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).
Dawn Allen has been a valued agent at Spalding Labs since 2014. She's been trail riding since she was a little kid. Her Grandpa called her a rebellious young lady as she used to untie the old pony, boost her kid brother up, hop atop herself, and off they would go without letting anyone know. Dawn passed her passion for horses on to her family. The past few years Dawn and her husband have been basking in the glory of daughter Gabby's horse shows and competitive riding events. Gabby even trained her own from a young colt to a 6-year-old barrel racing and all-around show horse. Gabby graduated high school and relocated to Texas leaving Dawn and her husband time to enjoy the trails again on their two retired & retrained Standardbred Race War horses named "Cullen's Blue Jean" and "Fox Valley Lee." Both horses they adopted from a terrific organization, New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program. On June 15 they took part in the Day of the Cowboy 11th annual Mohican State Park Trail ride led by good friend, Helene Havener-Ware, and guided by the great Bob Orth. This ride was a first for both Dawn & her husband and she says will be forever memorable.
We often receive the question if Fly Predators can be released with free range chickens and other poultry. The answer is YES, they definitely can. Chicken find Fly Predators larvae a delicacy thus quite tasty but you can easily mitigate a Fly Predator buffet for your free rangers with 2 simple options. One, you can simply coop your free rangers for 24 hours when releasing your Fly Predators as once emerged Fly Predators are safe from poultry. Two, you can assemble these easy to make release stations. Our awesome entomologist on staff, Jessica Starcevich, put together these terrific how to instructions below!
Durable Fly Predator Release Station
1) Gather a piece of window screen (A), 3” PVC female adapter (B), a 3” PVC cleanout plug (C), a pair of scissors (D), a snap (E), a screw eye (F), and a hot glue gun/super glue, etc. (G).
2) Set the female adapter so that the threaded side is against the work surface, lay screen over the top, and glue into place. Cut excess screen away from the outside.
3) Flip the female adapter over so that the threaded side is up and the screen is against your work surface. Drill a pilot hole into the top of the clean out plug and thread in the screw eye.
4) Tie a loop of string/twine/wire/etc. around the snap and hang in your preferred location. Unscrew the clean out plug, add Fly Predators, replace the clean out plug, and clip snap to screw eye. You now have a release station for your Fly Predators that is protected from the elements as well as birds. Just dump out the old and replace with new Fly Predators when you receive your next shipment.
Included are photos of the materials you'll need and photo to show steps too! Easy! With this method either coat the string or sides of the PVC with Vaseline (Tanglefoot also works and could be found at your local hardware store).
Before 1944 my equine experience was limited to horses. This included draft horses, Morgans, and other breeds. Then, as a senior in high school I was told that the National Ski Patrol was accepting volunteers from high school seniors for the Tenth Mountain Division, part of the U.S. Army. It trained in the Colorado Rockies. I applied because I knew that after high school, at 18 years of age, I would promptly be induction into the armed forces that were fighting in World War II.
The Tenth Mountain Division appealed to me because I loved horses and, although the Cavalry was now entirely motorized, mule packing was a major part of the 10th Division training, and mules were half horse. Moreover, skiing was an essential part of the training regimen, and because I wanted to learn to ski, as well as being a mountain lover, I acquired the necessary letter of recommendation from my Scoutmaster and former horse owning employers.
The National Ski Patrol sent me a letter stating that, following infantry basic training, I would be transferred to the Tenth Mountain Division Training Center in Camp Hale, Colorado.
I excitedly looked forward to the mules, the skiing and Colorado.
My mother, however, was dismayed. She had learned that the Tenth Division, fighting in Italy, had suffered the highest casualty rate of any U.S. Army Division in the war.
I comforted her by telling her that my transfer to the Tenth Division meant months of additional training before I was sent into combat.
As it turned out, the atomic bomb ended the war abruptly and I never got to serve in the Tenth. Instead I was shipped to Germany and spent a year in the post-war occupation, ending up as a 19-year-old criminal and denazification non-commissioned officer. No mules! No skiing! (But I did learn to ski on a furlough in the Bavarian Alps.)
Anyway, that was followed by eight years of college which included a lot of horse courses and patients, and summer jobs with horses like packing for the U.S. Forest Service (no mules), wrangling on ranches, cowboying. Even during the school years my equine jobs included working at the racetrack, working for a veterinarian, but… no mules.
Finally, in 1956, just short of 30 years of age, I became a practicing veterinarian. I can only remember one mule as a patient during my first two years of practice.
Then, after a few more years, we attended Bishop Mule Days in Bishop, California. The small, historic mountain town located along Highway 395 which runs along the Eastern border of the Sierra Nevada mountains. It calls itself “The Mule Capital of the World”, is headquarters for several packing outfitters, which serve both government and private projects, but mainly vacationers.
The Mule Show is a combination of a race meet, a rodeo, a gymnkhana, both an English and a Western Horse Show, a county fair and a circus.
The versatility of the hybrid beasts intrigued me. I became not only a regular attendee at Bishop Mule Days, but I decided to become a mule owner.
After adopting one mule and purchasing another I decided that the only way I could obtain the behavior I cherished in horses was to raise my own mules and handle them from birth onward.
We raised one or two foals a year on our small ranch, keeping some and selling others.
So, in 1980 we bred two good Quarter Horse mares to a Jack I had never seen. But, I had seen his offspring at Bishop Mule Days and was sure he would produce the kind of mules I wanted.
He did! Jordass Jean (my wife names them) was born first. She was the easiest equine to start that I ever experienced, before or since. “Jeanie” became famous, competing at Mule Days, winning the Hall of Fame. She excelled at English events, never refusing a jump in her life, and never – ever – showed hostility to a human. She did make pack trips, cattle roundups, and is the only mule in history to be invited to participate in the Olympics (Los Angeles, 1984, Santa Anita Racetrack, Equestrian Competition.) She did a flawless exhibition jump course.
Two weeks after “Jeanie” was born, a male mule was foaled at our place. Debby named him “Jassper”. I used him as my saddle “horse” until he was sold at age 12 and became a winning Team Penning mount. He ultimately ended up in Kentucky, ponying Thoroughbred colts during their race training days.
As the years passed, we raised and trained other mules. Why do they fascinate me?
The great horseman Pat Parelli, founder of The American Mule Association, once said, “Mules are just like horses, only more so.”
I know what he meant. The qualities of equine behavior, both the desirable and the less desirable, enhanced by hybrid vigor in two different, but compatible species – the horse and the donkey, are exaggerated in the mule.
If trained properly, the mule can often surpass both of its parents in many ways: strength, endurance, vigor, versatility and temperament. Typically smooth gaited and intelligent, they can bond strongly with people (like me).
I will be forever grateful to the Spalding Labs company for their Fly Predators. I have previously described how our relationship began many years ago. It was 1978. I had read about the Predator Flies, and my practice partner, Dr. Larry Dresher, was using them satisfactorily.
It was noon, on an August day. The temperature was over one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. I was at a large stable in an isolated canyon, working on a mare’s leg, trying to determine the cause of her lameness.
I suddenly became aware of the lack of flies. I asked the ranch manager who was standing nearby, “What are you using for fly control?” I assumed it was some kind of insecticide spray.
“Fly Predators,” she replied.
“That’s all?” I asked. “No insecticides?”
“Nope,” she responded. “Just Predators works great!”
I ordered Fly Predators the next day and have been a user ever since.
My place is in an isolated canyon, but off from the marine air layer that gives Western California its benevolent climate, summer temperatures reach extreme daily highs and consequently, the warm season (half the year) has a nasty fly season. The regular use of Spalding Fly Predators has tremendously reduced the fly problem. (I have persuaded my neighbors to use them too. They have horses, cattle, goats, and even emus that the coyotes haven’t yet wiped out.)
Spalding now has several other products available. They include various fly traps and sprays and Bye Bye Odor. I hope that Spalding achieves the success with these items that they did with their Fly Predators. I have become a loyal customer.
© Spalding Laboratories. All Rights Reserved.