Kevin Babington: Sustainable Fly Solution
Updated: Mar 20
Green Is the New Blue recently visited Kevin Babington’s farm in Loxahatchee, FL, where we were utterly impressed by the efficiency and sustainability of the fly system in place. All of his barns are covered in bead chains that have practically eliminated fly populations on the property. Kevin’s system is the creation of inventor Sergio Guerreiro, who was inspired to develop it after visiting his native Portugal. Throughout history, Portugal and other countries have used bead chains to protect their homes and businesses from flies.
Most horse people know that the Florida fly population is out of control. That’s why we were so surprised when we visited Kevin’s farm and saw so few, despite having visited neighboring properties with drastically higher populations. The beads hang down over doors and windows, free flowing with a slight breeze. The flies are deterred by the movement of the beads, preventing them from entering the barn. As a species instinct, flies follow the sun and heat, much of which is filtered from the barn by the beads.
Even the spookiest of horses can adapt to this system. Horses in Kevin Babington’s barn walk right through the bead doors and have no problem hanging their heads out the window through the beads. Then there are those goofy horses that feel the need to play with everything, but Kevin said even those horses become desensitized to the bead chains quickly.
“It’s a no brainer for the horses," Kevin continued to emphasize throughout our conversation. “If you have one or two horses in your barn that get summer sores, these [bead chains] will pay for themselves. We haven’t had one this year.”
The system is so effective that no additional spray systems are needed. This has drastically reduced the amount of fly spray used on Kevin’s farm. Kevin noticed many of his horses have reacted to spray systems with hives, which is no longer an issue in his barn. Typical spray systems frequently clog or leak, potentially leading to chemical burns. Additionally, there is no longer a need to worry about fly spray contaminating a horse’s hay or water buckets.
Above: Close up of safety feature at the top of chain. Below: Close up of hooks.
The beads are made of aluminum hooks so that they are lightweight and bendable to ensure the safety of the horses. Due to the structure of the hooks, horses cannot get stuck as they will pop open and fall off like a paper clip. There is an additional safety release at the top, allowing the bead chain to detach if pulled. Occasionally a wheelbarrow may catch and pull it off, but it is easy enough to hang back up and only serves as a testament to the effective safety release.
If you do need to remove the system for some reason, such as a barn remodel, the beads are made of highly recyclable aluminum. Of all the aluminum ever produced in the U.S., more than 75% is still in use today (1). Recycling aluminum is incredibly efficient, saving 95% of the energy needed to create new aluminum products from raw materials (2).
The beads can be ordered through Familia G. Inc. and Kevin Babington, LLC. They are fully customizable to fit any shape of door or window, including arches. They colors are customizable to match barn colors or design preference.
Stay tuned for more information on how to purchase custom beads for your barn through Green Is the New Blue to support our environmental initiatives through a percentage of sales.
(1) - N.A. (2021). Recycling. The Aluminum Association. Retrieved from https://www.aluminum.org/industries/production/recycling
(2) - (2020). United States Environmental Protection Agency. Envirofacts. Retrieved from https://enviro.epa.gov