Flies are the Worst -- Deal With it!

Commercial sprays have their place, but also limitations, so farriers have found ways to provide relief from biting insects for themselves and their horses

The votes are in, and the flies have it! By a nearly 4-to-1 margin, flies were chosen as the worst insect pest by the nearly 200 farriers who responded to an informal survey by American Farriers Journal. Mosquitoes flew in a distant second, ticks crawled into third and gnats earned a few mentions.

The disgust for flies showed up in every corner of the United States, including Alaska. Votes against flies also came from Canada to Costa Rica and Brazil, and from Australia to the Netherlands. If misery loves company, a farrier can take solace in knowing that he or she will be part of a very large crowd swatting at flies this summer.

At a more practical level, the widespread frustration with flies suggests that farriers might want to put a high priority on carrying anti-fly materials in their rigs. And check the list of ingredients on chemical sprays and wipes against the recommendations of independent experts on bug control. Note what the entomologists have to say about effective insecticide applications.

Expert Advice

According to a report from Florida A&M University, commercial repellents containing 25 to 40 percent DEET (diethyl metatoluamide) have been reported to keep flies off the arms of humans for at least 2 1/2 hours.

The report says water-soluble insecticides containing pyrethroids, such as permethrin, can be applied as residual sprays to building surfaces (presumably where horses cannot come in contact) to provide a quick knockdown of adult flies and residual action against flies that land…

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Ron perszewski

Ron Perszewski

Ron Perszewski is a freelance writer and former associate editor of Ameri­can Farriers Journal.

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