Don’t relent on fly and tick control late in the grazing season

By Mike Catangui

The face fly (Musca autumnalis) [Fig. 1] is a known vector of the bacterium that causes pinkeye disease in cattle. Pinkeye disease, if not immediately treated, can result in cattle blindness.
flies on face of brown and white cow
Fig. 1. Face flies feeding on the secretions of the eyes and nose of a cow.

Fall fly and tick control

Research conducted by MWI Animal Health Technical Services in central Nebraska indicated that face fly, horn fly (Haematobia irritans) [Fig. 2] and stable fly (Stomoxys calcitrans[Fig. 3] populations peak in late summer through early fall.

In the southern United States, ticks can also become numerous at this time of year [Fig. 4]. Ticks are persistent blood feeders and vectors of several disease-causing microorganisms. Visible injuries (e.g., gotched or drooping ears) [Fig. 4] caused by ticks can lower the market value of cattle.

It is imperative for ranchers to not relent on their fly and tick control programs late in the season to ensure optimum cattle health and production.

For immediate reduction in fly and tick numbers, the herd can be sprayed with an insecticide using a mist sprayer [Fig. 5]. Water-based [Table 1] and oil-based [Table 2] insecticides can be used as on-animal sprays to control flies and ticks on pastured beef cattle.

flies on a cow's back
Fig. 2. Horn flies on the top and side of a cow. (Photo: Kim Holt)
Flies on leg of cow
Fig. 3. Stable flies on the leg of cow. (Photo: Dr. Mike Catangui)
ticks on ear of cattle
Fig. 4. Gulf coast ticks (Amblyomma maculatum) on the ear of cattle. (Photo: Dr. Scott McKenzie)
cows being sprayed for flies
Fig 5. A herd of cattle being sprayed for flies using an A1 Mist Sprayer.
Table 1 - Water-based on-animal sprays

Table 2 - Oil-based on-animal sprays

About The Author

Mike Catangui, Ph. D

Entomologist, Parasitologist
MWI Animal Health
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