Monday, January 7, 2013

Bot Fly

January blog on the bot fly

Bot flies are gross, they are huge buzzing monstrosities with a big dangly butt.  They lay eggs on our horses and then the horse snoozles them and they go thru the digestive tract and make more. Eeeeewwwww!  Here are some helpful suggestions to get rid of them.   I am going to go through the conventional wisdom then the holistic way.

My horses used to attract bot flies, since I cleaned up their diet and they eat mosty organic food now, and have free choice minerals out, and eat the way horses are designed to, I haven't had any in about 8 years.  The theory is that horses who are getting adequate copper and sulfur are not bothered by bots, as are those with the proper Ph balance.  MSM or garlic are great sulfur sources.  SOD is a fantastic balanced copper source.  Apple cider vinegar, organic of course with the mother in it, also seems to deter them as well.  It either discourages the flies or kills the eggs in the stomach. I saw quite a few yellow eggs on other horses all over the state this year, so I know they are out there.  Many horses will go bonkers trying to get away from them, as they are really loud and sound like really big bees.

Bots usually lay their eggs on the horses legs, from the knee down.  Horses then itch with their teeth or rub their faces on the legs, and down the hatch the eggs go.  The larvae lives in the horses stomach for 8-10 months, then from first frost to late spring get deposited in the manure where it changes into a pupal and hangs out for 4-8 weeks during the early summer. Flies emerge from middle to late summer, they live for 7-10 days and lay upwards of 500 eggs, which stay on the hair of your horses legs for 7-14 days, then get ingested and it starts all over again.    Bot flies tend to be cyclic, like all of nature,  some years there are more than others.  It depends on the weather, how early it freezes and kills the flies in the fall, and how cold the spring is after the larvae gets deposited on the ground.

You can kill the larvae, keep the flies away, keep the eggs from hatching, or keep the eggs off the horse.  Here we go....

Chemical:  Ivermectin blast to get rid of the larvae.  Dr. Erin Zamzow, DVM offers the opinion that a 200lb dose of zimectrin, about 1/5 the normal  amount one would use. You would do this in the fall, about 30 days after the first killing frost, separate from any other wormer.  You do NOT want to mix the drug classes. Holistic : Anecdotal evidence is that the Dynamite parasite cocktail of 2 oz. herbal tonic, 1 oz. dry clay and 1 tsp of excel, fed in a mash of wet hay pellets for a week works also.

 Fly spray:  One with enough of an oil base to suffocate the eggs.  The oil plugs the blow hole on the bot eggs and kills them.  Even if the eggs get ingested, they are dead and won't hatch.  Dynashield sprayed or wiped (diluted) on the legs daily will work and will also repel the flies.  A lady in Alberta,  observed that when areas of bot eggs are saturated with Dynashield, the eggs were gone the next day.
Straight vegetable, mineral, or olive oil will also suffocate them without the added benefit of repelling the mature flies.  You must wipe it on every few days once the eggs are laid.  Oil on the tender muzzles can cause sunburn, so do this late in the day only.

Removing the eggs:  A straight razor, (careful!) shaver, bot brick or shedding stone will take the eggs off the hair.  You can also wash your horses legs with warm water during the egg laying season and that makes them come off.  If you choose to scrape them off, do so in an area where the horses won't ingest them in hay or grass, maybe on a piece of paper or something you can wrap up and throw away when you are done.

There you have it, brain is empty on this subject.

:), links page for dynamite link, for products listed above.

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