On the animals:
- Don't be surprised to see MORE flies, fleas, and mosquitoes. You can use traps, masks, on-animal sprays, premise sprays, spot-on insecticide, natural remedies, and environmental controls to cut down on these pesky critters. It is important to employ a combination of methods to get the best results. Keep in mind that mosquitoes aren't just annoying: they are the carriers of heartworms in dogs (more on heartworms) and a vector for West Nile Virus in horses (WNV news update link), among other dangerous diseases. Flies not only irritate and suck blood from animals, but can cause eye irritation and spread diseases of the eye (equine eye issues) (cattle fly link & pinkeye). Animals ridden with fleas will often also have a problem with tapeworms as well, and both of these parasites will draw an animal down into very poor condition (flea control link). If you cannot get a pest issue under control with these DIY methods, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian to get it resolved promptly.
- Additionally, watch for fungal issues on the animals, including thrush in horse hooves (thrush), foot rot in cattle (foot rot fact sheet), rain rot and ringworm on skin. A variety of topical and environmental treatments are available, but prevention is the best. Keep skin and coats as dry as possible, ensure that bedding is clean and dry, and clean hooves and groom coats often. If you have an outbreak of skin fungus issues, it is a good idea to thoroughly clean and/or replace grooming equipment. Contact your veterinarian for hoof issues, which can accelerate into lameness and pain if not resolved.
In the yard & garden:
- With insects, remember that a combination of controls is most effective. If you are facing a large infestation of a certain insect, consider its life cycle, infestation area, and hosts. For example, to get fleas out of your house, you'll have to treat your home, yard, and any animals that come and go, while keeping in mind that you'll need to retreat these areas every 7-10 days for at least 2 treatments to kill all life stages (link to flea control). On vegetable plants, use caution with pesticides and carefully read labels to ensure that you give enough time between treatment and harvesting.
- Don't hesitate to contact a certified pest control service. Often they will have tools and pesticides that are not available for DIY homeowner use.
- Keep on the lookout for lawn fungus. If you have an irrigation system, be sure to water in the early morning hours, and cut back to fewer days during wet periods (your lawn only needs 1" of water/rain per week). If you typically have a problem with fungus, apply fungicide now as a preventative.
- One additional note: Excessive rainfall also stresses trees, shrubs, and garden plants. If you have a tree planted in heavy clay, you'll likely see some stress, yellowing, and/or leaf drop due to insufficient air (symptoms similar to not enough water). Too much water also causes root rots in bedding and vegetable plants, shrubs, and grasses; read more about CPR for overwatered plants here.
Next up, weed control!