We all know horses use their tales to ward off flying insects. This action has long interested scientists who know that horses can’t do this movement 24/7 so they need bug repellent help in this regard. Of course you could make a robot tail movement for the front of the stall and this probably will help as well. We decided on a chemical free bug repellent.
Our R&D Director Dr. John Harlin at my request took on the task of finding a bug solution, aptly called StillTails™. It was the first product advertised with Redi-2-DrinQ contract packing capabilities. The products first claims were for horses and dogs.
Horses swish their tails with double efficacy, scientists have learned. Their tail hairs strike insects that have landed with amazing precision. Meanwhile, their swishes create a blowing wind speed that’s just right for upsetting mosquitoes’ flight patterns.
It’s a fascinating biological design that could lead to chemical-free insect management technology, for both horses and humans, in the near future, said Marguerite E. Matherne, BSc, of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Mechanical Engineering, in Atlanta.
“Most people who are familiar with horses would think it’s obvious that their tails are used for shooing away insects,” Matherne said. “What we did in this study is prove that the tail does indeed repel insects, and we explained how it does this: through swishing, which can blow away mosquitoes, and through swatting, which directly targets the insects that manage to land.”
They found that the tail swing is like a gravity-based pendulum (like in a grandfather clock), but with three times the frequency and 27 times the required energy to create the swing, Matherne said. That creates a wind speed of about 1 meter/second, which is approximately the speed of a mosquito in flight. Such a blow would prevent up to half of the mosquitoes from being able to land in the first place, she said.
Meanwhile, the whip effect occurs in three steps: a powerful force from the base of the tail, a sudden stop of that movement, and a return to the original position to prepare for the next swing, Matherne said. It’s like using a softball bat—swinging but then stopping the swing so the bat doesn’t go flying out of the hand, and then bringing it back up again, she added.
“If a horse swished its tail much faster, it could likely repel all of the insects, but it would have to use so much energy to do this that it would not be sustainable,” Matherne said. “So it’s a trade-off between repelling as many insects as possible and not wasting too much energy on the process.
This also highlights the welfare aspects of exposing horses to large numbers of flying insects, she added. “It certainly is immensely bothersome to the horses and a drain on their energy,” she said.
“If the tail is deadened, then it will definitely not be able to move as quickly as it needs to,” she said. “With a deadened tail, it is very important that additional measures, such as insect repellent spray, are taken to help keep biting insects away from the horse.”
“We should certainly do everything we can to help protect the horses from biting insects, because we’ve seen from this study that their tails are not 100% effective, and protecting them from biting insects protects them from disease and general irritation,” she said. This led to the development of the StillTails™ formula in a spray bottle. It was tested on horses in Lakewood Ranch and proved to be an incredible 24 hour peaceful solution for them. It was later tested in Saudi Arabia on camels with the same effect. Animals liked it and did not fear the application either by spray or wipe on with a cloth.
This illustrates one of the many the technology paths taken by the Penta5usa team to reach a chemical 25b solution for their products offered to the public. Following this project the outstanding ANYTIME™ no-bite mosquito 6 hour repellent lotions were developed.