While out checking the horses and ponies this week, I spied my first ever live Bot Fly, also known as a Gad Fly or warble. It was of a significant size (looked like a large bee), very persistent and had its ovipositor (egg laying tube) out and was actively targeting one of the ponies.
Although we are at the end of the summer, this shows that summer pests are still a problem. As well as bots and horse flies, midges are still in abundance, thanks to our warm wet August. This has lead to many new cases of ‘sweet itch’, caused by an allergy to midge bites, and indeed even increased scratching and tail rubbing in non-allergic horses.
Cutasol Foam is our unique new product to help manage sweet itch. It feels a bit like shaving foam in the hand, and this allows really easy distribution and absorption, with no nasty oily residue to wash off- you literally don’t need to wash your hand afterwards, or use gloves. It’s really moisturising and helps re-growth of mane and tail. As it is soothing it also helps reduce future scratching.
Also at this time of year we need to be vigilant about ‘blow flies’. These are what most of us would call the ‘ordinary’ blue bottle or house fly. These will buzz around any kind of moisture, bad smell or wound. They will often target the eyes and cause them to weep. Worst of all, unless a wound is protected, they will cause and spread infection and even lay eggs in the wound which will hatch into maggots.
Blow fly ‘strike’ will also hit rabbits and sheep’s rear ends if they are at all dirty, again causing a revolting maggot infestation.
The use of a waterproof barrier cream or spray, such as our SCP spray or the Aluminium spray, will provide a safe, lasting and antiseptic barrier to prevent flies infesting wounds and help keep them clean and accelerate healing.
Equine Bot Flies generally lay eggs and become a pest in late summer/ early autumn. They can cause weight loss and injury to horses indirectly as their ‘dive bombing’ persistence can cause horses to take fright and gallop.
The life cycle means the larvae hatch outside the horse on its hairs, and then migrate to the mouth, where they are ingested and continue to develop as larvae in the intestines. Here they can damage the mucosa of both the mouth and intestines, causing ulceration and other GI problems.
The good news is that any ivermectin based wormer will kill Bot Fly larvae.