The Sound Of Music Doe A Deer A Female Deer Whats the Buzz About Bots?

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Whats the Buzz About Bots?

It reminds me of the bees’ waltz, but it’s not a waltz, it’s not a bee.

One of the signs of summer is the arrival of one of nature’s great impostors. Their appearance indicates the beginning of a new season and the time of the Bot fly. The Bot fly, which resembles a large brown bee, heralds the start of your horse’s summer torture.

These large flies circle around the laying stock, preparing to start a new bird cycle. Horses are particularly fond of it, and the fly lays hundreds of eggs along the horse’s coat legs and chest hair. A buzzing sound signals the approach of a fly, and the fly is touching the horse’s skin, often driving the horse wild. Jumping, shaking, and running to avoid these noisy invaders is often ineffective, so the flies stay until they lay their eggs.

In order for flies to reproduce, the eggs must be ingested by animals, sometimes humans, where they grow and develop. The eggs in the stomach adhere to the stomach wall and are stored for 10 months. Here they are fed on feeders until they become larvae that are passed through the intestinal tract through faeces.

The resulting insect compost creates the next stage of the Bot fly’s life cycle, where the larvae now pupate. This stage takes about two months to complete, and the botfly, like a butterfly, emerges to complete the next step in its long life cycle.

A mature fly that resembles a hairy brown bee flies off to find a suitable host for the next generation… when the bed is exhausted and eggs are laid, the fly dies and the cycle ends.

It’s amazing how life evolves to perpetuate itself, but it can also harm its host. Although the damage is usually minor and more research is needed to effectively assess the long-term effects, it does cause minor damage to the stomach wall. A post-mortem examination reveals a pitted area in the stomach wall with bot eggs attached. Usually the stomach heals on its own, but severe infections can cause colic, stomach ulcers, and death when the intestines rupture. Infested horses often look poorly because feeding insects drain nutrients and blood from the horse’s system. Since the horse’s immune system is weakened, it is more difficult to get sick and survive the winter.

So how do you prevent bot flies from infecting your horses? This can only be done by breaking the cycle.

In the past, horsewomen used poison anthelmintics to kill the eggs in their stomachs, and special combs and knives were used to scrape the eggs from the horse’s body.

Now using greener, more earth (and animal) friendly products. Diatomaceous Earth is nature’s easiest way to break the Bot Fly cycle. Diatomaceous earth, often called DE, is bad for bots but good for horses. Feeding your horse DE every day will kill the eggs, kill the larvae, kill the pupae in the resulting manure, and improve the horse’s health.

Diatomic Earth is the skeletal remains of microorganisms. These creatures, called diatoms, were small algae that lived millions of years ago and left large skeletal deposits on the ancient sea floor. Today, it is mined and used in many ways for the greening of the world.

DE works on Bot Flies in several ways. First, it kills the eggs and larvae in the stomach through dehydration, and then flushes them out of the system. Pupae and other fly eggs and larvae hatched in the manure after DE is passed. Using DE will reduce the Bot fly population in addition to the normal house fly and stag fly populations.

DE then supplies additional minerals to the horse’s system. DE itself is a mineral (silica for bone and hair growth), but it contains 13 minerals that are essential for good health. Minerals include calcium, magnesium, titanium dioxide, gallium, vanadium, strontium, sodium, boron, iron, potassium, manganese, copper, and zirconium. This mineral resource improves the horse’s immunity and health.

DE also cleans the system. DE removes dead eggs and larvae from the horse’s digestive system and cleans out sand and other residual debris. DE kills other internal parasites and also washes them away. A horse with a clean gut is a healthy, happy horse.

Horses should be fed ½ cup to 1 cup of DE per day. It depends on the size of the horse, but adjust it. A good rule of thumb is to feed DE at 2% of the animal’s body weight. Always start small and work your way up. This will prevent large numbers of parasites that can plague the animal. Start gently and gradually increase to full size after 7-10 days.

WARNINGnot all DEs are equal. Food grade DE is the only one safe for use on animals. Commercial grade or “swimming pool” DE is actually dangerous for use with humans and animals. USE ONLY FOOD GRADE DIATOM EARTH.

DE can be fed during fly and parasite season, or year-round. It’s gentle on the horse’s system and its mineral benefits make it a barn staple. Once you start using DE, you’ll never miss this bumble bee or its waltz again… in fact, the silence created by the diatom world may be the only music you want to hear.

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