More Than Just Fly Control

More Than Just Fly Control

Article and photos courtesy of Central Life Sciences

Managing nuisance insects can be challenging without the appropriate products and integrated pest management strategies. Over time, Central Life Sciences has expanded its product range to include additional solutions for combating flies, fire ants, cockroaches, and other pests labeled as threats to your operation. Offering diverse solutions, we provide the necessary products to combat harmful insects prevalent in your environment.

Flies

Flies are more than just a nuisance on operations; they can significantly impact productivity and profitability without effective control measures in place. Managing diseases transmitted by flies requires employing various methods such as fly traps, baits, and

on-animal treatments to curb fly populations. For instance, house flies, stable flies, face flies, and horn flies are significant concerns in dairy operations due to their ability to transmit over 65 disease-causing organisms, contributing to ailments like Salmonella, mastitis, and pinkeye among cattle.

Central Life Sciences’ ClariFly® Larvicide and Altosid® IGR offer producers protection against the damaging impact of flies. The products don’t directly affect production but provide control for the nuisance flies that do. Both product lines are mixed into cattle feed and passed through the cow’s digestive system and into manure, where they interrupt the life cycle of the fly, preventing development into the adult stage. The active ingredient in each provides target-specific modes of action that are not harmful to birds, fish, reptiles, mammals, or beneficial insects.

When proper fly control isn’t in place, your animals can become stressed and uncomfortable, ultimately lowering overall productivity and profitability. 

Numerous species of flies can be a nuisance to your operation. They can not only annoy animals and humans alike but also affect animal comfort, health, and profitability. By implementing an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program with Starbar®, ClariFly® Larvicide, and Altosid® IGR products, you can protect your operation from costly fly infestations.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches, often overlooked on agricultural operations, pose significant threats to cattle, employees, and the bottom line. Besides contaminating food and spreading diseases, they act as reservoirs and mechanical vectors for various illnesses. Transmission of these diseases includes inhalation, digestion, and cross-contamination. Not only does this affect humans, but it also affects cattle. Some of the diseases and bacteria cockroaches spread include Sarcocystosis, Salmonella, and Listeriosis.

Sarcocystosis is a disease often found in cattle, and they can contract it through ingestion after cockroaches contaminate their food. Signs of illness in cattle may include weakness, muscle spasms, weight loss, abortions, and possibly death.

When roaches crawl in filthy places, they compile Salmonella. After remaining in their digestive system for about a month, it can be transferred and released through their vomit and droppings. Salmonella can cause a wide range of clinical signs in cattle, such as joint infections, abortion, dysentery, chronic pneumonia, and sudden death. This disease is also commonly transmitted to animals by contamination of feed and water but can be found anywhere, such as in animal bedding gates and pens.

Listeriosis is a bacterial infection of the brain, and it can affect a wide variety of animals, including cattle, birds, pigs, and humans. While this disease affects the nervous system, it can lead to other problems such as stillbirths, abortion, and encephalitis. The ingestion of bacteria causes most infections. However, direct contact or inhalation with the bacteria can also cause infection.

Products such as Cyanarox® Insecticidal Bait and Exhalt™ WDG Insect Growth Regulator from Starbar® allow you to protect your operation from the dangerous and costly effects of cockroaches.

Fire Ants

Fire ant infestations can irritate your cattle, causing reduced weight gains and injuries. Even more concerning, stings from fire ants can harm or even kill livestock, especially the young. When fire ants settle into pastures, they often forage for food or moisture in the same areas where livestock graze, according to NC State Extension Publications. 

Extinguish® Plus is the best answer to any fire ant problems on your operation. Extinguish® Plus was designed to offer both short-term and long-term relief from fire ants endangering pastures and livestock. It combines the killing power of an adulticide, Hydramethylnon, and the long-lasting control of the insect growth regulator (IGR), (S)-methoprene.

The dual action of an adulticide and an insect growth regulator (IGR) in Extinguish® Plus kills worker ants and sterilizes the queen, resulting in a one-two punch for fire ants, a quick reduction of mounds, and the confidence that the ants will be completely extinguished through the IGR. Extinguish® Plus is approved for use where cattle graze with no worries about withdrawal periods.

With Extinguish® Plus by your side, you’ll start to see fire ant colonies dwindle in about one week. And the entire colony could be eliminated within as little as two weeks.

Ticks

Because cattle often live and congregate closely together, ticks can multiply and spread rapidly, allowing some insects to turn into a tick infestation on cattle quickly. These blood-sucking insects spread diseases to both humans and cattle, hindering performance and bottom lines.

To effectively protect livestock from ticks, it’s essential to follow a checklist:

Regularly check livestock for ticks in key areas such as the head, ears, brisket, trailhead, udder, and between the legs. Report any findings to the local health department or state animal health official for further guidance and monitoring. Be vigilant for symptoms indicating tick-borne illnesses, such as high fever and weakness, and seek veterinary care promptly if observed. Additionally, maintain pasture hygiene by cutting down brush or weedy areas, reducing tick habitat, and minimizing exposure risk for livestock.

For effective tick control, use a product like Prolate/Lintox-HD™ Insecticide. Able to be used as a pour-on, mist spray, or in a backrubber, its synergized formulation provides effective treatment of ticks.

Lice

Lice can cause intense irritation and affect the appearance of livestock due to rubbing and scratching. Many lice species affect cattle, but the main ones are either biting or sucking lice. Biting lice feed on skin debris while sucking lice suck blood and can cause anemia if infestations are heavy enough. 

By killing listed parasitic flies and controlling lice, Inhibidor™ Insecticidal Pour-On can enable more efficient production by keeping your animals comfortable while protecting your bottom line. Other products for lice control include Cattle Armor™ 1% Synergized Pour On, Starbar® UL-100 EC Insecticidal Spray, Prolate/Lintox HD™ Insecticide, Starbar® E-Pro Adulticide Spray, and Pyronyl™ Crop Spray.

Central Life Sciences understands the detrimental losses that these insects pose to cattle, employees, and your bottom line. With products scientifically tailored to insect behavior at pinpoint locations, our Starbar®, ClariFly® Larvicide, and Altosid® IGR products can help you keep your cattle healthy and comfortable all season. To learn more, visit www.AltosidIGR.com.

Altosid, Cattle Armor, ClariFly, Cyanarox, Exhalt, Extinguish, Inhibidor, Prolate/Lintox HD, Pyronyl, and Starbar are trademarks of Wellmark International.

Pre-weaned calf deworming study showed improved weight-gain, added value

Pre-weaned calf deworming study showed improved weight-gain, added value

By John Lovett, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station

A recent Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station study showed deworming calves about two months before weaning improved weight gain and added value for producers.

Daniel Rivera, associate professor of animal science, said the weight gain translated to adding about $13 of value per head of cattle 21 days after weaning. With roughly 400,000 calves in Arkansas at 400 pounds or less, deworming before weaning could result in an additional $5.12 million to Arkansas beef cattle producers.

“Parasite burden can have a negative effect on performance,” Rivera said. “This can lead to reduced weight gain and other effects that are more difficult to measure, like immune response and vaccine efficacy. Some of these losses might be visible to producers, who will either sell their cattle at weaning or after a preconditioning program.”

A preconditioning program is a period, typically a minimum of 45 days, used to build the health status of a weaned calf before sale.

Rivera said most cattle ranchers usually do not handle their animals until they wean them. However, he had read studies that suggested pre-weaning management can have extended effects.

“I just wanted to see what the effect was, and we saw that small effect early on, but the fact that it carried through, even 56 days later, showed that some of these things that we do prior to weaning can have an impact later one,” Rivera said. “This, surprisingly, was one of them.”

The added labor for deworming pre-weaned calves, Rivera said, could be a full-day job for cow-calf producers in Arkansas and the cost of labor would need to be considered by the producer to determine if the process is right for them.

The calves dewormed before weaning averaged 4.5 pounds heavier than the control group that did not receive a dewormer before being weaned. That translated to $10.25 in value added per head at weaning time and $12.80 per head 21 days after weaning. The values are based on the Dec. 11, 2023, Arkansas Department of Agriculture market report for a 500-pound calf at $2.51 per pound. Calves have increased in value since then, with the late February-early March 2024 market report offering $3.04 per pound for 500-pound calves.

Finding answers

The study was conducted near Hope at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s Southwest Research and Extension Center. Rivera is director of the facility and conducts research for the Division of Agriculture’s research arm, the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station.

For the study, Rivera’s team randomly assigned calves to one of two groups. The calves in one group received a deworming treatment 60 days before the set date in October when they would be weaned. The other group was the control and did not receive deworming treatment before weaning. For the experiment, all calves were weighed and then either given a dewormer or not based on their assigned group. At weaning time, all the calves in the study were dewormed and vaccinated, including those already dewormed before being weaned.

Researchers took blood samples from the calves on their second round of vaccinations three weeks after weaning. The pre-weaned dewormed calves still had a 5.5-pound weight advantage over those that did not get a deworming treatment before being weaned.

A follow-up study will take place this summer at the center. Rivera’s team is analyzing the blood samples from the calves to see if pre-weaned, dewormed calves have different antibody levels than the control group. Antibodies are proteins the immune system produces to protect the body from illness.

“One of the things that happens when you have a parasitic infection is that the body starts to fight that infection and sometimes resources aren’t available to mount other immune responses,” Rivera said. “One of our lines of thinking is that if we have this worm load on these calves, that may have a negative impact on their antibody production.”

Merck donated the dewormer used in the study. Use of a product name does not imply endorsement by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: https://aaes.uada.edu. Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit https://uada.edu/. Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk. To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu.

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

Transforming Cattle Health and Profitability with Horn Fly Management

Transforming Cattle Health and Profitability with Horn Fly Management

Article and photos courtesy of Central Life Sciences

Found on the backs of cattle, horn flies are the most pervasive and costly external parasites of cattle in North America, taking up to 40 blood meals a day. Losses from horn flies cost the industry an estimated $1 billion each year due to the stress they inflict and diseases they spread to cattle. Using a fly management program to limit flies on cattle will help promote herd health.

The Impact of Horn Flies

Effects from horn flies on cattle include:

 • Irritating cattle with their painful bites causing cattle stress and annoyance

 • Burning excess energy to dislodge flies and cattle bunching, leading to interrupted grazing patterns

 • Reducing weight gains and calf weaning weights  

 • Decreasing milk production

The diseases that horn flies spread to cattle, including beef heifer mastitis, can be linked to lower conception rates. Studies have confirmed that cows with infections can take 25% longer to conceive. 

Beef heifer mastitis is a potentially devastating issue for cattle herds, as it can quickly spread and have a significant impact on both animal health and your bottom line. Mastitis, characterized by the inflammation and infection of one or more teats, often leads to the development of blind quarters. This condition, while often overlooked, can destroy the milk-producing tissues within the affected teats, ultimately resulting in decreased milk production and reduced weaning weights.

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Horn flies are known to feed on the blood vessels in the skin of the teats, causing irritation and creating a gateway for mastitis-causing bacteria. Horn flies can carry these harmful bacteria from one animal to another, entering the teat orifice and moving upward within the quarter, where they inflict damage on the milk-producing tissues. These flies only leave the animals to lay their eggs in fresh manure, perpetuating the cycle of infection and infestation.

According to Dr. Nickerson at University of Georgia, 75% of all heifers have mastitis before they calve. He attributes 50% of that mastitis to the horn fly. By implementing an effective fly control program and incorporating Altosid® IGR to help prevent cases of mastitis, you can improve the overall health of the herd, particularly among the heifers.

The Horn Fly Life Cycle

To better control fly populations and protect against cattle diseases, it’s essential to understand the horn fly life cycle:

 • Day Zero: Female adult flies leave the backs of cattle briefly to lay their eggs in fresh manure.

 • Day 1-2: Eggs hatch into horn fly larvae.

 • Day 3-8: Larvae molt into pupae.

 • Day 9-17: Pupae molt into adults.

 • Day 18-40: The adult horn fly emerges as a small, black insect, approximately 4 millimeters long. The adult can live anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks.

While the total life span of horn flies is slightly longer than one month, their populations expand quickly, causing infestations. In untreated herds, fly infestations can increase rapidly to upwards of 4,000 flies per animal.

Implementing proper practices and preventative fly control strategies is key to protecting your herd and profit from horn flies. Altosid® IGR is a feed-through fly control solution that passes through the digestive system and works in cattle manure where horn flies lay their eggs, limiting future populations from emerging. The active ingredient in Altosid® IGR mimics naturally occurring insect biochemicals that are responsible for insect development. The most effective way to control fly populations is to interrupt their life cycle. And Altosid® IGR, from Central Life Sciences, does just that while also eliminating the expense, labor and stress on your cattle associated with other fly control methods.

The 30/30 Program

Disrupting this life cycle is an essential component of controlling horn flies. By adding Altosid® IGR 30 days before fly emergence and continuing throughout the season until 30 days after the first frost, you can help prevent the spread of infectious diseases in cattle. 

The 30/30 Program recommends the use of Altosid® IGR to control fly populations. Producers should start including these products in their feed or supplement early in the spring, 30 days before flies begin to appear through 30 days after the first frost when cold weather reduces or ends fly activity. This time frame ensures an ideal window of treatment with the products, protecting against an unpredictably early or late start to the spring or winter seasons.

To limit the population of overwintering flies that emerge in spring and mark the start of fly season, producers should follow the key steps of the 30/30 Program:

 • Begin feeding Altosid® IGR 30 days before average daytime temperatures reach 65° F.

 • Continue the process until 30 days after the first frost in the fall.

Numerous studies have highlighted the severe economic damage that flies can cause to both dairy and beef operations. Therefore, it is essential to control fly populations. By adopting a “30/30” approach, producers can get ahead of the fly population in the spring before it builds up to a level that exceeds the economic threshold.

By continuing to feed 30 days past the average first frost date in the fall, producers can reduce the total number of overwintering pupae, giving them a head start on the population for the following year. When incorporated into a complete Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, the use of Altosid® IGR with a “30/30” approach can help producers account for the unpredictability of the seasons and significantly lower fly populations while increasing cattle comfort and profitability.

Integrated Pest Management

The key component to start any IPM program is the initial Planning phase, which includes the identification of problem pests, understanding their habits and devising a management strategy. Once the target pests have been identified, a successful IPM strategy must advance to the Implementation phase, approaching pest control through a combination of several complementary methods.

To have a complete program, one should include several of the following tactics:

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1. Improve cultural practices to reduce fly resting, feeding, and breeding sites through regular cleaning and upkeep of facilities and surrounding vegetation. Effective fly control begins with cultural practices, particularly in managing cattle manure. Flies breed in manure, emphasizing the importance of proper manure management.

2. Incorporating natural enemies of flies, such as parasitic wasps and predatory beetles, constitutes biological control. This method helps limit fly populations without adverse effects on animals or humans. By enhancing the ecosystem’s natural balance, biological control is an eco-friendly approach to pest management.

3. Incorporate various physical techniques, like fly traps and sticky tapes to remove adult flies that migrate from surrounding areas and help monitor the amount of fly activity.

4. Using targeted products to control flies like Altosid® IGR, a feed-through fly control product. This product delivers a key active ingredient to cattle, disrupting the fly life cycle in manure and preventing the emergence of adult horn flies.

While establishing a solid Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program is crucial, the journey doesn’t stop there. Ongoing monitoring is just as vital. Regularly assessing fly populations using speck cards and fly traps allows cattle operators to fine-tune their strategies, maximizing control efforts. 

For maximum effectiveness, Altosid® IGR should be used as the foundation of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, including proper sanitation, maintaining physical structures, incorporating naturally occurring fly enemies and using chemical controls. Given the role flies play in cow health and conception, implementing proper practices and preventative fly control strategies is key to protecting your herd and profit from horn flies.

To learn more about Altosid® IGR fly control solutions, call 800.347.8272 or visit www.AltosidIGR.com.

Altosid is a registered trademark of Wellmark International.

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