If you're trying to limit fly populations in a barn, or have a fly population so pesky that you dread summer, an automatic fly-misting system will help and they kill a variety of insects.
An automatic fly mister consists of drum which contains the insecticide solution, a timer, pump, nozzles and tubing. The nozzles are mounted on the barn's rafters pointed down, the timer turns on the pump which delivers the insecticide via tubing to the nozzles which produce a fine mist. The timer can be set to spray for 5-180 seconds at regular intervals as often as every 30 minutes. A float switch shuts off the system when the drum is empty so that the pump doesn't run without fluid. Anyone who has been in a barn outfitted with an automatic system is used to the quiet "whoosh" of the mister that signifies that it's spraying. It's much like the water misters in the produce department of a grocery store.
Misters provide a hands-off way to control flies, mosquitoes and other insects and minimize the need for using fly sprays in the barn. Since bottled fly sprays are typically higher concentrations of insecticide than that in misting systems, many people prefer the misting spray rather than spraying from bottles by hand. You can use the timer to set the mister according to the season, location, and how your barn is used. For example, if the horses are out all day and the barn is cleaned then, you could run the mister before bringing in the horses. Or an automatic mister can be set to go off at sunrise, when the flies begin to emerge. After that, hourly spraying for about a minute can keep the pest population down during the day. But avoid setting it to go off directly at feeding time.
There are a variety of system options to fit your needs. From a smaller 20 gallon / 20 nozzle (max) unit to a larger 55 gallon (75 or 100 max nozzle) system. The number of nozzles you need depends upon on the size of the area you're trying to cover. Other variables include the timers (analog or digital) and a remote-control, which is convenient, especially if you have your unit somewhere out of reach. Though we suggest putting the drum where you can easily access it for refilling and maintenance. Some good choices are behind the feed-room or tack-room door, which puts it out of the way yet leaves it easy to get to.
When deciding where to put nozzles, becoming something of an entomologist can help. Standard placement is one nozzle over each stall, and then one at each end of the barn, but consider where flies congregate in your barn. Flies usually have a naptime where they all come together, so you'll want to point a nozzle there. When choosing where to place the nozzles, we'd recommend avoiding the tack or feed room because of the remote possibility of tubing breaking and insecticide wetting feed or staining saddles. We'd also try to set up stalls so the mist isn't directly over the hay corner/rack, water bucket or feed tub.
We recommend that you buy a system with a dust cover. They're available for on most machines and are important because if dust gets in the drum, then in a nozzle, it can clog the filters. Then the nozzles won't spray, which means you have to drain the system and/or clean all the nozzles, a time-consuming chore.
Cleaning the unit's suction filter with water can help keep things running smoothly. Winterizing is also important. The fluid in the pump and nozzles can freeze in cold climates and gum up in warmer areas. And when the weather gets warmer, clean the system before trying to use it. Inspect your nozzles frequently and replace them as necessary.
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