Friday, September 4, 2009

When is Your Fly Season?

In Northern Nevada, the flies get bad from mid-August through October. It really depends on the snow -- how late it lingers in the spring and how early it comes in the fall, but that is the most common time of year for flies to start driving our horses crazy. I recall attempting to buy some fly traps from the feed store in September one year and being told that they didn't stock them anymore, because it is no longer fly season.

"It is in my backyard," I said. Being the smart ass that I am, I had to add, "Would you like to come take a look?'

I prefer that people who have lived in this area a long time be the ones in charge of inventory at our local stores. Any time that a Californian relocates here and takes a store management job, we end up not being able to find coats in the winter months, because they are ordering swimsuits six months in advance. In the Eastern Sierra you need coats, and not just fashion coats, but coats that have below freezing temperature ratings that are designed for people who climb Mount Everest.

I knew I was in trouble when the shoe departments stopped stocking boots and started stocking high heels. I can't ride a horse in high heels. I can't even walk in high heels. We were being metropolized whether we liked it or not. Thank goodness for Internet shopping. Now I buy most of my clothes from the Midwest, where folks are still more in touch with nature than social fads.

I also remember trying to buy stain for my barn in the fall, and being told they no longer stock it because it is "out of season". Say what? Was I supposed to be staining my barn in the triple-digit temperatures that plagued us that summer? Fall is a perfect time to stain your barn. You don't have the high winds and storms of the spring months nor the high heat of the summer months. The moderate temperatures allow you to work comfortably and allow the stain to dry quickly without remaining sticky. Who makes up these rules about what is "in season" when?

But back to my fly "season" discussion... This year the tail swishing and leg kicking commenced right on cue in mid-August. I started out just using fly sprays to offer a little relief....

However, once we found ourselves swatting dozens of flies a day that slithered their way into our house, I needed to be a little more aggressive. I went to the feed store to see if they had wised up and were still stocking fly traps. I found these eco-friendly, reusable soda bottles with fly trap tops and little packets of fly attractant call Rescue POP! Fly Traps. You can just buy new packets of attractant instead of throwing out all that plastic each time the trap fills up. I asked if they would continue to stock the fly attractant packets for another month or so, and was told that they planned to keep them in stock all year. That made sense. The little packets don't take up much shelf space, so the store will still have plenty of room for horse blankets and de-icers.

The one thing I found strange about this bottle was that it instructs you to set it in partial or full sun. Other fly traps I have used instructed me to set them in partial or full shade. I quickly learned why. After leaving this bottle in full sun for just a couple of days, the water and fly attractant completely evaporated. I think partial sun/shade is the way to go.

My husband noticed that there were still more flies crawling on our horses faces than there were in the trap. Truthfully, I think most types of fly traps are great as long as you don't have livestock around. The flies seem to be more attracted to large mammals than to the fly attractant in these bottles. Next year I'll be ordering Fly Predators.


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Before any Californians take offense, there's no need to. I grew up in California, so I'm well aware of the differences in climate and culture between the two locations. If anything, I'm poking fun at myself. I still have a stash of high heels in the back of my closet and bikinis in my drawer left over from my college years.

Reddunappy said...

Fly season up here? as soon as it quits freezing and killing the buggers until it freezes good again! I try to spray them about every morning to give them some relief! The flies are really sticky right now!
The yellow jackets are bad right now too!!!

Katharine Swan said...

Ooh yes, do try Fly Predators next year! My barn owner uses them and they are AWESOME. They really work. We really haven't had much of a problem with flies at my barn, and late July through August is usually the worst time for flies here (basically the peak of the summer).

Plus, they're cheap -- I think my barn owner said they are $20 a month, or about $100 for an entire season's worth. That's really not bad, when you think about how much money you spend on all those traps, sticky rolls, and bottles of fly spray!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Sounds like our climates and fly situation are similar. I think since we are at 7,000ft our flies aren't as bad, though. We have nice breezes most days that seem to dislodge the flies. I've only had to use Baby Doll's fly mask and fly spray a handful of times this summer.
Also our manure breaks down so fast because we are so dry. So, the manure just isn't as appealing for the flies to eat and lay their eggs in.

Even though I grew up in California and spent many summers there with my family who all still live around the Los Angeles area, I would never live there again. New Mexico seems to have absorbed a huge amount of ex-Californians, too. Our home prices soared and the traffic got worse. Things are just starting to settle down now. I think many of the Californians have sold out and are moving on to other places after they've come to realize that New Mexico is too 'Manana' than what they are used to. I'm glad, too. I would hate it if New Mexico turned into California.
I think we're getting some of that haze from the forest fires in California, too. Those fires are such a tragedy.


lytha said...

hey NM, seattle experienced its "californication" a few years ago, and now every 4th person you see on the street is from CA. it really drove up the housing market at the time.

fly traps! i went to the feedstore this summer and they said "oh, those traps don't work, your horse is more attractive to flies than the traps." and so i wondered why in america, you can buy fly traps, and if they actually work. the salesman sold me some fly strips, you know, those disgusting hanging sticky things. nasty!! but we were frustrated with so many flies in our home, and they did catch a few. for the stall, we got a huge sheet style sticky roll that you can tear off and roll down more when you need to. so far it has hung for 5 weeks, and we have that many flies on it.

so i went to the internet and started looking for homemadefly traps.

i tried the plastic bottle kind, where you cut off the top of the bottle and turn it upside down and stick it in the bottom half. this would work with a 2 liter bottle if we had those here. i used a 1 liter. then i put some fly attractant in, a mix of orange juice, wine, and sugar, and vinegar, and stuck it by my barn.

i have two flies in there! and many more messing with my horse, sigh.

my man came home with a fly swatter one day and things have been better. whenever a fly gets in, it doesn't have long to live, cuz we hunt them. fly swatters are fun!


Cheryl Ann said...

Nuzz, it is still fly season here, too! No offense taken! Our stores always seem to stock the future season's clothes, too. Do you ever drive to Cabela's in Reno? We can find stuff we need there, especially when it is on sale! I'm like you...still searching for the "fly solution". My cousin uses predators, but she also cleans her corrals twice a day!

Callie said...

Yeah, even with my Fly Predators in full action, we still have enough to be annoying. I have a little know solution, though. Take a clear baggy, fill with water and drop a couple of shiny new pennies in it,seal it up and hang it near their shelters or where the flies are most annoying if you can. Because the flies have so many eyes, it looks like a huge predator to them. It's supposed to really work. I'm going to give it a try.

Mrs Mom said...

Fly season on the coast... We have sand gants here - aprx 25 miles inland- early spring (march to early may) and then again late august to novemeber. Only thing I have found to keep them away- AND the skeeters, face flies, and other gnats- is Mosquito Halt. Expensive, but worth it as Sonny no longer stomps his legs to bits. Then there are those HUGE "B-52" flies. I swear they sound like a bomber coming in- and they are here all spring to fall. And of course the usual green headed horse flies all summer/ early fall.

Bikini??? Girl, I have not worn one of those since I was like 5! ;) Course in tundra Country, we only had about 5 days of summer type weather anyways, so who needed one? LOL

fernvalley01 said...

You can make your own fly trap with a pop bottle . Just take a 2 litre/quart (whatever) big pop bottle , cut top top off about 4 inchest from the cap ,invert the cut off part into the remainder of the bottle (will look like a funnel in a bottle. use coke or pepsi(any sweet pop/not diet) about an inch or 2 in th ebottom and a drop of dish soap . secure the trap sop the parts hold together(I use office staples) and hang it in a tree or a fence the flies and wasps like the sweet they fly in ,but cant't get back out. I it cheap ,easy and if it is in full sun the pop dehydrates and gets sticky sweet and it works better. you can always just top it up with pop when you need to.Hope that makes sense!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

It's funny, because years ago my relatives from California use to come to visit and say, "We couldn't possible live here. People drive too slow and there aren't enough shopping malls."

Now here we are a few years later, and people drive way too fast and there are shopping malls everywhere you look.

manker said...

here in montana.. the flies are insidious right now.. mostly when the temps rise .. tho it starts end of june and hopefully should be done here pretty quick...

hooraa for web shopping

rlgaither01 said...

My husband has a new fly product that doesn't attract more flies. You need to put it right over your attractant...manure in your barn. It's new so it's just getting into tack stores, but I can feel the drop in flies in our barn.