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).
As much as we don’t like to admit it, flies are a vital part of the ecosystem helping to break down natural waste materials. An over-abundance of flies, however, becomes an utterly annoying nuance not only to us humans but likewise our animal companions around us. Walk into many stables spring through summer and you’ll hear that dim buzz which reaches its peak as you walk in to an individual stall. In the heavily marketed world of horses we’re spoon fed how we can do this or that to get relief from flies. I’ve been a horse girl my entire life, started freelance writing in 1995 and working specifically in equestrian publishing in 2007 so I’ve been around a significant amount of flies and tried a plethora of “cure all” fly fixes. To let you down, there’s not a single thing that can 100% rid your stable of flies. Nope. For me, fly control is a partnership of resources; proper manure management, odor control, and eco-conscious products. I've personally used all these products and, other than working with the awesome folks at Spalding Labs, have no other commercial relationships with any them so this is not a paid endorsement.
STALL CLEANINGThe management of manure waste is a multi-part process. With sustainability and earth-friendly concepts in mind, I look to the 1st R – reduce. By using a pelleted bedding, I'm able to significantly reduce the amount of bedding used. Find a pelleted bedding that is 100% kiln-dried pine which will clump urine spots. Unlike shavings which are removed in droves with stall cleaning, a quality pelleted bedding sifts easily.
Keeping stable organization as clutter free as possible, I've used the same a multi-purposed cart for muck buckets, hay, bedding transport, water bucket refills, landscape, lawn care, and generally moving farm and home items about the property since 2010! I’ve also been using the same Shake’n Fork® and Flex’n Fork® since 2014. Have you ever heard the phrase, “I’m gonna come unglued like a Walmart coffee table?” Rather than buying cheap today for it to only break a month later, I believe in buying the best one can afford, once. The Shake’n Fork sifting action saves me time cleaning the stall, saves my arms from repeat actions with its push button mechanical sifting so I can save my hands for dressage training and writing. The Flex’n Fork fine tined version allows me to pick the small bits of manure and the miniature horses stall easily.
ODOR CONTROLFlies have a massive sense of smell and flock to the smells of urine and manure. Finishing off the stall cleaning process, I spray Bye Bye Odor® where the urine spot was on the stall mat. It’s not an odor cover up but rather the microbes in Bye Bye Odor eliminate odor all together. We all know how abrasive the smell of ammonia is and unkept it hovers over the first 6 inches of your stall. Lean down and take a whiff near your stall floor... you know, that area where you horse lays or typically eats their hay to realize what they breath to realize how much good adding Bye Bye Odor to your management program will be for your horse's overall health and well-being.
MANURE MANAGEMENTAll the manure and urine goes to the pile. If you live in a dry area and are lucky enough to have a spreader well congrats as this is wonderful manure management tool too. Remember to run your spreader at least every 7 days so as to beat any flies that might try reproducing in it. If you live in a wet area, it's best to pile your manure since flies can only breed in the first few inches of a pile whereas further in is simply too hot for breeding. Regularly turn your piles to help it compost faster. I use Fly Predators® to discontinue the production of adult flies. Unlike traps or baits, Fly Predators kill the flies before they even hatch thereby fixing the problem before it occurs! There are other fly parasite brands but the most advertised ones are not the same as Fly Predators and all 8 scientific study shows they are not effective for large animals. Stick with brand recognition with this one. Those other brands won't work.
ADULT FLIESMy neighbors behind me are not as fastidious with fly control but I have a fix for that. I have a super 6 foot tall privacy fence running the back length of the property which I hang house fly odor traps on the neighbor side of my fence. The key with odor traps is to make sure they are away from your pastures and stables as they are design to attract flies. To go a little further, I sprinkle little of my monthly Fly Predators shipment on my neighbors side of the fence where their horses normally manure. Fly Predators can travel up to 150 feet in their lifetime so they can reach those unpicked manure piles. My 2 neighbors on the other side of my property both use Fly Predators as well and this helps tremendously! To help with biting stable flies, I use the biting stable fly trap placed just outside my pasture in the sun set down at horse leg height on a wood dowel.
After all this, there will be nary a fly. Again with the brand recognition, there are cheaper products out there but, they too, come apart like Walmart coffee tables. I use Bye Bye Insects Fly & Mosquito Spray. It’s extremely humid in North Carolina but training and turning out in the sport of dressage is a must! I turnout in a Kool Coat white sheet with hood in the summer for the purpose of sun reflection in the low heat of early morning and late evening.
All of this sounds like tremendous amount of work, no? When I was at my North Carolina farm there’s a small garden, mini-orchard, 3 horses, 6 chickens, 2 dogs, 2 cats and a human with the production of rabbits and goats in the works AND I work full-time in writing and publishing. Therefore, it’s all about efficiency to run such an operation solo and making wise purchasing decisions when the end goal is sustainability. I can clean the 2 horse stable, prep feed & hay for the next 24 hours, refill waters, manage manure, and water newly planted fruit trees in under 25 minutes leaving me a good half hour lunch break allowing my mind to wander thinking about the next writing or development project before getting back to work.
I hope you find one, two or perhaps all of these options helpful to implement to your routine! Cheers!
Photo credit Mark J. Barrett.
Lulu was the only Donkey I have owned. She was one of my patients in a petting zoo, which was part of the facilities at a children’s summer camp in the mountains not far from my home.
The petting zoo included miniature horses, pot-bellied pigs, lambs, goats, ducks and Lulu.
Lulu was a full sized burro. The camp adopted her as a foal for the children to enjoy, but when she was two years of age the camp director told me that she had grown “too big” for the petting zoo and that he wanted to donate her to somebody who would provide her with a good home.
I had been thinking for some time of getting a donkey to control the weed growth in our highly inflammable canyon, especially outside my fence lines on our neighbors’ ranch properties. So, I said, “I’ll be glad to take her. She can be good company for my horses.”
That’s how I came to own Lulu, and she came to educate me, to understand the donkey mind and how it differs from the horse’s mind, and, importantly, she helped me to understand and appreciate the hybrid mule.
For example, as soon as I got her home I got a long rope, attached it to her halter, and tied her to an oak tree. She immediately started grazing the tall spring grass around the oak. I stood by with a sharp knife, ready to help her if she became entangled. I knew that, although halter broke, she had never before been staked out on a long tie rope.
It took about 15 minutes before she stepped into a loop of the rope. Then after another 5 or 10 minutes, the rope encircled another leg. As she moved out away from the tree the slack came out of the rope and tightened around her legs. Soon it disabled her. She went down. A horse, two years of age and never having been staked out, would have struggled and probably suffered rope burns or worse.
Lulu, however, quietly sniffed and examined the ropes encircling her legs, gently tried to free them by moving them, and then gave up. She sighed, laid her head on the ground, sighed again and then just relaxed.
Her behavior was so different than that of a horse experiencing a new and incapacitating situation that I marveled at the good judgment this species was capable of.
A few years later, when I became a mule owner, breeder, trainer, and admirer, this experience with Lulu, and several others led to my attitude towards mules; I often say, “I love horses! I respect mules!”
The dog has been called "Man's Best Friend", and I do not dispute this. The cow has been called "The Mother of Mankind". I can accept this. But, if these things are true, then surely the horse has been "Man's Best Servant". However, a servant can quit the job if abused, so perhaps the horse should be called "Man's Best Slave".
I submit that the horse has, of all domestic animals, been the most important to mankind. Those societies, which had the horse, had the most progressive cultures. The Australian aborigines had only the dog. The Natives of North America had only the dog. Those of South America had the dog, the llama, and the guinea pig. Most of Africa did not have the horse, except in the far North, along the Mediterranean Sea, and it was there that the most advanced civilizations occurred.
But Europe and Asia had the horse, along with sheep, goats, cattle, swine, and the dog. The horse gave humans the ability to travel long distances at relatively high rates of speed, enabling mankind to spread their knowledge, their skills, their religions, their technologies, and their genes. Countless millions of horses died for mankind at work and in our wars.
In World War II, for example, our highly technical war, the war that gave birth to the atomic bomb, and the jet airplane, millions of horses died. When Germany invaded the Soviet Union during World War II, it did so with 740,000 horses and mules and 4,300 veterinarians. Both the Soviets and the Germans each lost more than a thousand horses a day. Germany used 2-1/2 million horses in World War II and the Soviets used 3 million.
At one point, the Germans surrounded 2 Cossack divisions. Each Russian had to kill his own horse until 12,000 dead horses blanketed the ground.
When the Germans were surrounded at Stalingrad, and ordered by Hitler to fight to the death, they killed 32,000 horses to keep the soviets from getting them.
Towards the end of the war, a German cavalry division fled into Budapest as the Soviets advanced. The division had 22,000 troops. Only 650 survived. None of the horses did.
So, how has mankind rewarded the horse? To a great extent, with abuse and most of this abuse has not been the result of intentional cruelty, but to ignorance; and failure to understand the behavior of this physically powerful but extremely timid prey creature whose only effective means of surviving predation is flight.
When I graduated veterinary school in 1956, the horse population of the U.S.A. was down to 2.2 million, one tenth of what it had been 50 years earlier in 1906. After 6,000 years of domestication, the horse had become obsolete, made so by the internal combustion engine. Automobiles, tractors and trucks had largely replaced the horse.
I wanted to practice, at least partially, with horses, so my only alternatives at the time seemed to be the racetrack or a cattle ranching area where the horse would continue to serve its traditional role. I had worked at the racetrack as a student, and wasn't interested in it. So, I located in a ranching area filled with cattle ranches and horse farms. I could not foresee that half a century later, this region would be largely suburbanized, and home to countless pleasure and show horses of every possible breed and discipline.
Today, there are more than 9 million equines in the U.S.A., but their role has changed. True working horses continue to lessen in numbers. The increase is almost entirely due to horses used for recreational purposes. When I say "recreation", I include racehorses, show horses, pleasure and trail horses, therapeutic riding horses and even horses kept exclusively as companion animals, or pets.
Then, less than a decade into the 21sl Century, a new problem arose: The Unwanted Horse! This problem has multiple causes:
1. Excessive breeding, causing a surplus of horses especially when combined with:
2. Early orthopedic lameness from excessive work while young, leading to unsoundness
3. A depressed economy and
4. A prolonged drought both occurring after:
5. The slaughter ban
I'm old enough to remember when most of the dog food we purchased when I was a child contained horsemeat.
I'm also a veteran of World War II and I am sure that I unknowingly ate horsemeat during those war years because it was widely marketed as beef.
Now, there is no question that the horse slaughter industry needed reform. The transport of horses was often unacceptable. The handling and actual slaughter of horses at the packing plants was often unacceptable. But, as so often happens when evils are corrected in human societies, we over-react and end up creating new problems.
When the present day anti-slaughter bans were legislated, I predicted that, in eliminating one set of problems, we would, because emotion interferes with reason and common sense, end up by creating new and even bigger problems. And, that's exactly what has happened.
Today, nearly 40,000 Mustangs, culled from feral herds because of overpopulation and environmental damage, waste their life away, at taxpayers' expense, in crowded corrals, because of the slaughter ban. A few are adopted, but most spend their life as unwanted horses.
Because of our depressed economy, many people are unable to afford to properly feed and care for their horses. Some of these people, unable to make rational decisions, allow their horses to starve and waste away. We constantly hear of legal action being taken in such cases.
Other people, self deceptive, turn their horses loose on public lands, or on private agricultural lands.
I learned as a practitioner, that the people who need to get rid of a dog, and dump it by some farm or ranch gate, are not intentionally cruel. I've had dogs and even domestic rabbits dumped at my rural property. These people can't deal with reality. They practice denial. They tell themselves, their children and other people, "Oh! We found a nice home for our pet in the country." It's because they do not have the courage to take their unwanted pet to a dog pound or animal shelter.
Now, we are seeing the same thing with horses. Before the slaughter ban, such people took the unwanted horse to an auction sale. It was usually purchased by a slaughter company, but they told themselves that, "we sold her. She has a new home."
But, there is another reason for the plethora of unwanted horses, and it's a reason we don't hear about. We hear about the economy and about the surplus of horses, but we don't hear about the leading reason for unwanted horses, and that is unsoundness.
I recently made a new video; the first one I've done which has nothing to do with equine behavior. The title is Lameness: Its Cause and Prevention. In it, I list the eleven causes of lameness in horses, including: old age, defective conformation, malnutrition, lack of exercise, injury from an unsafe environment, inappropriate working ground surface, improper foot care, laminitis, infection, genetic predisposition, and - The leading cause of lameness: Excessive work in the immature horse. This is the leading cause of lameness ending up with unwanted horses.
If it is a mare and she goes lame at 5 or 6 or 7 years of age, she ends up as a broodmare, probably passing her predisposition to lameness on to her offspring.
If the horse is a male, unless it is the exceptional stallion that has won a lot of money, he ends up as an unwanted horse.
When I was young, we started horses under saddle and 4 or 5 years of age, and we called them "colts". When I became a veterinarian the only futurities were in the racing industry, and 70% of those young horses suffered premature orthopedic injuries often ending their career. A 2-year-old horse is a baby. A pre-adolescent. Even if the epiphyses are closed radiographically, these are immature horses. Today we have barrel racing futurities, cutting futurities, reining futurities and so on.
Several years ago, the A.A.E.P. met in Dallas. The cutting horse futurities were being held in nearby Fort Worth and 3 colleagues from Sweden asked me if I could somehow get them to see the futurity. I got a local colleague, one of my former interns, with a car to take the 5 of us to Fort Worth that evening.
We watched 3 horses compete, and then one of the Swedes, a professor at the vet school in Uppsala said, "This is incredible. It must take many years to train a horse to do this."
"But", I protested. "This is a futurity."
"I do not know what this word means", my Swedish colleague replied.
"These are 3 year olds", I explained.
"They have only had one year of training". The professor looked thoughtful. Then, he said, "I have only two comments. What amazing performance, and what is happening to their poor legs?
When dressage became popular in my area, at first the horses were nearly all retired unsuccessful Thoroughbred racehorses. Then imported Warmbloods started to arrive from Europe. I asked several of my clients why they were willing to pay such high prices for the Warmbloods.
"Because they stay sound," I was told. But, I knew why they stayed sound. They weren't started until they were four, and weren't campaigned hard until five. Also, the arena surfaces in Western Europe were resilient. Ours were often too hard or made of deep sand, which has no resiliency and stresses the soft tissues severely.
So, we Americans started them at two and they broke down prematurely.
Ironically, today many Europeans are starting their horses at two, and a high percentage breakdown before middle age.
Why do we do this?
We do it because of mankind's two major faults: Greed and Ignorance.
We start immature horses and severely stress their limbs because of greed. If breeders can sell colts a year earlier it saves them a lot of money in feed bills, veterinary and farrier bills.
It's much easier for trainers to start colts as 2 year olds than later. They are more submissive when immature. It's easier to get desirable performance in a youngster. One of the nation's top reining horse trainers acknowledged this to me, admitted how much easier it was, and regretfully admitted that it was a major contributor to the cause of lameness. Sadly, he calls them "Disposable Horses".
When I moved to California in 1957, my wife rode cutting horses for one of my clients. As a result, I went to quite a few weekend competitions. One horse I saw at every event was a gelding named "Smokey Joe." One day I saw him yawn. I was startled to see a 20-year-old mouth. I said to the mounted owner," How old is he?"
"Nineteen," he replied.
"Wow," I said. "And he cuts every weekend and is perfectly sound and his legs are perfectly clean."
"I cut on him every day" the rider replied. "He's one tough horse. But then, he wasn't broke to ride until he was nine."
The other factor is ignorance. Most of the people who own these horses are naive. They see all the breeders and all the trainers approving so they assume it's okay.
Equine practitioners are kept busy injecting joints, not only therapeutically, but also prophylactically.
The pharmaceutical industry advertises its products in lay horse publications, and encourages the use of intra-articular preparations to prevent lameness. Can you imagine this happening in the world of promising high school athletes?
Remember, Mary Lou Retton, the 13-year-old Olympic Gold Medal gymnast? Still a young woman, I saw her on TV endorsing a brand of hip replacements. Too much work at too young an age!
A recent study revealed that growing colts that got exercise had better musculoskeletal development than under exercised colts. Of course! But that doesn't mean that the extreme stresses involved in racing, reining, jumping, and cutting are beneficial to the young, immature colt.
Why do we do these things to an animal that will actually die for us? Why does soreing still go on in the Tennessee Walking Horse competitions? Why are we still seeing "peanut rollers" in Western Pleasure classes; downhill horses that are throwing excessive weight on the forelimbs contributing to premature lameness? Why are we seeing unnecessary low head carriage in cutting and reining horses? Why do judges give such horses preference? Why do the breed associations not disqualify such judges? We know that excess weight on the forehand contributes to orthopedic disease. Why do we see hyperflexion of the head and neck increasingly in Western horses, English horses and dressage horses? Our German colleague, Dr. Gerd Heuschmann is condemned by some because he has dared to expose the physical and mental damage done to the horse by "Rollkur", the ridiculous and grotesque excessive head and neck hyperflexion approved by so many dressage judges.
Recently, at last, the AVMA Journal has campaigned for more humane horsemanship. We are the most qualified people to help stop these tragic practices. They contribute to crippling innocent horses. They are overworked at too young an age and increase the rate of premature unsoundness. Unnaturally, low head carriage and hyperflexion of the head and neck are incompatible with truly good horsemanship. We, as a profession should protest these excesses.
Let me be clear, I am not opposed to the sports of racing or horse shows. These activities have helped to produce superior horses. But both sports are replete with abusive elements and if we doctors of veterinary medicine vigorously condemn these grotesque practices, there will be fewer "Unwanted Horses" in the future.
Solving the Unwanted Horse Problem
1. Abolish the slaughter ban. Restore equine slaughter with rigidly enforced regulations on transport, handling and actual slaughter.
2. Allow mustang programs to be set up and supervised by scientifically qualified professionals. Do not allow the opinions of unqualified individuals to determine policy.
3. Let the veterinary profession, in conjunction with selected and approved horsemanship masters, recommend the rules for using horses in all horse show disciplines, horse racing, and other competitive events. This is in order to minimize abusive techniques.
4. Make it a felony to abandon a horse on public or private property, and enforce the law.
If all 4 of the above were done, it would dramatically reduce the presently huge number of unwanted horses.
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