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Those Little Buggers

April 29, 2009

I just got a call this morning to tell me my little bugs are one their way. Around here, that is cause for great joy. The next exciting event is when the little cardboard box arrives. Then it is a daily watch to check for the little buggers. (is that a pun?) When enough of them hatch out of the fly larva, then we take them out to the barn and the pastures and sprinkle them around. Then we watch for the little things flying all over the place.

Does any of this sound familiar? If so, then I’m guessing you use fly predators, have used fly predators or know of someone who does. I believe the ‘haves’ in this group are happy campers cause they are not flapping and swatting at flies all summer.

Now I’ll come clean. We have used Spalding Fly Predators for the past 3 summers and are anxiously waiting for our first shipment for this season. The only time we use fly spray is when we take our horses to the fairgrounds for the 10 days of fair. And maybe when we go ride at Battle Ground Lake if they seem bad that day. We don’t even use fly masks except when we are hauling our horses because we have a stock trailer and I’m worried about hay scarps or something flying into their eyes. Those little bugs really work.

They do not control mosquitoes or horse flies but they do a bang up job on all those nasty things that try to crawl into your mouth or congregate around our horse’s eyes. We have a couple of those old fashioned sticky fly strips hanging over the stalls and they never get full. The amount of bugs you buy depends on the stock that you have. And the amount of stock that is around you. If you had two horses and were neighbors to the race track, these probably wouldn’t work well enough or would cost you a fortune. On a smaller scale, I have heard of some that buy them for their horses and some for their neighbors too just so they keep their fly problem under control. A word of warning – they work best if you can get a jump on the fly season. Once there is a fly problem, it is harder to get it under control.

How it works is that these little bugs exist only to eat out the center of the fly larva. Then they lay eggs in there and those hatch in 5 days and then those hungry little things eat the fly larva and it goes on and on. Because their food is so specialized, they will eventually eat themselves out of a job. To fix that problem, Spalding ships out new bugs each month. You can order them a month at a time or for the whole season like we do. They are actually tiny little wasp like creatures that don't sting and don't bite and they and they stay pretty close to the floor. The light switch for our barn is in Poco’s stall so when I go in to turn it off and I have my headlamp on, I see a few of them fluttering around the light. Turn the light off and the problem is solved.

I was talking to Maryjo out at Silver Buckle and they use them too. In fact, I’m sure there are a bunch of folks around here that do. It’s just something that I don’t hear talked about too much. If you haven’t used them and would like to hear more about how much I like them, send me an email or give me a call. I am a FAN.

PS – if you do decide to try them, tell the folks that you heard about them from me and I’ll get a bonus shipment.

 

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