Horse Tack Review

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Stop Biting, Disease-Carrying Stable Flies in their Tracks


Are your animals plagued by stable flies? Tell-tail signs include foot stamping, tail switching, and throwing their head down toward their front legs. The stable fly, or dog fly, is often found around animal enclosures, stables, kennels and feedlots - wherever their hosts congregate.

Stable flies look very similar to house flies but have one distinctive difference - a straw-like proboscis that extends forward from their face that they use to drill into flesh. Stable flies feed on blood and are vicious biters. They inflict painful bites on the legs of horses, cattle and people, as well as on the ears of dogs and cats. The bites are painful, leave scars on some people and can actually scar or crop the tips of dogs’ ears.

Stable flies are not only an annoyance but can transmit a number of diseases, and serious secondary infections may also occur at the bite wound.

Animals can become weakened from blood loss and continual irritation which can lead to reduced weight in horses, reduced weight-gain in cattle, and reduced milk production in dairy cows. Serious problems may also result if a horse shies from a stable fly bite while being ridden.

“Sanitation is the first step in a fly control program,” explains Bill Warner, new product development manager for Farnam Companies, Inc.

Remove manure regularly, clean around silage pits and feed aprons, under fences and gates and around water systems. The stable fly prefers to breed in rotting vegetation and older manure mixed with hay or feed and can breed in grass clippings and mulch piles.

“Unfortunately, adult stable flies can fly up to 140 miles or more from their breeding sites, so protection for your animals may be necessary even if they are not breeding on site,” Warner said.

The Bite Free line of fly products can offer that protection. The Bite Free Stable Fly Trap is specifically designed and scientifically proven to attract and kill stable flies without insecticides. Each economical trap is compact in size yet offers a large 360° trapping surface that can hold more than 8,000 biting stable flies. The special adhesive on this weather-proof trap is odor free and won’t dry out, melt, or wash away.

Stable flies are attracted to bright objects that reflect sunlight and most commonly found in the biting zone, from the ground up to four feet. By placing the Bite Free Stable Fly Trap in direct sunlight, preferably at least 10 feet away from structures, it is a biting fly magnet. When it is full, just throw it away and replace it with another for continuous protection.

The Bite Free Stable Fly Trap is ideal for use around stables, cattle ranches, poultry operations, kennels, restaurants, home or garden. It can be used in conjunction with the EZ Trap® or other sticky fly traps to target other types of nuisance flies for broader control.

As an additional precaution, Bite Free™ Biting Fly Repellent provides protection against biting stable flies, horn flies, horse flies, deer flies, gnats, mosquitoes and other nuisance flies for five to seven days. It also repels and kills deer ticks that may transmit Lyme Disease. Bite Free Biting Fly Repellent may be applied either as a spray or as a wipe. The ready-to-use, water-based formula is gentle and contains sunscreen for protection against harmful UV rays.

Celebrating 60 years of sharing your passion for animals, Farnam Companies, Inc. is a leader in the animal health products industry. For information about Farnam Horse Products, in the U.S. call toll free at (800) 234-2269, direct at (602) 285-1660 or visit