It’s that time of year when flies come back into our lives.  When you have horses, livestock, and other animals flies are inevitable.  Luckily, there are things we can do to manage and minimize the pesky insects!

Today, I’m sharing what I do to minimize flies at my farm.

Manure Management

It is important to have a manure management plan when you have horses.  This includes collection, storage (short-term or long-term), and disposal or usage.  I clean my stalls everyday.  I add a scoop of pelletized bedding and sprinkle Sweet PDZ where they urinate when necessary and top off with new shavings weekly.  This decreases the odor which attracts fewer flies.  I also clean up the manure in my outdoor turnouts daily.  All manure and soiled bedding is disposed of in a dumpster that is emptied weekly.  It is important to have waste hauled off your property to decrease fly breeding grounds.

Installing a compost system is one way to deal with manure storage long-term.  Composting is great in that it quickly eradicates odor which decreases flies.  Composting also cuts your haul-away cost and leaves you with a valuable product to use around your farm.  I’d love to install a compost system in the future.

Fly Management

Manure management will greatly decrease your fly population but some of the annoying insects will still be around because, after all, it’s summertime!

That’s where Spalding Labs Fly Predators come into play.  I’ve used them for years.  Fly Predators are tiny insects that kill flies before they emerge by “taking over” the fly cocoon and killing the immature fly before it hatches.  When finalizing my Fly Predator order I spoke with a rep at Spaulding and they helped me decide on a monthly count.  Factors that influenced my order…my climate, my own animals (horses, chicken, dog), and my neighboring animals (neighbors that have horses and chickens).

I highly recommend Fly Predators to help with fly management around your farm.

Fly Spray 

There are so many fly spray options on the market today.  There are sprays that include chemical insecticides and repellents and others that are natural recipes.

I have had luck using the Ultra Shield products by Absorbine.  I also use the Swat fly repellent ointment by Farnam.  I would love to find a natural product that truly works so please let me know if you have one!

Fly Traps

I have greatly decreased my farm fly population with the above methods but there are always a few stragglers.  They are often found in my barn where the air is still.  I will hang fly traps here and there to catch the lingering ones.  You can find many fly trap options at your local feed store and can even find recipes for DIY traps online.

Let us know how you manage flies on your farm in the comments below.




Erin Gouveia of Silver Oaks Farm is an accomplished equestrian, award winning photographer, and an artist.   She was born and raised in San Diego, California, graduated from Colorado State University, and now resides in Park City, Utah on a small ranch with her husband.  She has had careers in Medical Research, Zookeeping, and most currently Photographer at Erin Kate Photography.

Follow Erin on Instagram at @silveroaksfarm and find her equestrian inspired fine art photographs and handmade goods in her Etsy shop SilverOaksFarm.

April 23, 2019