How Far Do Flies Fly?

 Battling flies in the summertime is a given.  Some years, though, are worse than others... and I have a theory about that.

We've used every known means for battling flies at the barn.  We've used fly spray on the horses... they hate it, and I have never found one that truly works.  I swear the flies have little tiny gas masks!  

The horses spend their summers with fly masks on during the day to keep them out of their eyes and face.  We also keep multiple fans blowing in and around the barn.

We have about 15 of these solar fly traps around the farm - that start catching flies in Spring and continue until autumn.  We catch billions of flies this way.  Eventually, the sun bakes them and they end up in a pile inside the solar catcher.  The traps are eventually dumped into the compost pile, where those flies provide necessary protein.

We keep fly tapes on hand and change them liberally.  Lately, we catch this amount of flies on a fly tape in a single day.  We hang them around the barn, in the henhouses, in the duck house, in the donkey house, and in the greenhouse.  They are effective, but need to be changed on a daily basis... and, even through they are fairly inexpensive, we could spend our life savings on these alone.

Now... about that theory as to why some years are worse than others :  Some years back, the closest dairy farm (about a quarter mile down the road from us) sold their cows and quit the dairy business.  After those cows left, we noticed a marked increase in the amount of flies around the farm.  This year, the next dairy farm further down the road, no longer has cows.  And this year, the flies are impossible... worse than they have ever been.  Hubbs wondered if having a warmer winter such as last season might be the cause.  Personally, I wonder if a decrease in the number of farm animals locally might have an effect.  I suppose we'll never know... but that's my theory and I'm sticking to it.

How far will a fly fly for a fresh pile of manure?  I consulted the Google and found it theorized that they travel a mile or two... which might give support to my suspicion!  Anyone looking for material for a agriculture thesis?

Just when we need it badly, the weather is changing today.  It will be in the low 70's for the next couple of days... a welcomed relief from what the earlier part of the week was like!

It's definitely been pool weather!

Despite the heat, the garden is doing well.  Rain is predicted for the next couple of days... giving me a break from watering.  


I'll be spending most of the next two days in the kitchen making picnic goodies for this weekend.

We are in the midst of a coneflower explosion.  I love these flowers.  Each year there are more and more and more of them.

Despite the heat, the flies, and the droning on of the cicadas, it has been a spectacular summer thus far. 

I try to concentrate on the beauty that surrounds me, and not dwell on the nuisances.  Complaining about things over which I am powerless seems a waste of energy.  I may adopt this as my mantra to carry with me in the coming years.


jaz@octoberfarm said…
i hate to put a dent in your theory but we have had the worst fly season too. and there isn't a cow anywhere to be found around here. and they are the super big black ones that are just plain gross. the ants are almost taking over too. i hope it's the lack of deep winter freezes and not a change in evolution where insects win!
The JR said…
My Farrier and I were talking about it on his last visit. He noticed the dramatic increase in flies this year too. I've been on a killing spree here in Mississippi. I have the stinky bags out around the chickens. Home made fly traps with milk jugs and other plastic things (using the tops from the past stinky bags). I bait them with yucky stuff to catch flies. These are scattered around the pastures.

I have sprayed and sprayed the poop pile. The sides of the barn and any place where the flies like to congregate. I started with 10% then went to 13% pyrethrin. Changed to Lintox. Lintox has a very strong odor and I only spray it on the outside walls of our barn and loafing sheds.

I have decreased the fly population around here and I can tell you that I now have very few inside the barn. We do use fly mesh on the windows and at the door ways and it helps to keep them out.

The last thing I bought is the electronic blue light zappers. They have been killing the devil out of bugs. I really think they are killing a lot of the gnats because I noticed that the small flying things around the poop pile has just about disappeared.

An old man told me the only way to kill horse flies is to take 2 bricks and smack them together (with the horse fly in the middle). Of course he was being sarcastic. But, the blue lights do attract some of the green heads and the big horse flies. And, in my opinion....every dead one not biting our horses.

Good luck with your fly killing.

Amanda Rose said…
I have been pretty lucky this year and the flies have been normal, but I don't have livestock any more to notice if they are being hounded. I don't know if they still make it, but when I still had horses there used to be a fly tape that wound on a wheel. We used to hang the wheel in the rafters of the barn, and string it across to the other end. It was white in a dark barn, so it attracted them quickly. When it filled up, we'd trim off, and pull another string off the wheel. It took a while, but it did make a noticeable dent in the flies. Also have you tried those fly parasites they advertise in the magazines to seed your manure piles with? Some of my friends swear by them.
Dee J. Hartman said…
I am impressed with JR's response! ...But I wish that somehow you could publish and get paid for your abc(amazing, beautiful, creative) blogs! They are all so professional, your photos are beautiful and compliment your story perfectly, each day. I have truly been amazed! So, have you ever considered going national with your creative talent of writing a blog and getting paid, like in a magazine?
Marsha said…
We don’t have a lot of flies but we have lots of mice from all the rain they have come inside and I don’t know what is worse flies or mice!
sheryl h said…
i have lived in my home for over 20 years (in town) and hardly ever see a fly in my house or on my backyard patio. one year the flies were so bad that they were in the house and horrible on the patio. my brother and his family were visiting from louisiana and i was totally embarrassed by the fly invasion. i have a picture of my brother and sister-in-law crossing fly swatters like swords. "old timers" in town said the crazy fly invasion was because of the cicadas. i don't recall the details but maybe it was because birds and things that ate flies were enjoying cicadas. anyway i never had a fly problem since that year.
This N That said…
The only thing that I know of that catches is flys is Zoey and you would need a whole herd.I’m with Jack! Maybe the cicadas presence Has has something to do with it.Happy for the rain and the cooler temps. I will survive the humidity. Hope you had a good day. Hugs
Lynne said…
I have nothing to add to “fly theory “ . . .
All the flies though, protect the watermelon for the picnic!
Terry said…
Fly predators have been very effective controlling the fly population on our ranch. I’ve been using them for several years, and we are virtually fly free. There are many companies you can get them from. I use Spalding Labs. They ship them to me monthly.