horse pasture face fly problem


Hi, I have irrigated horse pastures which are miserable right now for the horses due to face flies and small biting insects (maybe no seems). What would you recommend for applying that would be safe for horses to graze on? We have dry heat 90-100 degrees in summer California. The barns are fine and have spray system but I’d like to get the pastures under control. Fly traps don’t work at all. Thanks Cathy M.

Face flies can be controlled with two products that are labeled for use on horses and cattle. Both can be sprayed in the pastures too which is needed to cut down on the local breeding cycle.

In case you don’t know, face flies spend most of their lives in manure. So if you are recycling manure, this would be a key site that should be treated. And if you’re leaving the manure out in the pastures; these areas should also be treated. Additionally, any shaded or moist areas where biting pests like noseeums, mosquitoes or other biting flies may be breeding should also be treated.

Lastly, treating the horses directly is also suggested. When done properly, this type of face fly biting insect pest management program will help cut down on the amount of flies attacking and biting. Ultimately this will help your horses have a more comfortable summer.

Currently there are two products labeled for this exact application need. The first is what we consider to be a “green” organic option. Made with food extracts and essential oils, ESSENTRIA IC is a federally exempt product that will handle biting flies, face flies, noseeums and other pests commonly found around cattle and horses. It’s labeled for use around water like ponds and lakes so it won’t pose any hazard to such areas on your farm. It can be applied as a spray or mist so you can treat the pastures where these pests are no doubt breeding. And it’s also labeled for use on horses so you can treat them with it directly.

Treatments can be done as frequently as is needed; 1-2 a week is usually what you’ll do to start and then as the problem gets under control, you should be able to extend this to 1-2 weeks in between applications.

The second option is PERMETHRIN 10. This would be more of a traditional pesticide but it’s odorless and labeled for the same application sites as the Essentria. Permethrin will handle all the same pests and because it’s a bit “stronger”, treatments will no doubt last longer. Expect to get 1-2 weeks of protection per application; longer once the local population of these pests is reduced.

Both products can be applied with any kind of PUMP SPRAYER, but when treating large open areas, the use of a ELECTRIC FOGGER or BACK PACK MIST BLOWER will make the task a lot easier. And you’ll save in chemical costs too since both devices will enable the coverage of the chemical you apply to go a lot further compared to liquid spraying.

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