Friday, April 1, 2011

Fly Control

Our first batch of fly control arrived in the mail a few days ago.

Yep, we use fly predators.   We started using them three or four years ago and each year we have fewer and fewer flies.  Last summer it seemed like there weren't any.  This year will be challenging because of all the rain we got this winter.  31" of rain to date this season.  The annual average up here is 13".

The baggies arrived last week but the little wasps (yes, they are wasps -  fly larvae eating wasps) hadn't hatched yet.  Today, they were ready to go.  The little specks towards the top of the bag are the wasps.  The bigger clumps are the material they hatch in and their egg sacs.  I receive a bag of these little guys once a month from March through October.  I get a double dose in March (to jump start things) and in August (peak fly month here).  Some wasps do survive the winter, but adding to the population each year just means fewer flies.

First I find a spot close to where the horses like to manure, but protected by something like a fence post.

Using my heel, I scrape a little spot in the dirt.

I drop a handful of fly predators in my hole.

Then I kick a little bit of dirt over the top to protect them from birds.

Jackson and Flash discuss what I'm doing.

Jackson wants to know if I'm planting a Good & Plenty tree.  Flash looks a tad alarmed.  Bugs??!! in MY pasture!

By one of the fence posts, I find moss.  MOSS!  This is Southern California for heaven's sake!  We don't do moss here!

When I go into Kalvin's paddock, he barely looks up from his hay.  He has a healthy appetite, that one.

Doesn't he look all clean and shiny?  Katy was up today to visit. 

We do have to be careful with this fly control system to not kill the predators.  So, we don't use a fly system in the barn although we did in the past.  This is more effective.  I also use a fly repellant on the horses that is not an insecticide.  It smells great and the flies land - but then take off again.  ...the few flies there are, that is.
I try to be as organic as possible with my gardens and the horses.  Brett  rolls his eyes but he goes along with me most of the time.


  1. I like this!!!! I wonder what would kill the Scottish Midge! Apart from Katuscha Rockets !!!!

  2. A great way to control the flies. We don't usually have a fly problem here. I pick all the paddocks, pastures and stalls everyday, so there is not much manure around.

    Hey! Do you want anymore rhubarb?

  3. We use them, too, but will get our first shipment next month. Love em.

  4. LOVE fly predators. This reminds me that I need to order them. And microchips.

  5. What a great way to manage flies. I may try this now that I've read of a first hand example.

  6. We use them, too. What's funny is how much I had to convince my Ph.D. Entomologist husband (who does ALL natural pest control research) to give them a try! I guess professionals are the toughest customers/critics in their area of expertise.

  7. That's a good point about using insecticide. I hadn't thought about how that would impact the predators.

  8. I wish we could do this! Unfortunately as many chickens as we have I don't think they would survive lol.

  9. I always like to go more organic when I can, too. I tend no to spray any plants but my Dad will spray them on a schedule, whether they need it or not. Then his die, but he will never admit its the spray LOL.

    Unfortunately the predators won't kill our flies--biting deer flies. I wish they did! I hate, hate, hate them. This year I'm ordering fly sheets for everyone and going to a spray system in the sheds. Hopefully that will give them some relief.....


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