From Ted Holthaus, Central Life Sciences
If you’re thinking you don’t have to worry about fly control for a few months yet, think again.
According to Ted Holthaus, regional manager with Central Life Sciences, now is the time to make plans for fly control on your operation. Not only are flies a nuisance for farm workers, but they can also transmit disease and cause significant economic loss. In fact, flies have the potential to spread 65 different disease organisms. Don’t wait until the flies become a problem and you start losing calf performance.
Sanitation and IPM Planning
Holthaus said he’s found three core components of an integrated pest management (IPM) plan: “sanitation, sanitation and good clean-up.”
As part of an IPM plan, producers should make sure that all equipment (from sinks to feed pails to hutches) is kept sanitary. Clean up any spilled feed or decaying organic matter around your facilities and don’t forget to keep weeds and grassy areas trimmed. Holthaus said this is especially important in the case of the stable fly.
This “true blood sucker” can easily impact calf health. Its bites – usually on cattle’s legs – are very irritating. Just three or four flies can make cows and calves “bunch up in corners” as they try to get away from the pest. This, in turn, can lead to heat stress and other negative impacts on the animals.
However, controlling the stable fly is relatively simple. The insect only goes near animals to feed and then dwells mostly in tall grasses and weeds. Simply trimming these areas is often enough to keep the pest away.
Another portion of your IPM plan may be the use of insect growth regulators to control insects. Holthaus said it’s important to have a good understanding of the modes of action of the different products you may use on your operation. He warned that using only adulticides – pesticides that target adult flies – isn’t effective because you can never kill every single insect. This means a few are still left to breed the next generation, which can lead to resistance issues.
Instead, Holthaus recommends the use of ClariFly, a product manufactured by Central Life Sciences. ClariFly is a feed-through larvacide that stops the development of the fly during the pupa stage of its lifecycle. During this stage, the larva (or maggot) forms its exoskeleton out of a compound called chitin. ClariFly is a chitin synthesis inhibitor – it keeps the larva from building its exoskeleton and thus interrupts the lifecycle of the fly reaches the adult breeding age.
Holthaus cited a number of reasons to consider using ClariFly on your operation:
- Humans and cattle do not have chitin in their bodies and thus are not affected by ClariFly. The product has a better safety and environmental profile than traditional chemical control methods.
- ClariFly premix is easily added to feed. The compound moves through the animal’s system and is deposited in the manure where the flies breed. It starts working right away.
- ClariFly prevents the development of house flies, stable flies, face flies and horn flies in the manure of treated cattle.
- Because it is a larvacide, ClariFly prevents flies from reaching breeding age and creating the next generation of pests.
- ClariFly is the only product with this mode of action for cattle on the market. This – coupled with the fact that the flies never reach breeding age – means the pests don’t develop a resistance to ClariFly.
Holthaus recommends you start feeding ClariFly 30 days before you think the flies will appear on your operation and continue feeding it throughout the summer. You can take it out of the feed 30 days after the first hard freeze when flies are no longer an issue.
Although prevention is best, Holthaus said ClariFly is still effective in cases where flies have already become a problem. The moment ClariFly is fed and deposited in the manure, it begins killing fly larvae. Because the average adult fly only lives for 10 to 14 days, simply wait about two to three weeks and you should have your fly problem under control. If you don’t want to wait that long, start feeding ClariFly to kill the larvae and, at the same time, use a spray to target the adult flies.
If you have questions about your IPM plan or fly management on your operation, Holthaus recommends you contact your Vita Plus representative. Consultants can do walkthroughs and suggest customized ideas for pest management on your operation.