Masked Marvels

This last month we have been inundated with mosquitoes and biting flies on the farm. While neither one are unusual for the Big Island, we don’t normally see them in great quantities on our place. They seem to come in swarms when they do show up and then they disappear again within a few days, but while they’re here, they are somewhat of a challenge, especially if there’s no breeze to chase them away.

I usually use a citronella-based fly spray on the horses daily to help keep the bugs away. Peaberry never minds the spray, but not much seems to bother him. Java, on the other hand, is always a little suspicious of everything, so on days when she’s being fussy about the spray, I spritz a little on her brush and wipe her down with it. The one thing she can’t resist is being brushed and it’s a sure path to getting her cooperation.

While most of the bugs are fairly benign, we had a few days when a particularly mean-spirited fly species showed up and started biting their tender little ears.

These little white spots indicate flystrike – leftovers from biting flies. If not treated, they can become open sores and get infected.

The fly spray wasn’t keeping these flies off so I ordered fly masks with ear covers. Three weeks later, the fly masks showed up (everything takes a long time to get here – one of the few down sides to living on the island). And of course, the bad flies had already gone away, though the normal ones are still around.

The masks weren’t the type I ordered and they weren’t even made for miniature horses but we’re making them work. There was no explanation in the package, so I’m not sure what happened to the style or size I ordered. They were supposed to have velcro closures around the throat for a better fit – instead these masks are an elastic sleeve that slips over the head. I’ll have to watch them carefully to make sure the elastic bands stay up over their noses.

So far, they’ve been good sports about putting them on and wearing them. IMG_4530IMG_4531They look a little silly, but hopefully, their little ears and eyes will be protected from those nasty flies.



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