Controlling Flies the "Green" Way

With fly season about to kick into full force across the country, several effective "green" methods of fly control are available for any horse owner.

According to Laurie Cerny, editor of Green Horsekeeping & The Sustainable Stable magazine, using a combination of methods and eco-friendly products is the key to effective green fly control.

Here are her top five suggestions:

  1. Use fly predators. These tiny insects eat fly larvae, breaking the lifecycle of the fly. Start early in the season, with perhaps double applications during the height of fly season or if spring and summer are abnormally wet.
  2. Promptly remove manure from stalls and paddocks. In other larger areas where there is manure, such as in pastures, either harrow fields or use a pitchfork to break piles apart.
  3. Keep standing water and tall grass to a minimum. Don't overflow water tanks. Turn over unused tanks, buckets, and grain pans left outdoors. Keep grassy areas around the barn and paddocks trimmed as short as possible, as flies and other insects rely on foliage for protection.
  4. Feed garlic and/or Diatomaceous Earth (DE). Many horse owners are aware that feeding garlic is a natural way to help control the fly population. Feed with caution, however, as garlic can be rough on the stomach and is not recommended for use on horses prone to ulcers. Fewer owners are aware of the benefits of feeding DE, which is a chalky white rock substance mined from fossilized deposits of single-cell plants. Feeding DE is said to help eliminate internal parasites and reduce manure odor, both of which help to deter fly reproduction.
  5. Use Ziploc bags containing pennies and water. Make these eco-friendly fly deterrents by dropping 3-5 pennies in a plastic bag filled with water. Hang the bags in an area where flies enter the barn or congregate. Apparently, the flies see their distorted reflection of themselves in the bagged penny water and are afraid of what they see.

For more green horsekeeping tips, read bi-weekly entries at

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