By Katherine Gathje, Interim Extension Educator
Flies have been prevalent recently around the farm especially in warm or wet areas. Flies are nuisance insects but can become difficult to deal with, especially on farms. Most farms are impacted by stable flies, house flies, face flies and horn flies.
Managing flies on the farm not only reduces the number of flies biting and bothering animals and workers but also decreases disease transmission. High fly populations can decrease the production of farm animals and bring out unwanted or dangerous behaviors in animals.
Here are a few tips on how to control flies around the farm. Many of these practices are applicable for all types of animals and even homeowners without animals.
Keep areas prone to high fly populations clean and dry. If you have areas in or around buildings that accumulate spilled feed and water keep them clean and dry to avoid the perfect fly nesting area. Manure or other decaying matter is also a common attraction to flies and should be cleaned often to decrease fly populations in the area.
There are several physical management strategies to reduce flies on the farm. Utilize sticky traps, fly traps, and fly baits to control flies around problem areas. These traps and baits will fill up quickly so be sure to have plenty of supplies on hand for high fly populations. There are also several natural remedies that may be effective for fly control.
If you are having trouble controlling flies by keeping areas clean and dry and using physical management strategies it may be time to consider chemical management tactics. Dusters, back-rubbers and pour-on insecticides are not considered to be effective for controlling premise flies. Premise sprays combined with sanitation efforts has been the most effective way to control flies in and around buildings. Ear tags, pour-on insecticides and other similar control methods that contain a fly repellent are effective for cattle or other animals on pasture.
The first step in decreasing your fly population is to locate the wet and warm areas of the farm where flies are reproducing. Using a combination of the methods mentioned above will help to control fly populations and give your animals some relief this summer.