The relatively mild and extremely wet winter has potentially failed to kill off over-wintering fly populations – so much so that as the weather warms up there could be an explosion in insects that both irritate cattle and transmit diseases.
Climate change is also influencing the way entomologists and animal health experts think about fly control, and pre-empting the threat this year to your livestock can go some way to reducing potential insect-borne disease problems such as Summer Mastitis later in the summer.
Early insecticide treatment of cattle can help reduce insect populations. Applying a proven insecticide early in the season will both reduce the first wave of attack from biting insects and cut next generation numbers. If you can kill flies early or even stop them feeding on your livestock, you will reduce their ability to breed.
Seeing flies or midges on or around animals are usually the main triggers for applying insecticides, but significant insect populations can have built up by then. And left untreated, an insignificant early season insect population can become a huge one in just a few weeks. The main objective is to kill as many insects as possible when the first landing parties arrive on your livestock to feed.
As well as treating cattle early, it’s also important to keep on top of the insect problem as we move through the warmer months. A mixture of different fly and midge species threaten most farms with populations peaking at different times and waves of attackers hatch out to trouble herds all season long. However, regular applications of Butox Swish onto cattle will reduce the insect threat. And an early first dose will also help control any biting and sucking lice that have built up on animals over the winter housed period. You also get 8-10 weeks fly and lice protection from a single insecticide application. In addition, aim to reduce potential insect breeding sites and consider housing livestock at dawn and dusk if insects are particularly active.