Equestrian Pest Control: What You Need to Know

Most Florida residents are familiar with the sorts of pests one might encounter and need to mitigate in terms of residential or commercial pest control services; but when horses are in the mix, the particular insects might not be as recognizable.

The insects most commonly encountered by equestrian pest control professionals include the horse and deer flies, characterized by strong, painful bites and swift flight. Attacks by horse and deer flies are rough on horses, and can lead to animal fatigue and weight loss; although only the females bite, their bites are so painful horses often attempt to flee from the attack, and can exhaust or injure themselves.

Horse flies in particular secrete an anticoagulant into the animal they’re biting, which leaves the wounds open and bleeding for hours — producing a spot highly vulnerable to additional infection or parasitic invasion. Worse, the flies are considered vector transmitters of additional diseases.

Another parasitic insect found among horses is the “horse bot”; bot fly larvae that live most of their life cycle in a horse’s stomach, producing symptoms including ulcers, paralysis of the esophagus and digestive tract occlusion.

Female bot flies lay eggs on the inside of a horse’s knees, where the animal can reach with its tongue and teeth. When the larvae find their way into a horse’s mouth, they burrow into the tongue and gums and eventually pass into the stomach and intestines, emerging months later as adult flies. While one or two larvae will likely cause no lasting damage to the horse, larger populations can become serious problems — and, in some cases, will present a threat to those handling and caring for the horses.

There are several methods to managing flies, bots and other common insects that our equestrian pest control experts can help you with; for more information on this or our other services, including bee and termite control, contact us today!