5 Simple Ways to Triage Cattle from Flies

Dr. Erika Nagorske

Jun 06, 2023

When your herd is affected by flies, knowing how to triage cattle from flies will prevent undue stress on your animals and will keep them happy and healthy. Flies are not only a nuisance to livestock; they can also create serious issues that affect the overall health and wellbeing of your herd. But by following these simple guidelines, you’ll take a step in the right direction of maintaining an effective fly control program.  

Bovilis® Piliguard® Pinkeye-1 Trivalent

1. Prevent Pinkeye

Flies can spread pinkeye pathogens and cattle can injure their eyes by swatting their tails at the irritating flies. Highly contagious and difficult to contain and control, a pinkeye outbreak can potentially affect your entire herd. In addition to causing pain and stress to cattle, the disease can also lead to lower productivity, reduced body weight, reduced milk production, blindness and even death in severe cases.1 

While vaccines are generally used to control pinkeye, it’s wise to be proactive about fly control before it becomes an issue. Effective pinkeye prevention and treatment products such as Bovilis® Piliguard® Pinkeye-1 Trivalent, Shut-Eye Pinkeye Patch with Cement and Banamine® Transdermal are available on the FBN® Animal Health Store

2. Spray with Topical Solutions

As flies start to irritate cattle, having a multifaceted approach to fly control through the use of feed additives and knowing the different types of flies can help when it’s time to find the right product to utilize. Sprays can be used to help keep the issue under control. Typically applied using a low pressure sprayer or mist blower sprayer onto the animals, sprays generally need to be reapplied on a weekly basis for best results. These products usually provide between 7-21 days of control.2 CyLence® Pour-On Insecticide is available on the FBN Animal Health Store. 

3. Use Premise Spray 

Premise sprays are typically applied to places where flies rest, such as walls, ceilings and floors. (Be careful not to spray near water sources.) Many premise sprays are water resistant and can deliver up to 90 days of fly control, offering a more effective and less manually intensive method of controlling flies. It’s also a good idea to rotate between two active ingredients to prevent resistance to the spray. 

QuickBayt® Fly Bait

4. Utilize Traps and Baits

Fly traps can be a simple way to eliminate some of the fly problems you may be facing. Whether you use fly paper or electronic fly zappers, be sure to place traps around places that cattle pass through frequently. A good location is near your water supply.3 

In general, traps are good for smaller groups of cattle but won’t make a substantial impact for larger herds. They also do not eliminate fly breeding sites. 

Similarly, baits will not completely control fly populations so they should be used in conjunction with other fly control methods. Place baits in areas where flies congregate such as doorways, windows and outside the parameter of the pens. (Just be sure that animals are not able to eat the bait.)

QuickBayt® Fly Bait is another effective product that will help control nuisance flies in and around livestock facilities and stables. 

Then, swat the problem before it gets out of hand by incorporating fly control feed additives into your program.

5. Add Garlic to Feed

Adding garlic powder to cattle feed is a natural method to try controlling flies. When cattle eat the garlic, their breath and skin produce an odor that deters flies. While garlic is mainly used as a repellent (it won’t kill flies or breeding sites), it’s an additional natural product that is safe and easy to incorporate into your fly control program. 

Stay Proactive About Fly Control

When it comes to fly control, try to be proactive and not reactive. 

Find a wide range of fly control products, including sprays, ear tags, baits and traps and  feed additives like garlic, on the FBN Animal Health Store

  1. Kansas State University, Pink Eye in Cattle, https://www.johnson.k-state.edu/crops-livestock/agent-articles/pink-eye-in-cattle.html

  2. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Controlling Flies on Pastured Cattle, https://beef.unl.edu/cattleproduction/controllingflies

  3. Poore, Matt, Practical Fly Control, June 7, 2012, NC State University, https://cefs.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/amazing-grazing-practical-fly-control-july-2012.pdf

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Dr. Erika Nagorske

Jun 06, 2023