Hey, Who do I gotta talk to in orda to make it Spring already? And what to do about the flies…

Thursday, March 31st, 2011 | Filed under Handy Tips


Yesterday I was talking about our monsoon weather and how I had to bring in the ponies because they were soaked to their underbellies.

Today, it is 74 degrees.  Remi and Bodhi are grazing on the lawn.  I saw flies.  In one day of sunshine, I saw flies.  How does this happen?

So, today I want to speak about flies.

But first, the weather.


Who decides this craziness?  Who do I speak with to fix the weather?  Is there a manager around?

I mean first we had torrential rain for weeks on end.  Now, today, it is 74 degrees.  Friday should be 80.  But then, next week, it is supposed to be in the 50’s again!  Huh?  My poor horses don’t know whether to shed or colic…

Is God mad?  Is he on a diet?  Is she grumpy?  Is he/she distracted, dealing with another planet of people who need constant attention and reassurance?  What is up with this topsy turvey forecast?

For as long as I can remember, it went Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall.  In that order.  Not Winter, Fall, Spring, Winter, Summer, Fall…  Wassup with that?  How do we know when to bring out the lawn chair?  When can I store my down comforter under my bed?  When can I pull out my sunscreen and flipflops?  A gurl cannot live like this!

I’m just sayin’…


Huh? The horses don't know whether to shed or colic!


Ugh.  Flies.  I know they are part of the food chain and they provide a great service, but do they have to be so irritating about it?  Can they not tell a pile of manure from my opened mouth?

Why do they buzz around my ears?  C’mon!  Do they have to do that?  I sometimes think that flies have gotten too big for their britches…  They come into my house uninvited.  They land on my food.  They lay their eggs anywhere they please and then spend the afternoon attached to my bathroom mirror, admiring themselves.

I believe it is time to take them down a notch.


You’ve heard me say this before.  I use 3 elements of first defense for the fly invasion:  Predators, Garlic and Peppermint Summer Protection/The Balm.  They always work – so I keep using this system until something better comes along.  And, I try everything, believe me!

1)  Predators.

Click image to go to their website.

If you can afford them, these little insect armies really help keep down the fly population by eating the fly eggs.  And, Predator application is very simple.  You see, a fly’s incubation period is a month.  The predators come every three weeks.  You release them and they eat the fly eggs before they can hatch.

I use Spalding Fly Predators (no affiliation) because they arrive on time, they are healthy upon arrival, and if you get a bad batch, they will replace them.

The slightly bad part is that they are a tiny bit stinky (since they live on manure, a bit is inside the packet).  You also need to put them in a temperate part of the house until they hatch and are ready to put outside.

Predators work for sure because when we stopped using them one summer, the flies were worse and we were very unhappy.

2)  Garlic:

Click image to go to the Garlic

I use Springtime, Inc. Their garlic is very consistent, priced about right (for granulated garlic)  and works well for me.  I do know there are several equine garlic manufacturers out there so you can experiment around.

All you do is sprinkle a scoopful on their pellets.  My horses love it!  As always, it takes a few days for them to adjust to a new food.  But, once they like it, they really like it.  The barn smells like an Italian restaurant!

Springtime has several sales every year where you can double up and triple up because of bonuses and special offers.  I tend to buy my garlic during those sales which are usually in the off season.

3)  Herbal Fly Spray (that works):

Click image for the webpage

I use Equi-Spa Peppermint Summer Protection.  It totally works but, yes, it doesn’t last as long as oil based sprays.  However, the horses love it, try to eat it and don’t dance around while you apply it.

I also use The Balm from Equi-Spa on their faces, any cuts and on any tender parts.  Again, the horses want to eat it and it truly keeps the flies AWAY from those areas.  (This is the stuff I used to heal my eye.)

Equi-Spa still has the deal where they will give you a sample of THE BALM if you order any product and tell them that Horse and Man told you that you would get a free sample.  There are no kickbacks here.  I just really, really like these products.


I saw this in the FarmTek catalog.  I don’t know how it works but it uses no chemicals besides dishsoap.

Click to read about the product

It looks like metal fence posts, black plastic, two plastic trays and soapy water.

People say that this contraption works… I haven’t tried one and don’t know the science behind it.  But, I am thinking about getting one or trying to make one (then getting frustrated and buying one anyway).



Junkyard 4:  Little Red and Faith the pregnant Percheron are doing well.   Tiny Tucker is still not well but not worse, either.

Little pregnant and skinny mini-mare Glory has not foaled.  Bummer!  I wanted to see that baby!  But, it is better that she has time to heal and gain weight.  So, I guess it is good.  I will keep you posted on the delivery and Tucker’s health.

To donate, click here. (I am offsite today and cannot move the donation thermometer until this evening.)

This is pregnant mini-mare Glory in a new (too large) blanket . Click here to donate!

Diaper Babies: As you know, we lost Tracey last week.  Very sad.  The other three, Sassy, Tina and Ruby are growing and doing much better.  Here is the latest photo of them enjoying their outside paddock!

To donate, click here. (I am offsite today and cannot move the donation thermometer until this evening.)

The Diaper Babies (Sassy, Tina & Ruby) outside and growing up! Healthy. Click to donate.


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2 comments have been posted...

  1. Miss Jan

    As usual a wonderful blog post from you! Though I have tried and love the Balm I haven’t tried the peppermint spray and thanks to the info provided I will do so. I quit using harsh chemical fly sprays and premises treatments after I lost my warmblood cross gelding to cancer. I got paranoid about a lot of things related to cancer and ended up putting the whole famdamily (four legged and two legged) on a high percentage organic diet and got rid of everything that had a scary label on it.

    I actually have used fly predators from Spalding almost since they were “invented” years ago as we formerly had a small acreage on an equestrian park in a suburb of Seattle and if we hadn’t controlled the fly population we would have been run outta town in a big hurry. These little critters work so extremely well I’m just surprised more people don’t use them. Plus, the company is really great to deal with. Because my neighbors in Washington also used my composted stall cleanings in their gardens (really good for berries, roses and rhodies) I got my neighbors to subscribe to Spalding Labs too “just in case” though well-composted equine “end products” don’t usually attract much in the way of flies.

    As far as weather: one of the documented effects of global warming (not going to address the cause here, my opinion might surprise some) is not just warmer, not just wetter, but more extremes of weather and more frequent occurrences of La Nina and El Nino. So a traditional mild wet spring will become cooler and a LOT wetter than even the statistical variations/norms would indicate; summers will be hotter and more drought-y, fall will come earlier and early winter snowfalls will be earlier, heavier and last longer, there will be more cloud cover days, sometimes dramatically more. Sorry, I am seriously addicted to weather and climate info, having been a resident of the Pacific NW for some six decades and having to learn all about microclimates for purposes of optimal equine management, and also having arguably THE best institute for weather studies here in Oregon at Oregon State University.

  2. Maggie

    We have ticks really bad here in Oklahoma. We would pick large numbers of ticks off the horses in the summer time. The horses would have sores in their ears from the ticks and a sore ear is not touchable!! Until, we started feeding the Springtime garlic. Last Summer about 99% fewer ticks on the horses. We’ve already started it for this year.

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