Flies are a nuisance for both horses and their owners and can be a serious cause for concern for the health of your horse. Fly season can start at the beginning of March and last until the first hard freeze in the fall. Don’t let these pests keep you from enjoying time with you horse by following these simple steps:
Know the Enemy
Two types of flies are most commonly the source of irritation for horses and their owners: the stable fly and the house fly.
The Stable Fly: A blood-sucking pest that typically bites a horse’s legs, below the knee. These flies can spread diseases like equine infectious anemia or create a sore, or wound, that can easily become infected.
The House Fly: These flies don’t bite; instead, they feed on decaying organic matter like manure as well as fluids around the horse’s eyes and nose. They can spread bacteria that causes eye or intestinal infections.
Understand the Battle
Understanding the life cycle of the fly can help you identify areas of your fly control routine that might be missing the mark.
Fly Eggs: Flies lay 80–100 eggs every few days in warm, moist, decaying organic materials like manure, hay or feed. Eggs typically hatch within 24 hours.
Fly Larva: Maggots feed on the decaying material for four to eight days. Once fully developed, the larva move to drier areas to form a cocoon.
Fly Pupa: The amount of time spent in the cocoon varies, but in warmer conditions it may be as short as three days.
Adult Fly: Once a fly emerges from the cocoon, it will live for an average of 30 days, continuing the life cycle by laying hundreds of eggs.