When can I ditch the sweet itch hood?

Muddy unicorn

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17 June 2018
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Horse has been wearing a sweet itch hood for the last few weeks, having developed sweet itch for the first time at the age of 12.

It’s been very effective at stopping him rubbing his neck raw and his mane is starting to grow back but ideally I’d like him to be naked and fluffy as soon as possible.

As we’ve never had to use sweet itch protection before I’m not sure when the midges usually die off. I haven’t seen any the last couple of evenings but I don’t trust them not to have been hiding somewhere. He’s out with five other geldings and there are seven mares in the neighbouring field and none of them have been affected at all so no one else at the yard has had to deal with managing it. We’re in the south east in a hilly, semi-rural area.

Any ideas/advice welcome
 

Chianti

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20 February 2008
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I don't think that the one's you see flying cause the sweet itch? I usually wait until the clocks change but they can still be around if the temperature is above 5 degrees celsius. As winters have got warmer the SI season lasts longer. This year I began rugging up mid February but was probably a couple of weeks too late. If you're on a hill then that should help. Midges can't fly if it's windy.
 

Britestar

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2 March 2008
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upside down
At this time of year its,a, daily decision.
Little wind, and warmth on it goes. Rainy, little wind and warm, its on.
Windy and cool, its off. Rain and wind, off.

A lot of checking the forecast to see what is going to doing thru the day.
Last night it was 14 degrees and the bugs were out in force.
 

tda

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18 April 2013
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Yorkshire
At this time of year its,a, daily decision.
Little wind, and warmth on it goes. Rainy, little wind and warm, its on.
Windy and cool, its off. Rain and wind, off.

A lot of checking the forecast to see what is going to doing thru the day.
Last night it was 14 degrees and the bugs were out in force.
Yes, this, it's a never ending battle sorry.
I recently got my mares mane area under control (even tho she wears a rug 24/7) and she's started and rubbed her face over the last 2 weeks 🙄
 

Merry Equimas

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25 October 2010
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I’m about to put mine on again for the next week as it’s to be dry and mild, she had some relief for the last week when it was wet but now it’s mild and wet so she’s back to itching. Blooming midges.
 
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13 March 2020
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Definitely wouldn’t be removing yet. As Gloi says, I would wait until we’ve had frost.

sweet itch is an “allergy” to the midge/fly saliva. Some people use antihistamines with success, but I doubt it will “go away” no unfortunately. It just tends to get better with good management.
 
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Slopping along on a loose rein somewhere in Devon
My old boy had sweet itch and I remember being out in the field with him once on Christmas Day done up in my party frock, faffing around and having to put his sweet-itch rug back on coz the midges were around!

Answer is you cannot EVER relax; at any time of the year if it turns mild and/or the wind drops, you can get a sudden rush of midges. Total PITA.
 

JillA

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1 May 2007
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Shropshire
Mine is allergic to black flies and given the time of year (changed his fly rug for a no fill turn out) I tried to feed him in his stable last week. Immediately began rubbing his tail and ignored his breakfast so back out behind the electric fencing. Didn't even get chance to consider his rug situation. Normally he stops in October but I reckon climate change is impacting that
 
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