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Horse Pest Control

April 2020 SmartPak SmartTip of the Month: Controlling Flies from all Angles

Nothing ruins a day at the barn faster than bothersome flies. In addition to being a nuisance, insects can cause skin conditions and other health issues.



Some common concerns include allergies, hives, Sweet Itch, and Summer Sores. Horses can develop allergies and/or hives from a wide variety of environmental factors, including insects such as black flies, horn flies, and stable flies. Sweet Itch, also known as “summer itch” or summer seasonal recurrent dermatitis is an allergic reaction to the Culicoides biting midge or “no-see-um” gnat. Summer Sores or “Fly Sores” is caused by infection of the skin by the larvae of the large-mouth stomach worm Habronema (and Draschia).



A comprehensive fly control program incorporates strategies like manure management, protective clothing for horses, fly sprays, etc. Daily supplements like IGRs (Insect Growth Regulators) and defense supplements are another smart addition to building your horse’s no fly zone.

An IGR supplement is a feed-through option that prevents the development of house and stable flies. The supplement safely passes through the horse’s system and is excreted in the manure, regulating house and stable fly egg development and as existing adult flies die off, the overall fly population is significantly reduced within just 4 to 6 weeks.

SmartPak SmartBug-Off Ultra Pellets. Photo Courtesy SmartPak

An insect defense supplement can help to provide extra support against flies by making the horse unappealing to these biting bugs. The formulas for these supplements often include garlic, apple cider vinegar, and brewer’s yeast. (But, contrary to popular belief, they won’t make your horse smell like an Italian restaurant; most riders don’t even notice a difference!) SmartBug-Off Ultra Pellets provide the most comprehensive support available for horses who are bothered by flies and other pests.

This multi-pronged approach:

◆ Provides higher levels of key ingredients in the original SmartBug-Off formula
◆ Supports resilient skin and a normal inflammatory response with increased levels of MSM and Omega 3s
◆ Can be used for just one horse, or the entire barn!
◆ Comes in a tasty pellet with no added sugar!

These supplements reach their full benefit in about 4-6 weeks. It’s okay if it doesn’t kick in right away. Just keep an eye on your horse over the first several weeks for how he looks and feels in spite of the bugs.

Read more tips from SmartPak.

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