If you’ve lived or worked on a ranch or farm you’re already aware how pesky flies and other bugs can be. It’s no wonder that bugs like livestock – ranches and farms are literally the perfect breeding ground for them. There are many ways we can help mitigate these pests both by effectively eliminating mess and standing water, but also by utilizing spatial repellents like Terry Bradshaw’s 4 ring protection ZONE protection or STILL TAILS fly and mosquito spray. Today we’ll discuss a few helpful tips for controlling flies on livestock by practicing some good housekeeping efforts around your barn or farm, and stopping these pests before they’re able to breed to unmanageable numbers.
Controlling Flies on Livestock – Good Housekeeping
There are a variety of pests that make livestock animals their snacks – from black flies, horn flies, horseflies, to deer flies and so many more, these critters can cause big issues for ranchers and stable owners. The impact is similar for both large and small livestock properties – from a hobby farmer with a few horses and cows to large operations, flies and mosquitoes carry a wide variety of risks. In conjunction with an aggressive spatial repellent and bug spray, livestock owners can take on a few extra processes to help mitigate the effect these disease carrying bugs have on their animals.
- Hay and feed areas – First and foremost, if your facility has a feed room, make sure it’s tidy! Loose grain on the floor or piled in hard to reach places not only invites bugs for a snack, but your problem can be even further compounded by the ready access for bigger pests like rodents. By keeping your feed locked up in containers, your floors and counters swept and tidy, you’ll reduce the attraction for flies and other pests that may utilize your feed room as a food source. It’s also important to keep outdoor feeding areas tidy as well. On cattle lots, spreading out your round bales, dragging your common feeding sites and even raking up wet, stepped on or bad hay can also do wonders for your fly and mosquito populations. By leaving old unused hay on the ground, the combination of this leftover waste with any precipitation and even manure makes an ideal spot for flies to breed – keep this to a minimum wherever you can!
- Standing water – Every livestock property has its challenges with water, and standing water can be detrimental to keeping mosquitoes and flies at bay. Add manure, dirt, feed and other components and your standing water turns into a potentially risky hot spot for bugs. If you have a pond or large body of water on your property, you may want to seriously consider spatial repellents as a means to end the fly and bug problems. Spatial repellents like ZONE confound the mosquitos receptors that desire protein, which keeps them off your animals and anyone working or living near their placement. For some, fly predators may be a big help in handling larger, more unmanageable spaces.
- Dirt, weeds, overgrowth and debris – If plant and other organic matter is left unchecked, flies and other pests will likely move in. Many flies thrive in conditions that include moisture, decomposing or fermenting plant matter, or any other organic material that’s been allowed to pile up. That can mean overgrown weeds along buildings, piles of dead leaves or fallen trees and even small piles of debris found in your barn aisles or along ditches and other paths.
Pests and Livestock – Why Keeping Pests at Bay Helps Your Animals
While we know that mosquitoes and flies can be a nuisance just with their bites, it’s important to note that biting insects can spread disease, cause infection and can cause added stress to your livestock animals. Many ranchers turn to chemical fly repellents for their cattle when they have large herds to manage. If you’re able to utilize environmentally safe and animal friendly products like those from the 4 Ring Protection line, that’s great! Some cattle ranchers however may need to turn to oral fly control, and may need to utilize oilers or dust bags in high traffic areas to treat their animals for some of the more persistent pests their animals are exposed to. Horse owners can rely more heavily on spatial repellents and fly sprays to keep their animals happy and healthy, but it’s always a good idea to keep a tidy barn or stable. By cutting down on insects that search for blood meals, you’re preventing the spread of diseases like West Nile, but you’re also reducing the risk for other infections due to wound exposure and inflammation as well.
While fly and insect management is imperative year round, it’s best to get a jump on your pest control program as early as possible. As the summer months warm up, populations of biting insects take advantage of warm, moist and ideal conditions to help their numbers grow. Stock your tack and work rooms with repellents and fly sprays, and get your rakes and shovels out!