With the warm weather we have been experiencing recently it is important to consider protecting your horse from the dreaded bot fly. So you can get to grips with the facts, we have gathered some information on the life cycle of this pesky critter…
Bot flies are known to be active in warm summer months. Adult bot flies will commonly lay their eggs on horse’s legs, sides, shoulders, neck and belly. If a horse licks or bites any of these areas when bot fly eggs are present, they can ingest them. The eggs will then make their way through the digestive system, hatching into larvae and latching on to the side of the horse’s stomach. They can remain in a horse’s stomach for 8-10 months and will only leave once they have reached maturity. Once mature they are passed out in the horse’s faeces and burrow their way in to the ground, completing their life cycle.
There are three types of bot infestation:
· The Common Horse Bot (Astrophiles Intestinalis) – This is where the horse ingests bot fly eggs from their leg, side, shoulder or stomach areas whilst grooming themselves.
· The Throat Bot (Astrophiles Nasalis) – This is where eggs are laid on the horse’s neck or beneath the jaw. They then hatch and make their own way in to the horse’s mouth.
· The Nose Bot (Astrophiles Haemorrhoidalis) – This is a rare form of bot infestation where eggs are laid around the horse’s lips.
You may be wondering what the symptoms of a bot fly infestation are. With all three types of infestation horses can experience discomfort in their mouths, although this is not always the most obvious symptom. Horses with large amounts of bot fly larvae in their stomach can suffer from loss of condition, dry coat, increased temperature, restlessness, kicking towards the belly, stomping feet and loss of appetite. If you suspect your horse has an infestation consult your vet and they will conduct some tests for you. If the tests come back positive the vet will worm your horse with a wormer effective against bot fly eggs and larvae, such as Ivermectin.
If you spot bot fly eggs on your horse's body you can use your fingers to pinch them off or you can invest in a bot knife for proper removal. They are yellow/orange in colour and will appear in little clusters. You should also ensure your horse is regularly wormed.
Prevention is better than cure, and here at Premier Equine we recognise the risk that bot flies and indeed many other flies (deer flies and horse flies) pose on your horse. We manufacture a broad range of fly rugs, fly boots and fly masks that offer protection from biting insects and those which try to lay eggs on your horse’s skin. New to our fly protection range this year, is our Pro-Teque Bug and Fly Boots. These boots have been specially designed for turnout to help prevent bot flies and other insects getting at your horse’s skin. They are made from a highly breathable 3D ducted sports mesh, which is ideal in hot summer weather. They are also anatomically shaped for maximum comfort. We have been getting some fantastic reviews and they are flying off our shelves…
"Excellent quality and fit, perfect protection without overheating legs… would highly recommend.”
"Fantastic quality, great protection for my boy's legs as he suffered from photosensitivity.”
"Great quality, generous with the size. Velcro is long, so still a great fit with no straps flapping about, definitely will recommend them to friends."