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Build your own horse fly trap or buy one at an affordable price?
A horse fly trap will provide you with a great service in the summer. Particularly in recent times, the outstanding effect of this type of horse fly trap has become apparent and has kept fields up to 95 % free of horse flies. However, many horse owners shy away from having to pay approx. 150 to 180 euros for a horse fly trap. So the question must be asked: “Should I build my own horse fly trap or buy one at an affordable price?”
Building your own horse fly trap
Do you want to build your own horse fly trap? There’s nothing simpler: at first glance, it would appear easy to build a horse fly trap. After all, it’s just a ball hanging under a screen. However, upon closer inspection, more details become apparent and are certain to present a challenge for many handymen.
Let’s start with the metal structure
This is a combination of robustness and security. The construction needs to be strong, as horses and ponies may misuse the pole. i.e. they may use the horse fly trap to scratch themselves on, which means that you will need to move it to another position. On the other hand, it must not get bent. The pole is subject to not insignificant forces exerted upon it by the animals. This means that if you want to assemble the pole yourself, you’ll need a steel pipe, approximately 2 to 4 mm thick. Not everyone will be able to bend the pipe without weakening the metal. The price for this kind of steel pipe with a length of approx. 2.5 cm is about 20 euros. If you then also want to galvanise it, you’ll need to invest another 10 euros or thereabouts.
There is a question of safety concerning the corners and edges of the pole. There should not be any sharp edges on the pole of your future horse fly trap. Otherwise, this will pose a risk for the animals out in the field.
The screen, ball and collecting container
If you do manage to assemble the pole, you’ll then need to assemble the screen, ball and container.
The ball for your future horse fly trap needs to be black. This is important so that the ball will heat up extremely intensively in comparison to the ambient temperature. Only in this way will you be able to ensure that the horse flies will prefer to sting the ball rather than your animals. This too would appear easy, at first glance. You can use a gym ball for this. These balls are available in lovely bright colours. However, it won’t be easy to find a black ball. Black requires particularly high UV protection. UV-protected balls don’t come cheap. You may have to use the inferior services of a colourful ball. The price for this is about 15 euros. As you then need to colour the ball black, you will also need a can of spray paint. For the above-mentioned reasons, and also because the ball will contract with warm and cold temperatures in the evening and during the day, you shouldn‘t just choose the cheapest ball. A can of spray paint costs about 15 euros.
To draw up the costs so far – not including labour costs or the petrol costs involved in driving back and forth to the DIY store – we’ve already reached about 50 euros.
Now we also need a screen for the horse fly trap. The screen must be hung over the ball so that, after being attracted by the ball, the horse flies can’t return to the field but are trapped in the centre. The screen must also be closed at the top, and it must also be transparent so that it lets the light through from the sun onto the ball of your future horse fly trap. An old umbrella may be suitable for this. However, you should pay attention to the quality of the screen so that it stays in place despite gusts of wind. If it blows away with the next gust of wind, you’ll need to have a second or even third umbrella at the ready to replace the old one. So lets add another 3.33 euros per umbrella to our budget, which, for three umbrellas, will total about 10 euros.
You will then need a container. Various options are possible for use as a container. However, bear in mind that the container needs to be cylindrical in shape. This is important to ensure that the horse fly trap really will act as a trap. Once caught in the cylinder, they can no longer fly, due to their shape. An old, not too large bucket would make a good container. The price for this type of bucket is about 2 euros. You must now attach this to the cylinder.
You could use sheet metal again for this. However, this would need to lie flush with the bucket so that the horse flies can’t escape from the horse fly trap under any circumstance. This also requires manual dexterity. The cylinder and container combination must also make it possible for you to easily empty the trap. You should also have the possibility of filling it with liquid, e.g. soapy water, so that the horse flies abandon the idea of escaping more rapidly. These two components can be estimated at approx. 10 euros.
Now that we’ve got the main components together, we still need a few cables, glue and insulating tape to bind everything together. After a few attempts, it should be possible to bind everything together. These auxiliary materials will cost another 10 euros.
Statement of costs for building your own horse fly trap
If we put together a statement of costs, it will look something like this:
- Metal post 20 euros
- Galvanizing: 10 euros
- Ball: 15 euros
- Paint: 15 euros
- Umbrella: 10 euros
- Bucket: 2 euros
- Sheet metal: 10 euros
- Auxiliary materials: 10 euros
So, the cost just of the materials is approx. 92 euros. These costs do not include travel expenses, research costs for finding the materials or other costs involved in gathering the equipment together.
If you already possess a suitable building tool, you won’t need to pay for this in addition. However it would be fair to also include this in the costs along with the cost of wear and tear on the tool which would amount to approx. 10 euros. So, the price for building your own horse fly trap now amounts to just under 100 euros. However, this only includes the cost of materials and tools.
You will also need several hours to make and assemble your trap, depending on your level of manual dexterity. At this point, you can add your own hourly rate. For the sake of simplicity, let’s take the minimum wage of 8.5 euros and 5 hours’ construction time, which amounts to approx. 42.5 euros.
So, with everything added together, the cost of making your own horse fly trap now amounts to approx. 140 euros. The question now arises as to whether all this effort really is worth it, just to save 10 euros.
Buy an affordable horse fly trap
Based on these realistic calculations, we can now make a direct cost comparison.
The market price is approx. 150 to 180 euros. This is a point that makes many think again.
However, the price, which at first glance appears subjective, is actually very well calculated and therefore a bargain for you.
Conclusion – build your own horse fly trap or buy one at an affordable price?
In summary, we can say that it is possible to build your own horse fly trap. However, if you realistically calculate the costs involved, you will soon come to the conclusion that you should question whether or not it really is an advantage to build your own trap and whether you really will save on costs. As has been demonstrated, at a closer glance, the costs are high due to the many components required. The site of application out in the field including, to some extent, harsh treatment of the horse fly trap by the animals, and the influence of the sun, wind and rain demand the use of materials which are not the cheapest.
In contrast to this, we have demonstrated that the purchase price of just under 150 euros is not actually calculated too high.
Finally, it’s up to you to decide whether or not you would prefer to spend your time with your animals rather than in the workshop, at the DIY store or in front of the computer gathering together all the components you’ll need just for the sake of saving 10 to 20 euros?