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July 01, 2009

Fly Control

Tis the season for flies -- flies feeding on your cattle, flies biting on your horses, and flies munching on your picnic. Flies are nasty and a nuisance, but why should you be concerned about controlling them on your livestock and horses? Let's make a list.

  1. Flies spread diseases such as pink eye and upper respiratory viruses in cattle. Horse flies are reported to be one of the major vectors in the spread of Equine Infectious Anemia.
  2. Flies lay eggs which turn into maggots in a wound or moist area on an animal. These maggots can cause major infections in the skin and deeper tissues if not treated.
  3. Bot flies or heel flies lay eggs on the legs of cattle and horses that are ingested by the animals and then the larvae travel through the body causing damage and can eventually rupture out through the skin (makes you cringe). Another type of fly lays eggs that hatch and burrow into the skin causing "pigeon breast" in horses.
  4. Flies bite the ventral thorax and abdomen of cattle and horses causing "summer sores." These are raw, irritated, and tender areas. Horses get bites in their ears causing them to be bloody and tender, and thus making them more head shy.
  5. Bites from many flies causes generalized annoyance and decreased milk production in cattle.
  6. Do we need to continue?

So what do we recommend for treating flies in cattle and horses? Well, our preferred fly control in cattle is Ultra Saber. It is a pour-on product that can last 1-3 months depending on the amount of precipitation that we get. We just treated our cows with it two weekends ago and they are fly-free right now. Great product and a great price (under a $1 per head).

For horses we recommend Equi-Spot. This product is also a pour-on type application that lasts 2-3 weeks depending on precipitation and sweating. This 3-pack costs under $10. Many people ask about fly sprays. They work OK, but you have to apply them daily for the best fly control.

Bottom-line, fly control is important not only for your picnic, but for your livestock and horses as well. Have a great 4th of July!