Summer can feel like an endless battle against insects, but now is not the time to drop your guard. Giving up on pest-control measures now will cede ground you’ve gained earlier this season to the latest, freshest generation of insects. As we head into the second half of the season, renew your efforts to keep pests in check:
• Check all traps and strips. Empty traps, discard full strips and refill or replace bait as necessary.
• Remain vigilant about manure management. Ideally, your manure pile will be as far from the horses as possible. This may mean a long walk with a wheelbarrow in the heat of summer, but it’s worthwhile to keep the pests from your barn. And picking up manure from fields isn’t a pleasant chore in the heat, either, but it can make a huge difference in levels of insects as well as internal parasite burdens on your herd. Do this work in the early morning or late evening hours to beat the heat, but don’t give up.
• Reorder fly control products. Bugs don’t follow the calendar, so they’ll stick around well after summer is officially over until temperatures drop. Stock up on whatever sprays, feed-throughs and spot treatments you might need to get you through the duration. If you use fly predators, ensure your shipments will continue until the weather breaks.
• Repair or replace masks and sheets. A well-made fly mask or sheet will usually survive several years, but horses can be hard on these items and one on it’s last legs may not last the rest of this season. Patch holes and replace fastenings if you can, or replace them entirely. Selection may be limited this late in the year, but you may also discover the items that are left are on sale.
This article first appeared in the August 2017 issue of EQUUS (Volume #379)