Mosquito Control Tips for Horse Owners
Mosquitoes are a common warm weather nuisance. They have people running indoors to escape their itchy bites. However, horse owners know there are no escaping mosquitoes for you or your horse. They take away from the enjoyment of spending time with our equine friends, leaving both you and your horse itchy and aggravated. The following mosquito control tips for horse owners will help reduce the number of mosquitoes and the frustration they bring.
More Than An Annoyance. Why Are Mosquitos Dangerous?
Problems with mosquitoes go beyond just annoyance. Mosquitoes pose health risks to both humans and horses. Mosquito control for horse owners is essential for everyone’s wellbeing. A horse surrounded by mosquitoes is more likely to pace and show signs of agitation. This increased activity can lead to weight loss and decreased appetite. Some horses also show signs of allergic reactions, such as hives. In addition, mosquitoes transmit harmful diseases. West Nile Virus (WNV), Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), and Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE) are the three most common equine diseases transmitted by mosquitoes in the United States.
Equine Encephalitis Diseases
Also a form of Encephalitis, the West Nile Virus shares many markers with EEE and WEE. All three diseases are vector-borne. This means biting insects transfer the disease from a host. Birds are usually the host of these diseases. However, infected horses are not contagious to people or other animals. All three conditions share similar symptoms, such as;
Neurological signs include tremors, facial paralysis, head tilt, and paralysis.
The good news is there are highly effective vaccines available. Utilizing these vaccines and mosquito control tips for horse owners will significantly reduce your horse’s risk of contracting these harmful diseases.
What Attracts Mosquitos?
Understanding what attracts mosquitoes is vital in mosquito control. Warmth and moisture are necessary for mosquitos to breed. They are attracted to warmer areas and higher humidity. Higher body temperatures and moisture from sweating horses and riders are enticing to mosquitoes. Also, the carbon dioxide we exhale draws them in. They can detect carbon dioxide from 30 feet away.
Some horses are surrounded by mosquitoes, while the horse a few feet away is left alone. Multiple factors contribute to why some horses and people are more prone to mosquito bites. Some blood types are more appealing to mosquitoes than others. Horses also have several different blood types. Individual variations in sweat and smell also affect how enticing mosquitoes find you or your horse. Even when following mosquito control tips, some horses and people will be more prone to mosquito bites than others.
- There are roughly 3,000 species of mosquitos worldwide. However, only about 200 species are in the United States
- Chemicals injected to prevent the blood from clotting cause the itchy reaction to bites.
- Only female mosquitoes bite. Females require the nutrients found in blood to reproduce. Males feed on plant nectar.
- Mosquitoes are more active around a full moon.
- Mosquitoes need water to start their lifecycle.
Mosquito Control Tips
Remove Potential Breeding Grounds.
Moisture is required for mosquitoes to breed. Females lay their eggs in or around water sources. There are many mosquito control tips for horse owners to help reduce potential breeding sites. Remove areas of access water accumulation. These may include flower pots and trays, hollow tree stumps, and outdoor arena equipment. Keep gutters clear of debris. Inspect and clean water troughs and buckets regularly. Employ products specifically made for treating livestock water sources. They come as dunks or patties and are helpful in low-lying areas such as ravines that collect rainwater.
Reduce Favorable Conditions
Another important part of mosquito control for horse owners is reducing or eliminating what attracts mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide both people and horses breathe out. We can’t expect anyone to lower the amount they breathe out. However, installing fans and creating air circulation will help defuse the build-up of carbon dioxide and make it difficult for insects to reach you. In addition, mosquitoes are most active at dusk and nighttime. Keeping your horse indoors during the peak mosquito hours will reduce the chance of bites.
Use Insect Repellent
Applying insect repellent to people and horses is essential in mosquito control. There are many brands and approaches to insect repellent, from chemical to natural. Some repellents are more effective than others, and they may differ from horse to horse. Make sure to use a repellent especially labeled to work against mosquitoes. Follow label directions carefully. Remember to reapply after bathing your horse or getting caught in the rain.