6 June 1997

Be ready to repel flies…

SHEEP and cattle producers are urged to take preventative measures against flies.

Mike Taylor, head of parasitology at MAFFs Central Veterinary Laboratory, Weybridge, Surrey, warns that despite lack of rain in some parts of the country, flies are likely to be as great a concern as ever.

"Blowflies need rain to become very active – and there hasnt been a great deal in some areas. However, nuisance and biting flies are likely to pester animals, and we would advocate producers take a preventative approach."

To protect sheep, he suggests opting for an insect growth regulator type spray or a synthetic pyrethroid pour-on.

"For cattle, consider ear tags, sprays or pour-ons, depending on individual situations. If cattle cannot be gathered easily, ear-tags may be the best option, but where they can be rounded up regularly, producers may, for instance, choose to use a pour-on product."

He warns that nuisance and biting flies can reduce herd or flock performance, particularly where animals are prevented from grazing or feeding. "Bear in mind that flies can also spread diseases such as infectious conjunctivitis in cattle and can also spread bacteria."