Farm Problems: How to Control Flies in the Barnyard

Posted by Staff Writer
Raul Lieberworth/Flickr

They may be small, but flies are a big problem when you have farm animals!

Flies are a serious annoyance around the barnyard. They seem to sprout up out of nowhere, and once you have a fly infestation it can be challenging to get rid of them.

Flies are not only a nuisance, they may also carry disease. Flies lay their eggs in feces, garbage, and other rotting material. Pathogens collect on the small hairs covering their legs and bodies, and can be easily transferred to new surfaces in a matter of seconds. This means that if your animals get a scratch or cut, it can become infected due to contact with flies, or they can catch a disease.

Some of the diseases flies carry are typhoid, cholera, and dysentary, which can also be transmitted to humans. They may also carry the eggs of parasitic worms that lodge themselves in an animal or human's digestive tract.

fly closup

The lifecycle of a common fly is around three weeks, and they are most active during spring and summer in warm, moist weather. Adults can lay up to 100 eggs at a time, adding up to over 500 eggs in a single female's life. It takes 12 hours for an egg to hatch, and then another 10 days for the maggot to transform into fully-grown adult flies.

If you have a fly problem, fear not - You can get rid of them with a little bit of hard work and some changes in your daily habits. Here is our five-step plan for getting rid of flies without the need for harsh chemical poisons:

closeup of house fly

1. Keep it clean:

Rake up old hay, straw and droppings every single day. Do not let them sit and start to decompose, or you will definitely attract flies.

2. Keep it dry:

Never let your animals' bedding get wet with urine or water, and if it does become wet make sure to change it out quickly. Also watch out for any standing water such as buckets, puddles, wheelbarrows, tarps, etc.

Flies love standing water, and mosquitoes do too! Change the water in your birdbaths frequently, and after a rain, flip over anything that has collected water and let it dry out completely.

3. Cut the grass:

Flies love to congregate in tall, wet grass (even morning dew is enough to keep them happy). If you keep the lawn and fields mowed, they will have one less place to hide.

Fly On The Grass

4. Use diatomaceous earth:

After you have raked and cleaned out any moist hay, droppings, grass clippings, etc., spread diatomaceous earth over the dry ground. Diatomaceous earth is a soft white powder made up of fossilized algae with sharp edges. It kills flies and maggots by slicing through their outer layer and causing them to dehydrate. It will turn the ground bright white, but it has none of the harsh smells or poisonous components you will find in chemical fly repellents.

5. Keep compost covered:

Compost is definitely a farmer's friend, but if you leave your compost pile out in the open it will become a fly breeding colony in no time. Keep rotten foods covered in a closed barrel, or if it is a large pile cover it in a black tarp. This will also speed up the composting process.

The best cure for flies is prevention - even if you don't have a problem now, you will be much better off following the steps above to make sure it never gets out of hand. Your animals, and your nerves, will thank you!

How do you control flies on your property? Tell us in the comments below. 

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Farm Problems: How to Control Flies in the Barnyard