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Fly Control For Cattle

control flies before they get to your stock

Control Flies Before They Get to Your Stock

Richard Turner MRCVS Discusses Fly Control in Cattle

Fly control on farms is often carried out at the animal level with the application of products to stock to try to prevent flies from either causing annoyance or spreading disease to animals. To properly control flies the farm needs to adopt a fully integrated system of fly control based on both killing adult flies, disrupting the fly life cycle and finally attracting flies to areas where they are either trapped or killed.

Flies not only cause annoyance to livestock, they also most importantly spread disease. The fly either carries animal pathogenic bacteria passively from one animal to another such as summer mastitis or, actively within its gut. Fly droppings in food premises present a great risk of transmission of a range of diseases with salmonella being especially important.

The first stage of an integrated approach is to attract flies away from areas where animals congregate such as handling yards. This can be with the use of fly traps containing attractants which are hung a little distance away from the animal handling areas. The attractant is very important and some just don’t work in the UK.

We strongly recommend Redtops as a very effective, less toxic approach and the attractant seems to work well. Don’t place them too close to the animals as they will draw flies in to an area, and make sure they are changed when overloaded with flies.

Stage 2. It is very effective to place baits which will kill flies on contact. These can be placed nearer to the handling areas and act as a second line of defence. There are two main products, either a granular bait such as Fly Select which is best placed in trays on high walls out of animal reach. This can also be placed on cardboard and sprayed lightly with water. It can then be hung high in areas above animal housing. The other approach uses another chemical and attractant and is sprayed on walls. The product we recommend for this area is LD 100. Both these products have attractants added and. kill flies on contact They  are effective, but need regular replenishing and care must be taken when applying to ensure no food is contaminated and most importantly they are out of the animals’ reach.

Stage 3. The third stage is to adjust the fly cycle by using a larvicide. Many flies lay eggs in moist areas of old dung, food material and waste animal dairy based feed. This can be around calf pens, alongside dung heaps and in dumps of waste material. The fly maggot takes about 5-10 days to develop depending on species and temperature. Warm wet weather will suddenly increase fly levels and it is very important to look closely around the farm buildings to see where flies are breeding. Dung applied to the surface of fields which contains fly pupa will lead to a hatch and new adult flies will come into the buildings. The larvicide (we recommend Staburex S2) changes the maggot so that it fails to develop into a normal fly and dies.

If the chemical approach is not for you, then consider a fully integrated plan using predators to kill flies. For a plan to suit your farm or stables contact Will Kittow in Molecare Veterinary Services on 01392 872886 e-mail [email protected] .


Source Details

Richard Turner, MRCVS MoleCare Farm Vets

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