murdoch’s:
While Colorado is in an exceptionally newsworthy biting fly season, it seems Cheyenne, Wyoming, deals with swarms of pesky flies year after year. The annual fight is one Gloria Couture is accustomed to battling. Gloria is an animal health specialist for Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply in Cheyenne, and she offered these tips to ease your horse’s pain. Here are the three most popular biting flies FAQs that she answers every day at work.
1. What can I do to give my horse some relief from biting insects?
Biting flies, mosquitoes and gnats create pure misery for our horses, and they are especially voracious at dusk and dawn. Fly sheets and fly masks afford a good measure of comfort against these insects. Even though these offer good protection, it’s a good practice to remove sheets and masks daily for grooming and to check for possible irritations and proper fit. Don’t forget to spray those areas that are not protected by the sheet or mask. Legs, ears, bellies, and necks may still be vulnerable.
2. What fly sprays seem to be working this year?
There are numerous fly sprays available in wipe, ready-to-use sprays, roll-ons or concentrated forms. Some well-known effective sprays include:
- Ultra Shield
- If you prefer a more natural spray, Espree is a good choice.
A few other products on the market that perform well are:
- Equi-Spot is a spot-on fly application that is water and sweat resistant
- For bug bites that become inflamed, SWAT is a convenient, effective wound salve with fly repellent.
Loafing sheds/runs provide shade but they also harbor a multitude of flies that congregate on droppings. Mucking these areas on a regular basis helps to eliminate swarms of these insects, too. Permectrin II is a concentrated fly repellent that can be used not only on horses and cattle but is beneficial when used as a premise spray.
3. I’ve used a spray often, and now it doesn’t seem to be working. What can I do?
It’s true. Some seasons your faithful spray just doesn’t do the trick. You might try two different fly repellents. Try alternating them since the contents in the sprays vary and may be more effective when you use a different spray on a rotating basis.
Also, for those who prefer to make your own fly repellent, here is a mixture that I have used and you can make yourself. Standard disclaimer applies to this: ask your vet first.
- 1 Gal white vinegar
- 1/8 cup citronella oil
- 1/3 bottle skin-so-soft
- 1 elephant garlic bulb, crushed and peeled cloves (or garlic oil)
- Let this set for a few days, shaking it to mix ingredients
- Apply as a spray or wipe