Identifying potential fly problems and treating them early will reduce the chance of a sudden increase in numbers having an impact on a herd’s performance, in both beef and dairy herds.

Flies, as well as being a nuisance to stock and stock handlers, can have quite considerable economic implications. Some species are also implicated in the transmission of disease, explains Intervet large animal vet advisor Rosemary Booth.

There are five particularly important species of nuisance fly and these have different lifecycles, preferred habitats and level of irritation and damage they cause.

“Under optimum conditions, some flies can reproduce to create further generations of adult flies in as little as 10 days. Considering that a single female can lay about 400, it takes little time for a relatively unnoticeable problem to become one where a farm will be overwhelmed with flies.”

As soon as biting or nuisance flies are seen and when weather conditions favour their continued reproduction and development, the application of a suitable treatment is important.

“But treating with a fly control product is just one aspect of what should be seen as an integrated programme. The information in the table allows farmers to develop their own control strategies using a combination of treatments like Butox SWISH, combined with a policy of making it difficult for flies to breed and survive,” she adds.