Horn flies, face flies, stable flies, ticks, lice and mites are the major external parasites in beef cattle.
- Horn Flies are about half the size of house flies and are dark gray. They are blood-sucking flies that stay on the shoulders and backs of cattle almost continuously. There are many options to assist in control:
1. Backrubbers allow cattle to treat themselves while loafing and scratching.
2. Dust bags are most effective when used where cattle have to pass under them daily to get to water or mineral.
3. Feed additives target horn fly maggots breeding in fresh animal manure.
4. High pressure sprays can be used to treat cattle thoroughly and inexpensively on a per head basis.
5. An insecticide bolus is a large pill-like formulation that is given to the animal with a standard balling gun.
6. Insecticide-impregnated cattle ear tags release small amounts of an insecticide which are distributed over the animal during grooming or rubbing.
7. Pour on insecticides
Face Flies closely resemble house flies. They cluster on the faces of cattle and feed on secretions from the mucus membranes of the eyes, nose, and lips. Face flies do not suck blood. They do irritate the surface of the eyeball and carry and spread bacteria and viruses that contribute to pinkeye problems. They spend only a small portion of their life on cattle which makes them more difficult to control than horn flies.
Stable flies are sometimes called biting house flies.The look very much like house flies. They feed primarily on legs and lower abdomen of cattle. The blood loss and pain associated with the bite of stable flies results in substantial economic loss.
Ticks cause blood loss, discomfort, and spread diseases like anaplasmosis described above. Tick control is extremely difficult in areas with high tick populations. Control on cattle through persistent use of approved pesticides is achieved by spraying, dipping, ear tags, pour-ons, dust, and backrubs.
Lice cause skin irritation and itching. Both biting and sucking lice infest cattle. Infested cattle can experience reduced appetite and appear unhealthy. Sprays and pour-ons are common methods to treat cattle lice.
Mite infestation is called mange in cattle. A serious form of mange is called scabies. Scabies is caused by sarcoptic and psoroptic mites and must be reported to the disease control authorities. Cattle infested with mites suffer hair loss and a thickening of the skin. Severe infestations can weaken cattle and make them vulnerable to diseases. Mite control works best with Injectable products or pour-on products with systemic activity