Time to Fight the Flies

Jun 26, 2020

When it’s warm enough to make you think of summer, it’s warm enough for flies to start buzzing around! More than a nuisance, flies can spread diseases like pink eye (face flies), anaplasmosis (horn flies, stable flies), and mastitis (horn flies, stable flies, houseflies) through your cattle herd. That’s why it’s so important to have a plan to control flies in your livestock.
The predominant problem in cattle operations, horn flies, are the costliest external parasite on cattle in North America. The adult is 3-5 mm long with a piercing/sucking mouth which is painful to animals. Adult flies will remain on the animal throughout the day and can be seen on the withers, back and side of cattle. The only time the flies will leave the animal is when they are laying an egg in fresh manure. Both male and female horn flies take blood meals multiple times a day (20-30). Infestation levels can increase rapidly up to 4,000 flies when not treated. Horn flies can decrease cattle’s grazing efficiency, reduce weight gain, and suppress milk production.
Face flies resemble the common housefly. They are a non-biting fly that feeds on the cattle’s secretions. The female face flies cluster around the animal’s muzzle, mouth, and eyes and cause extreme annoyance. Because they favor the face, they can cause pink eye.
Stable flies are blood feeders and are seen mainly on the front legs. Their bites are painful, and animals respond by stomping. These flies can have an impact on weight gain in feedlots and pasture cattle.
Fortunately, Agri Trails handles fly control products that are proven to work. Altosid®IGR is an insect growth regulator that controls horn flies. Feeding Altosid IGR should begin in early spring before horn flies are present. This should be fed throughout the summer and into the fall. Altosid IGR breaks the fly life cycle by preventing adult flies from emerging from eggs laid in manure. Agri Trails stocks minerals with Altosid IGR, so call your local branch for more information regarding which minerals contain this product.
ClariFly® larvicide will control four different flies, including horn, face, stable and house flies. ClariFly also breaks the insect life cycle by preventing adult flies from emerging from the manure. We can add ClariFly to a custom mix for you.
Please contact me, 785-643-7181, to discuss fly control options.

This article was featured in the Summer 2020 Trail Blazer
Written by Mariah Harris, Livestock Production Specialist

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