7 Simple Ways to Triage Cattle from Flies

FBN Network

May 31, 2024

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Flies are more than a nuisance to livestock. These pests can also create serious issues that affect the overall health and wellbeing of your herd. 

Knowing how to triage cattle from flies will prevent undue stress on your animals and help keep them healthy and profitable. 

There are a few steps you can take when flies are impacting your herd:

  • Prevent pink eye

  • Spray with topical solutions

  • Use premise spray

  • Utilize traps 

  • Employ baits

  • Use feed additives 

  • Add garlic to feed

By following the simple guidelines below, you’ll take a step in the right direction of maintaining an effective fly control program. We have also created a free grass turnout one-pager you can quickly download to assist you with fly control recommendations.

1. Prevent Pink Eye

Cattle can injure their eyes by swatting their tails at the irritating flies. As well, flies can spread pink-eye pathogens. Highly contagious and difficult to contain and control, a pink-eye 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, according to Kansas State University.

Bovilis® Piliguard® Pinkeye-1 Trivalent

While vaccines are generally used to control pink eye, it’s wise to be proactive about fly control before it becomes an issue. Effective pink-eye prevention and treatment products are available on the FBN® Animal Health Store:

2. Spray with Topical Solutions

As flies start to irritate cattle, 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 to 21 days of control, according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

For a topical solution to fly control, the FBN Animal Health Store offers CyLence® Pour-On Insecticide

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, though, as contaminated drinking water is dangerous for your herd. 

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 

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, according to North Carolina State University

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. 

You can stock up on your fly trap needs through the FBN Animal Health Store:

5. Employ Baits

Similar to fly traps, 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 perimeter of the pens. Take caution to ensure that animals are not able to eat the bait.

The FBN Animal Health Store offers fly bait options:

6. Use Feed Additives

Swat your pest problem away before it gets out of hand by incorporating fly control feed additives into your program. As explained in our blog post “Why Your Fly Control Strategy Should Include Feed Additives,” fly control additives should be included in your cattle feeding program in early spring.

Search our Pest pages to learn how to manage a wide variety of flies, grasshoppers, aphids, and other insects.

7. 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. Taking a multifaceted approach to fly control can help with management. Check out our Grass Turnout download for helpful tips and product recommendations. 

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

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FBN Network

May 31, 2024

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