I hate flies! Despise them actually. But, if you have livestock, you are going to have flies. That’s a fact. Flies that are troublesome to goats include horn fly, stable fly, horse fly, house fly, blow fly, mosquitoes, and black fly. House fly and blow fly are more nuisance flies, while the others are biting or blood-sucking and can cause painful bites and major irritation to goats.
Flies go through a complete metamorphosis – eggs, larvae, pupae, and adult – each life stage taking place in a different habitat. Areas with significant amounts of manure and other wet moist areas are where the flies lay their eggs. The eggs then hatch into larvae commonly known as maggots. The maggots molt and grow a few times before pupating and forming the pupae or cocoon. The adult fly emerges from the pupae. Wetter than normal weather patterns lead to an increase in fly populations due to more of the moist environments where they can complete their life cycle. When talking about fly control, it is just that…control. You will never be able to fully eradicate flies…just control the numbers. At the Rafter O, we practice integrated pest management. Integrated pest management, also known as integrated pest control is a broad-based approach that integrates practices for economic control of pests. With flies, we address several of the life stages to help keep fly numbers down.
Clean Your Barn
Step one in the battle against flies is to remove habitat for them to complete their disgusting life cycle. With sanitation and proper manure management in and around livestock buildings, you essentially eliminate a hospitable larval habitat. Regular removing of bedding material and spilled feed goes a long way in preventing fly populations from becoming significant.
At the Rafter O, our barn floor is dirt. We will muck down a few inches to get back to the base level. Before re-bedding with straw, we dry scatter a product called Neporex. Neporex® is a highly selective solution for fly control that is applied to the breeding sites of flies to control the larvae of the housefly and other fly species. Neporex is an insect growth regulator (IGR) for the control of dipterous (fly) larvae. The active ingredient, cyromazine, is from the triazine group, which as a family of pesticides is one of the least toxic to wildlife. Neporex has a novel mode of action – it disrupts the molting process, which is essential for the fly life cycle. It interferes with the chitin metabolism of fly larvae at all 3 stages, stopping these larvae from developing, and preventing the proliferation of the fly population. Additionally, Neporex has no negative impact on beneficial insects when used according to the label. We use Neporex year round in treating our barn and wet areas – very rarely will we ever find maggots while mucking those areas. Valley Vet usually has the best price on this product.
Fly parasitoids, or fly predators, are small wasps that target fly pupae and kill the fly by laying their eggs inside the fly pupae. Here is a great article that has a ton of info on flies and fly control – A Five Minute Read to Few Flies. Here at the Rafter O, we have a Fly Predator Subscription through Spalding Labs. It is very easy to sign up for their program! All you do is answer a few questions about your farm, and they determine the number of fly predators to send and the frequency. The picture to the right shows how they come packaged. Once they arrive, take the bag out of the box. It will be the pupae of the fly predators – once a few are hatched and you see adults in the bag, they are ready to be spread out. We apply them to the wet areas outside our barn and near our hay feeders.
Additional Premise Control
In addition to the fly predators, we deploy three additional tactics to help kill the adult flies.
These Fly Reels come in a few options, but we utilize the Mini Fly Reel. This handy kit has all you need but a screwdriver to get fly control for months. Containing a Full Reel of Fly Tape (contains 81 ft.) and an empty Take-Up Reel, you just have mount them and run the tape between them (the screws and anchors are even included). As your Fly Tape becomes full of flies, simply roll out some fresh tape. Using an environmentally safe, non-drying glue, this long-lasting Fly Tape is extremely effective at catching and holding those annoying, dirty flies. This company also has a Huge Fly Reel that has over 1,300 feet of tape, so you’ve definitely got some options for what might work in your barn. We run the tape about 8 feet off the ground for a distance of about 10 feet – we roll out fresh tape either daily or every other day. Usually the tape is completely covered with flies! You can order these online or perhaps find them at your local hardware store.
If we’ve had some wet weather, and the flies are worse than normal, we will deploy this QuickBayt Spot Spray. Thanks to powerful attractants and quick killing power, you can transform practically any area in your operation into a fly-free zone. Because flies are lured to the spray, you merely spot spray walls, posts, beams or ceilings where flies tend to rest. Active ingredient imidacloprid even kills flies resistant to current attractants. Kills within one minute and achieves 100% control within four hours. One application provides control for up to six weeks indoors and two weeks outdoors. At the Rafter O, we spray the posts and walls in our barns where the flies tend to land most often – high where the goats cannot try to lick. This product is available in most feed stores and online.
The last premise control we use are these disposable Big Bag Fly Traps. Most folks utilize these “stink” traps inappropriately! Do not use these in your barn! They attract flies, so you’ll want to utilize them in the perimeter of your pens. The Rescue! Big Bag Fly Trap contains a fast-acting fly attractant that starts working as soon as you add water. Food and feed additives are combined with other dried ingredients to make the Rescue! attractant. Lured by the scent, flies enter through the yellow top cap and drown in the water. Lures and kills many species, including house flies, false stable flies, blow flies, blue and green bottle flies, flesh flies, face flies, and many others. At the Rafter O, we deploy 3-4 of these on the outskirts of the pens and away from the barns. Any stink trap will do, and they can be purchased at your local store or online.
On Animal Applications
Cylence Pour On is a great product that treats a variety of flies and lice. It contains 1% cyfluthrin, a synthetic pyrethroid, in a ready to use pour on solution. The dose for goats is 1cc per 25# applied topically down the back. This product is safe to use on kids as young as one week. It can irritate the skin on your sensitive goats, so just keep an eye on them. Make sure to spread out the application and do not get too much in one area. This can be applied every 3 weeks if needed, but we usually do every 4-6 weeks or when we trim hooves. All you need is the smaller 16oz size – squeeze the product into the dosing chamber and then use a syringe to suck up the appropriate amount for each goat. Again, this product is readily available at your local feed store or online.
If the flies are really bad, and bothering the goats – we will spray them with a plant-based repellant like Pyranha Zero-Bite Natural Insect Spray. This spray gets it’s bug-fighting power from geraniol, clove, and peppermint oils suspended in more than 90% water, so it is not oily or greasy. Since we use Cylence often on the goats, we really like that this is a natural product that contains no pesticides. It has a great scent, and we often use it on our guard dogs as well. In addition to repelling flies, this product also mosquitos and gnats. The residual effect is not long lasting, so, if needed, the goats need to sprayed every day or every other day. Sprays similar to this can be found on the horse aisle as your local feed store or online.
A comprehensive management plan for fly control is crucial for success. You can’t just try to kill the adults – they are only 15% of the population. Although it is fun and good stress relief to wield a fly swatter to take some out! Now, with all these methods we utilize to control flies – we still have them…just not as many! The overall goal of a sound fly control program is to manage the pests in a manner that reduces stress on the animals. We hope you found this Blog informational, and that you can utilize our methods at your farm to reduce your fly populations.