August 1, 2014

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Controlling flies on cattle

Warmer weather brings more pest problems. Horn flies and face flies are key pests of cattle in Kentucky. Both species breed in fresh pasture manure piles but present very different threats and management problems. Fortunately, there are a variety of fly control options.

Horn flies are blood feeders. They remain on animals most of the time, taking 20 to 30 small blood meals per day. More than 100 flies along the sides and backs of each animal every day during the fly season can mean 12 to 15 pounds lower weaning weights for spring calves and poor gains for older animals. The close association between the horn fly and the animal, however, does make many control methods quite effective.