Are you wondering why your Fly Predators haven't hatched yet and want to know how to help them hatch quicker? Jess our Fly Predator Scientist has the answers...
Why Fly Predator Hatch Times Vary
The species that comprise Fly Predators have a life cycle that is very dependent on overall average temperatures. At ideal conditions (around 85°F) it takes a minimum of 2 weeks for the Fly Predator to develop from egg to adult. At much cooler temperatures, they can take 6 weeks or more to hatch.
Generally, we try to send out Fly Predators that have already been incubated for about a week, so that in the warm summer months, they will begin hatching within 5 days of arrival. However, temperatures during travel and temperatures where they are being kept can have large impacts on how quickly Fly Predators hatch. During the first shipment of the season, it’s not unusual for your Fly Predators to take 10 to 14 days after arrival to emerge. It’s much faster than that during the heat of August.
How Do I Help My Fly Predators Hatch Quicker?
If your weather is warm and you want to make sure your Fly Predators hatch as quickly as possible, keep them at a consistently warm temperature once you receive them. Don’t put them in direct sun as this can make them too hot while in the bag. On top of a refrigerator is a cozy place, but write a note so you don’t forget them.
If your weather is cooler than normal, particularly if you have a chance of freezing night time temperatures, you will want to slow down the hatching of your Fly Predators. If they traveled through cool temperatures on their way to you (which often happens in the early spring and late fall), even once kept consistently warm, it may take 2 weeks or more for your Fly Predators to hatch. If kept outside once they arrive, and night time temperatures are still falling down into the 50’s, this could also result in delayed hatching, even if daytime temperatures are getting into the 70’s or higher. You can match the speed of emergence to match your weather, which is also how quickly your pest flies will be emerging.
Bottom line: don’t worry if your Fly Predators don’t hatch right away in the spring and fall. Try to keep them in a consistently warm location, such as on top of a refrigerator or other electrical appliance that generates a little heat (just don’t cook them).
Ever since I became a regular user of Spalding Labs’ Fly Predators, over 40 years ago, I have recommended them for fly control to my clients, my neighbors and my seminar audiences.
Invariably, those who heed my advice are satisfied with the results. However, occasionally, the response is unusual and sometimes funny.
For example, one of my clients had a serious fly problem. Like me, she lived in a canyon where the summer temperatures often rise to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, a paradise for barn and house flies. So, I recommended Fly Predators.
Sometime later she telephoned me and said, “I just received my first shipment of Fly Predators. I can’t see them because they are buried in the shavings in the plastic container, but that’s not why I’m calling. I see dozens of little bugs in with them. I’m afraid that they will damage the predators. Maybe they already have, because I don’t see the predators. Maybe the bugs have killed the predators.
I reassured her, “No! Those are the predators. They are hatching, so it’s time to put them out on the manure piles on your place.”
“But,” she protested, “If those are the predators, how can they kill the flies? They are too small.”
“Oh,” I responded, “They are very efficient at killing flies. Nature is full of small organisms killing large organisms.”
“Really?” she exclaimed.
“Sure,” I said. “The smallpox virus is so small that it cannot be seen under an ordinary microscope, yet that virus has killed hundreds of millions of human beings throughout history. And, I have seen horses killed by rattlesnakes less than three feet in length. That’s just two examples of smaller organisms killing much larger ones.”
“You mean the Fly Predators are dangerous?”
“Yes,” I replied. “But not to us. Only to the flies.”
I have had several people ask me how I am able to teach horses or other equines, to allow dentistry (teeth “floating”) without resistance, using no means of restraint such as a twitch, or sedation or tranquilization. I will explain. You will see that it takes time and patience and empathy – BUT – eventually it saves time, effort, and the patient not only tolerates the procedure, but also can actually enjoy it.
The method I have used on countless equine patients, including my own horses and mules, is simply a variation of how I teach them to accept a bit.
First, I introduce the patient to the taste of a sweet substance, such as molasses, syrup, or honey. Initially, I put a bit on my finger and explore the lips, gums, and tongue. As soon as the patient tells me, “Ooh! That tastes good!” I put some on the dental instrument, taking all the time necessary for the horse to accept it.
Eventually the equine will, without hurrying the lesson, enjoy the instrument being placed in the mouth. I do not yet touch the molar teeth.
In time, using more sweetener, I can place the back (not the blade) of the dental float on a molar tooth.
At this point, I am not yet using a speculum. I use my free hand to hold the tongue and as a result, the jaws do not close. There is just enough space for the instrument to fit between the molar teeth.
When this is accepted without resistance, using dabs of sweetener (or apple sauce) on the blade to encourage allowing it in the mouth, I gently and slowly stroke the molar surface with the back of the float blade. As soon as I see that the patient is calmly licking and accepting instrument in its mouth, I gently reverse the float blade and softly begin to rasp the teeth. I do not increase the vigor, the force, or the noise until the patient calmly accepts it. Then I gradually increase the force I am using.
Yes, I just described a time-consuming procedure, but, if it is a procedure to be repeated again, it will eventually save a lot of time. Moreover, it is safer for both the equine and the doctor and less stressful.
Starting wild colts in my youth, I used a similar method to get them to quietly accept a bit in their mouths. I used the same concept to teach colts to accept many routine procedures.
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