White's World

Protect your Horses from the Pesky Pests

by T H WHITE on April 6, 2023
Equine coat, hoof and health care products from Car & Day & Martin available from our Marlborough Country Store.We all love warm weather, but as the temperature rises, flies are an increasing problem, especially for anyone who keeps horses.  Carr & Day & Martin are a well known British brand who have been making equine care products since their inception in 1765. The company produce a full range of coat, hoof and health care products for horses which are so well established and respected, they have a Royal Warrant which covers the range.

Interestingly, alongside the horse care products, Carr & Day & Martin also has a range of fly killers which have amassed a quiet and very loyal following, and are well worth considering as we move into the summer months.

Does fly spray kill flies?

A common misconception is that fly sprays work to kill flies. Although to an equine this would be an ideal scenario, flies play a vital role in pollination and as well as in the food chain. Flies don’t have eyes, they instead find horses through their bodily secretions such as lactic acid from sweat and carbon dioxide that humans and horses breathe out. Therefore, fly repellents work to mask these smells so make the horse ‘ invisible’ to being detected by the fly.

One of the best known fly repellent ingredients, is DEET. This is a synthetic compound that was originally made for soldiers trekking through the rain forest in 1946. It’s not so well known that it is nearly scentless. DEET has a fantastic action over midges – the pesky flies that cause Sweet Itch, among other flying and biting insects. DEET confuses flies, making it harder for the horse to be found and therefore bitten.

Flygard extra strength from Carr & Day & Martin is currently the strongest DEET based fly spray on the UK market coming in at 20% DEET which could last up to 12 hours.

Do natural fly sprays even work?

With so many different formulations it can be an expensive quest to find a natural but effective approach to fly control. Citronella has been used in fly control for generations in the equine industry. However in recent times, it has been deemed an ineffective fly repellent ingredient. This is due to the lack of scientific evidence to prove it has an effect on flies. This doesn’t mean citronella cannot be used in fly sprays. Under EU law, a natural fly spray must contain another active ingredient that has a proven action on flies to be classed as a fly repellent. This could be an ingredient such as lesser known Citriodiol. This is a completely natural compound that comes from eucalyptus oil. It has been proven to have a similar action over flies to DEET, making it an ideal natural alternative. So if you’re a fan of citronella, don’t fear! Just double check there is another ingredient listed on the back.

If you’re still sceptical about natural fly sprays working, pay close attention to the strength of the active ingredient which is normally displayed as a percentage on the back of the bottle. This can give an indication of how long the product will last, with the higher the concentration meaning the product will be longer lasting. Citromax from Carr & Day & Martin is currently the strongest Citriodiol based fly spray on the market, offering an effective natural option.

A full range of Carr & Day & Martin horse care products, including fly sprays listed above, are available from our Marlborough Country Store on London Road.  Pop along for a visit or call 01672 518408 for more details. 

All content is correct at the time of publishing. Specific product availability, special offers and the provision of services are subject to change and withdrawal at any time.

T H WHITEProtect your Horses from the Pesky Pests

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