If it feels like cattle flies have got the better of you and your herd, check out our top 6 ways to eliminating your insect-related issues for good.
#1. Know Your Flies
Face Fly - Face flies hover around your horse's eyes, nose, mouth and even wounds, feeding on saliva as well as moisture and mucous on the eyes, causing conjunctivitis and eye worms.
Horn Fly - These biting flies are found around grazing areas and propagate on manure, bothering the underside of a horse which can cause problems such as midline dermatitis or severe irritation.
Stable Fly - One of the most vicious bloodsucking flies, these pests attack a horse's legs and flank, spreading equine infectious anemia within your herd. They are usually found in moisture-prone areas or aging manure piles.
Horse Fly - These tenacious pests target many areas of your horse from the withers to the legs. Like Stable Flies, they like moisture and can also cause infectious anemia.
#2. Use & Alternate Fly Sprays
Fly sprays can be an incredibly easy and effective method of fly control but you'll need to ensure your animals receive enough spray coverage to deter the flies which can be fairly time-consuming. It's also important to alternate your fly sprays year on year as these pests can become resilient to sprays. If your current spray isn't working, you may need to try a more heavy coverage or opt for a different brand.
#3. Fly Tags
Fly Tags are probably the best form of insect deterrent, providing your cattle with full-body protection for up to 5 months.
Tags are usually made from PVC and contain an active ingredient or insecticide that prevents serious head and face fly swarms. Make sure you apply the tag before fly swarms become a big issue and apply a tag to every animal in your herd for the best results.
Always read the instructions on your fly tag packaging, but you may even be able to use two tags per animal in instances of extreme fly infestation.
Larvicides attack insects early on during the larvae stage of their lifecycle and will be labelled according to which type of fly they kill (e.g. horn, face, house and/or stable flies). Use them a month before flies emerge and continue to use 30 days after a period of frost.
#5. Cattle Rubs
Cattle rubs, back rubbers or fly wipes are a form of fly deterrent that really do all the work for you. Place around common cattle sites and your livestock will be able to use the brushes or ropes to scratch off flies, parasites as well as other debris that becomes attached to their hair.
#6. Pour-On Fly Control
To be used as a companion to fly tags, pour-on fly control methods are effective at killing a range of pests and parasites. Depending on the time of year, check to make sure what the specific pour-on product is designed for. For Spring turnout use something to eradicate internal parasites and elsewhere in the year choose a pour-on for lice or flies. Be careful: deworming pour-ons can lead to internal parasite resistance.