Fly Control in Cattle Herds

Brian GermanDairy and Livestock

Summer temperatures can already be stressful on cattle, but as fly populations tend to increase during summer months it makes fly control a significant concern. Fly infestation can cause a variety of issues that can result in substantial economic losses.

Some types of flies are responsible for spreading diseases such as pink eye.  Certain flies also have the potential to spread Anaplasmosis and Bovine Leukosis.  Lew Strickland, Extension Veterinarian at the University of Tennessee, put together a list of pointers on how to mitigate the risk of flies having a negative impact on cattle herds.

Adding a larvicide or insect growth regulator to cattle feed can be beneficial.  The use of pour-ons and topical sprays can also be effective in reducing the fly population.  Dust bags and cattle rubs can provide economical control of flies if placed in an area where all cattle must use it.

Fly tags are another useful option, making sure to alternate between insecticides to avoid the development of a resistant population.  Fly predators are wasps that feed on the fly larvae and help to interrupt fly breeding cycles.

It is recommended to use more than one approach for fly control.  With all the products that are available on the market, it is important to work with local farm advisors to help develop a management plan that can help with fly control.