Fleas and farm animals do not go together, and the idea should worry any farmer. For instance, these tiny pests multiply fast and can affect livestock performance.
A female adult flea can lay about 50 eggs daily, and this fast-growing population can soon be a problem.
Whether you have a flea problem or want to prevent one, we’ve covered you here. This article will suggest several ways to keep your barn free from these pests.
Although small, fleas are one farm pest that can harm your farm animals. They carry and transmit several diseases, including inflammation, itching, sores, and hair loss.
The strategies below can help prevent and handle their infestation:
- Wash your horses often.
- Keep poultries at a reasonable distance from the horse barn.
- Remove their food sources.
Here are a few strategies that effectively prevent and handle flea infestations. You will find more in the guide.
For best results, we advise you to apply multiple methods at once.
The sections below will discuss six ways to keep your barn flea-free. But before all that, we will start with understanding what fleas look like and the danger they pose.
What Are Fleas?
Fleas are parasites that attack warm-blooded hosts like cats, dogs, and other farm animals. They are tiny, reddish-brown pests with biting mouthparts that allow them to feed on their host’s blood.
Understanding how to spot fleas can help you to know when an infestation is about to happen.
Fleas are small, wingless, oval-shaped insects that like to attach to pets or farm animals. They have six legs, with the hind legs longer than the front ones. These longer legs aid them in jumping over short distances.
Although fleas prefer hairy animals, they can also feed on humans. This is rare, though. Flea bites on human skin cause tiny red bumps around the legs and ankles that itch a lot.
Why Are Fleas a Danger in the Barn?
The short answer is that fleas carry diseases that they can transmit to farm animals. These diseases show symptoms like inflammation, itching, sores, and hair loss.
When fleas bite farm horses, they can deposit tapeworm eggs into the horses’ skin. This can trigger a tapeworm infestation.
A flea infestation can cause anemia in more miniature and older horses, depending on how severe the infestation is. So, look out for visible signs of anemia in your farm horses.
These signs include extreme fatigue, frequent sleeping, fast breathing, and loss of appetite. If you notice any of these, there is an emergency on your hands that you must address.
Do Fleas Attach to Horses?
If you keep other livestock like chickens near horses, horses can get fleas from them. Since horses spend most of their lives outdoors, they are often exposed to tiny pests like fleas and lice.
But, unhealthy horses have a high chance of falling victim to fleas than well-groomed horses.
When fleas attach to a horse, it isn’t easy to get them off. This is because fleas tend to stick to one host at a time. Instead, when their eggs hatch, the younger flea goes off to find another host to latch.
When not controlled, fleas can cause severe damage to horse efficiency, especially as they attach their host in packs. They can drain their host of sufficient blood, causing anemia or spreading diseases to make the horse sick.
6 Ways To Keep Fleas Away From Barn
Wherever fleas are present, they are likely to spread diseases to farm animals and their human victims. Plagues, Lyme disease, and myxomatosis are common diseases that fleas can transmit.
Due to these risks, it is essential to keep fleas far from livestock as much as possible.
There are many ways to prevent a flea problem or effectively deal with one. Below, we recommend some of our best strategies:
1. Wash Your Horse
As stated earlier, well-groomed and clean horses have lower chances of getting a flea attack.
Washing your horses in soap and water can discourage fleas from attacking them. Lather the soap and work it into your horses’ fur, focusing on areas where you spotted fleas.
Don’t forget to apply this soap and water solution to their mane and tail. Ensure you wash your horse thoroughly.
After this, rinse off the soap and run a comb or brush through your horse’s hair to remove fleas.
2. Keep the Barn Clean
A clean barn is less likely to attract fleas. So, clean your barn frequently to reduce the chances of an infestation.
Also, prevent wild animals from entering your barn, as they can bring unwanted guests.
3. Keep Poultry Far From Horse Barn
We said earlier that keeping other farm livestock, like chickens, close to horses may be a problem.
So, it is best to separate your animals if you want to manage a flea infestation or prevent one.
Move your poultry away from the barn to prevent the transmission of fleas from one area to another.
4. Ensure There Is Sufficient Sunlight
Fleas thrive in shaded, secluded areas.
So, ensure sunlight gets into your barn enough to destroy flea larvae. When sunlight hits flea larvae, it dries them out, and the fleas die.
A well-trimmed lawn further exposes flea eggs hidden in the soil.
So, mowing grasses and trimming hedges can help direct sunlight to these problematic pests, leaving them nowhere to hide.
5. Remove Food Sources
Flea larvae are not direct threats to horses. Instead, it is the adult species that bite and infect horses. But you can starve the larvae to prevent them from growing into adult fleas.
While adult fleas feed on their host’s blood, larvae depend on organic wastes or decaying matter to survive.
But, if you cut out their food supply, you can prevent these flea larvae from growing into adult species.
Removing debris and trash cans inside and around your barn is an excellent way to start.
You can also cut the grass around the barn so fleas and other tiny pests have nowhere to hide.
6. Adopt Different Control Methods at Once
One flea control method is not sufficient to deal with a full-blown infestation. While it may reduce the flea population in your barn, the problem will remain.
Rather than using one method, deploy the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) method to deal with the problem. This involves adopting more than one flea control method for best results.
Although fleas are tiny creatures, they can cause severe damage if allowed to enter farm barns. Flea attacks on farm animals can result in severe discomfort and likely death. This makes it a cause for serious concern.
We recommend some ways to deal with a flea infestation in your barn. Here is a rundown of recommendations:
Wash your horses frequently, keep the barn clean, and locate farm poultries reasonably far from your barn.
Also, ensure enough sunlight in the barn and permanently remove possible flea food sources like debris and trash can.
Following these guidelines will help rid your barn of bloodsucking fleas in no time.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do Fleas Locate Their Hosts?
Fleas use body heat, breathing, and movements to find possible hosts.
How Do Fleas Transmit Diseases?
Fleas spread diseases when they feed on their hosts or through fecal contamination. This happens when the host scratches flea feces into a sore.