Desirai Schild

Schild

My first 2021 shipment of fly predators recently arrived and was distributed. I’ll bet the poor little bugs are shivering in this cold, wet spring.

Fly predators are tiny, non-biting black insects that lay their eggs in fly eggs. The resulting larva eats the fly egg contents — future flies — and seriously decreases the fly population with no harmful chemicals.

I started using them more than a dozen years ago when we had an 18-acre, 20 horse breeding farm outside town. Needless to say, we had flies. Since I’m hesitant to use harsh chemical around my animals, I researched more healthy means of fly control.

Fly predators topped the list because they markedly decreased fly populations by—in my estimate—at least 90 percent.

They are easy to use. The number of horses you have determines the number of predators you will need each month during the summer. I’m down to two horses and order the monthly 5,000 package. It costs about $23 per month including shipping and is well worth it. It is estimated by the company the 5,000 package is good for up to six horses. It is the smallest package that this company offers.

The predators come in a small cardboard box with a clear plastic envelope inside. The predators are ready to be distributed when the little guys start walking around in the envelope. I place mine at various locations under manure piles in the corral and barn. Be sure to cover them up with manure because magpies love them and will eat a whole shipment if they get the chance.

I can testify to how valuable the predators are because one year we were considering moving so I didn’t order any. The farm hosted several horse clinics annually and I was humiliated as flies swarmed my guests and their horses. This was despite numerous fly traps as well as finally spraying chemicals in desperation to relieve my poor animals.

I’ve always used the Spalding brand but there are several others out there. I chose Spalding because they have been in business about 45 years and have excellent customer service. You can find several other online, at equine supply companies and even on Amazon. If you use predators, you can’t use feed through or fly spray control because that will kill the predators as well as the flies. Besides, in my experience, you won’t need other means of barnyard fly control.

Desirai Schild has been involved in raising, breeding and showing gaited horses in eastern Idaho for more than 20 years. She may be reached at freditor@postregister.com.

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