Whew! As the days continue to be incredibly hot, I am finding myself spending more of the afternoon hours indoors. While It gets the Sun off my face, the bad part is that flies also like the cool and the barn is buzzing with them!
Now, of course flies and horses will always be present together but I recently learned of two really cool and interesting ways to make your barn less inviting to those pesky black zoomers! Neither of these tactics cost very much money, nor do they take a long time to implement, and since they are physical fixtures that have perennial potential I am referring to them as semi-permanent.
While the evidence is split on both of these tactics, the Verdewear team thinks they are worth a shot since they don’t harm anyone and will not hurt your wallet.
Now, I am an animal-lover to a fault, and my realm of leniency includes insects and other crawlies and I am loathe to kill anything (even *gasp* spiders…their families may come after me), so these fixes will not ‘eliminate’ the problem so much as make your barn, house, or show stall area problematic for insects.
Project One: Fly ‘Predator’ Bags
This project is very simple, all you do is fill clear plastic baggies with water and hang them in your barn, preferably in doorways or windows where sunlight can shine on them.
How could this possibly work? Some people say that the flies view these strange floating orbs as predators, while others maintain that sunlight passing through the water is bent and then is confusing for flies as they fly by, resulting in them wishing to avoid the area. The plus to this project is it would be so easy to bring some plastic bags along to a show and hang them around your stall.
The only negatives I can foresee is that a horse may shy at such a strange object, or a bag might fall and scare a horse. But if care is taken to tie them securely and properly, and horses are introduced to them ahead of time, why not try it at your barn or next show?
Project Two: Catnip and Herbs!
This project worth double because while you are repelling insects you are also growing delicious herbs for your table! Seed packets are not very expensive and herbs are generally very easy to grow from seed.
Here is a list of herbs that have been known to repel insects (namely flies and mosquitoes!):
Catnip: Recent studies have shown that catnip oil is a better insect repellant than most major commercial chemical repellents, however catnip oil is hard to find and rather pricey, sp why not plant the actual herb all around your barn?! throw a handful in open spaces or better yet incorporate some within the existing landscaping (catnip does produce little whitish-lavender flowers so its not ugly). I would even hang some baskets of it or place window boxes under barn windows. Every time you walk by, ruffle it up a bit and with any luck flies and mosquitoes will choose to live elsewhere. Downsides include: barn kitties may be a little crazier than usual and catnip does tend to spread each year so you will have to pull some out if it starts to get out of hand.
Basil: Great for pastas and salads, super gross for buzzing beasties. There are so many fragrant varieties that you are sure to find one (or five!) that you like. It grows well in the garden, or in containers amongst other flowers and is even purported to improve the flavor of tomatoes if planted along side them.
Rosemary: Such a delicious addition to fish and chicken dinner recipes, why not plant some of this herb as well? As it grows pinch off a bit of the top to dry and then google away for a memorable, homegrown, and organic-herbed masterpiece!
Lavender: Lavender is one of the most beautiful and versatile herbs around, if I were you, I would plant it everywhere! It is used to flavor candies, frosting, and mixed drinks as well as to make cleaning products, soaps, and candles! Plus, in France it is placed on window sills to repel scorpions so you know it must have some serious insect-repelling abilities! Sachets can also me made with dried rosemary and placed in your tack trunk or garment bag for further pest repellent and a pleasant scent.
Mint: How refreshing is mint? There is a very good reason why Kentucky Derby-goers keep cool and refreshed with mint juleps. Additionally, mint, along with catnip (above) also repels mice and ants (which will come in handy when your poor kitties are napping for hours on end in the catnip bushes, hehe).
Give these tactics a try and tell us if you’ve had any success!
Amira & The Verdewear Team