The Pros and Cons of the Different Types of Fly Control for Your Stable

by Matt

Summer is here, but with it come the flies. When it comes to controlling flies in and around your barn, you have many different options. Choosing the right type of fly control for your stable will depend on a number of factors, and each fly management system has its own pros and cons. 

What You Need to Know About Different Types of Fly Control

Here are the details you should know about the different types of fly control options available. We’ve highlighted some of the most common options to help you get started. 

Fly Predators

Fly predators are small non-stinging wasps that eat fly larvae, helping to break the fly life cycle and decreasing the fly population on your farm. They are a natural fly control option, and can be a great choice if you are concerned about the chemicals contained in fly sprays and other fly control methods. 

You can order fly predators from many companies, and they will be delivered to your door. During fly season, you will need to release fly predators on a monthly basis, which means you will have to order multiple times. In order for fly predators to be effective, you need to order enough of them to handle the fly population at your barn. Be sure to refer to the information provided by retailers to ensure you order the right amount. 


There’s a simple way to keep flies from bothering your horses while they’re in your stable: Fans. Barn fans create moving air, which keeps flies out of the area. If your horses will be stalled during the day, consider investing in a single fan to aim into each horse’s stall. Larger ceiling fans can also move air throughout the entire barn, reducing the flies in the area. 

Fly Spray Systems

Fly spray systems can dramatically cut down on insect population in barns. These systems deliver sprays of insecticide at pre-determined intervals, killing flies inside the barn. They work around the clock, and require very little maintenance. 

The major drawback of these systems is that they can be expensive, especially for larger barns. You will need to determine where to position each nozzle, and will want to target problem areas, such as over horse stalls or over the feed room. 

While a full fly spray system for your barn may be cost-prohibitive, retailers do offer smaller battery-powered units which can be effective in smaller areas. 

Fly Repellents 

Fly repellents and fly sprays are the go-to fly control for many horse owners. The exact type of fly repellent or fly spray that is best for your horse will depend on your location and the type of flies that are present in your area. You will also need to follow directions regarding application frequency, and many fly repellents need to be refreshed after a horse sweats or gets wet. 

Many horse owners find fly repellents containing pyrethrins to be most effective. However, pyrethrins are considered low-toxicity chemicals. While they may be a safer choice than other insecticides, pyrethrins can cause allergic reactions in humans and, at high doses, can cause pyrethrum toxicity in animals. 

Feed-Through Insect Growth Regulator

You can also break the fly life cycle by feeding insect growth regulator (IGR) products to your horses. These are products like Simplify or Solitude IGR. The active ingredients of these products pass through your horse, remaining active in his manure. There the ingredients prevent fly pupae from forming, reducing the fly population on your property. 

Feed-through IGR is effective, but you should really have all of the horses on your property on the same product to maximize the results. 

Other Fly Control Issues

No matter what fly control method you use, it’s important to practice some basic habits, like promptly removing manure from stalls and keeping your feed room clear. Combining multiple fly control methods may provide you with the best results, leaving you with happier, more comfortable horses.

8 responses on “The Pros and Cons of the Different Types of Fly Control for Your Stable

  1. Capri says:

    So are fly predators and feed through insect growth regulator together just redundant?

    • Matt Johnson says:

      Both fly-predators and Feed Through Insect Growth Regulators (IGR) work to inhibit fly reproduction by breaking the life-cycle at the larvae stage. The concern in using both wouldn’t necessarily be redundancy but could end up being counterproductive as IGRs can kill the fly-predator’s larvae as well. While no single solution is 100% effective, we recommend combining different methods for better fly control management, including sprays, repellents, as well as daily barn cleaning and maintenance.

      • I assume that this will mean releasing my predators NOT in my manure pile when using the feed through option as well. Where are the best places to release them, under my circumstances?

        • Matt Johnson says:

          Indeed, using both Fly-Predators in conjunction with IGRs may end up being counterproductive as both methods will inhibit the flies’ life cycle at the larval stage. If you add Fly-Predators to manure, the IGRs will also target their larvae. If you want to use both methods at the same time, then Fly Predators should be scattered around other areas where flies usually breed to prevent the next generation from hatching- perhaps look at decomposing hay or feed, weeds, or rough pasture. Keep in mind that it is recommended to use a combination of different methods for best results, including sprays, repellents, as well as daily barn cleaning and maintenance.

      • Sue Williams says:

        According to Spalding fly predator company the IGR solitude does not affect predators

  2. Gail Anderson says:

    The feed through products prevent life cycle of flies. How do these products affect other insects and beetles as well as water borne insects.

    • Matt Johnson says:

      Hello, the feed-through fly product is a pesticide that is added to horses’ feed which ends up in manure and disrupts the flies’ life cycle. This means that only flies that lay their eggs in manure will be affected (this includes house flies and stable flies). Other insects, beetles, and mosquitoes won’t be affected as they do not lay eggs in manure.

  3. Meg says:

    The feed thru product is a insect growth regulator that prevents formation of chitin in fly larvae as try to turn into adult flies. It isn’t a pesticide.

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