We have come through a very mild winter and are off to an early spring with record setting high temperatures. A negative affect is an early emergence of flies. This will be a year where an integrated fly control program will be needed for effective fly control. The tools for fly control include sanitation, feed through products, sprays, dust, rubs, fly tags and various fly traps. Determine which fly is the problem because control measures will vary by species. The early warm temperatures may allow the fly population to get an earlier than normal start. Below is a description of the common flies that impact cattle performance.
Horn Fly Face Fly House Fly Stable Fly
First, determine which fly species you are fighting by looking at the size of the fly and where are they breeding and laying eggs. The most economically significant pasture fly is the Horn Fly. The Horn Fly spends the majority of time on the animal and lays eggs in fresh manure. It is the smallest of the common flies, but cause significant stress and discomfort to the animal. The Face Fly is much larger and also breeds in manure, but can spend a significant amount of time off the animal. The House Fly and Stable Fly are attracted to the animal, but spend most of their time in surrounding areas such as barns and decomposing feed. The House and Stable Fly will breed in manure, wet areas and any composted material.
Second, determine where the flies are feeding and nesting. The Horn Fly is a blood feeder and will be on the back and withers of the animal and move to the lower flank and underside during the times of full sun. They take a blood meal 30 to 40 times per day and spend the majority of their adult life on the animal. The Horn Fly’s mouth part is a slicing and suction type which causes multiple painful lacerations in a single bite. The blood loss can be significant.
The female Face Fly feeds on the mucus secretions around the nose, eyes and mouth. Face Flies are often a vector in a breakout of pink eye. The male Face Fly stays in the vegetation and feeds on plant nectars and fecal material. The female spends the night on vegetation. The Face Fly is not a blood feeder, but they do lay their eggs in manure.
The House Fly is an annoyance fly. They have a sponging mouth part and do not bite. They feed on multiple items with a preference for carbohydrate-rich feeds. They lay their eggs in decaying and composted material such as manure laden bedding backs.
The Stable Fly is a biting and blood feeding fly. They feed on any warm blooded animal. They have a piercing mouth part which resembles a hypodermic needle. The Stable Fly tends to prefer the underside and legs of the animal. Stomping and jumping are often associated with Stable Fly bites. They lay their eggs in decaying and composted material such as manure laden bedding backs, wasted hay or silages.
Sanitation and Weed Control
Removal of decaying and composted material is needed to eliminate the breeding area of the House and Stable Fly. Frequent mowing and weed control around buildings can help control the Face Fly breeding and nesting areas.
Knock Down and Residual Sprays
Existing adult populations will need to be eliminated by using repeated knock down sprays. The time for eggs to hatch will vary from 10 to 14 days. Sprays may be needed for the first few weeks of the fly season. This will allow time for other measures such as feed through products and pour on products to control the developing fly population.
Topical Fly Control
Rubs, oilers and dusters can be used in areas where the animal has frequent access to the devices. Fly tags and pour on products can provide additional protection for various lengths depending on product type.
Fly Traps and Bait
Traps and bait are affective for only the Stable and House Fly. These flies will be in buildings and seek out nesting sites. The Horn Fly and Face Fly typically are not attracted to these control measures since they are nesting in other areas.
Feed Through Products
Rabon® Oral Larvicide is a feed through product that kills the larva stage of the Horn, Face, Stable and House Fly that lay their eggs in manure. Altosid® IGR is a (S)-methopene feed through product that prevents the Horn Fly larva from developing into adult flies. Altosid® IGR does not control Face, Stable or House Flies. These products can be safely fed to beef cattle and dairy cattle in various feeds and supplements. The active ingredient is consumed by the animal and passes through in manure where it prevents the development of larva into adult flies. CRYSTALYX® Brand Supplements offer a protein and mineral formula which contains either Rabon® or Altosid® IGR. Learn more information about Rolyx® Pro and Rolyx® Max products that contain Rabon® or IGR Pro™ and IGR Max™ which contains Altosid®.
Rabon® is a registered trademark of Bayer HealthCare LLC, Animal Health Division, Shawnee Mission, KS.
Altosid® IGR is a registered trademark of Wellmark International, Schaumburg, IL.