Farm - 11-03-2024 - Keir Hamilton BVM&S MRCVS - 0 comments
Fly Control - Cattle newsletter

Fly Control newlsetter - read it in full here

As we head into Spring we can all start to be more optimistic - the days will get longer, it will get warmer, the fields will get drier and Scotland will win the 6 Nations (maybe not all of these are true.) However, one thing that is inevitable are flies. Although it seems early now is a good time to think about fly control. 

Flies can be split into 3 different types: 

Nuisance flies - commonly seen around the eyes of cattle, udders and around wounds. They breed in faeces and rotten vegetation and as their name implies these flies annoy cattle, causing irritation. They are responsible for transmitting diseases such as Summer Mastitis and New Forest eye

Biting flies - such as midges, breed in faeces or around damp areas. These cause severe irritation and can be responsible for transmitting blood borne virus such as Schmallenberg or Blue tongue

Myiasis flies - the larvae of these flies, maggots, feed on tissue causing flystrike. Although primarily an issue in sheep, in recent years we have seen cases of flystrike in cattle. 


Flies are well documented for causing losses through disease, reduced feed intake and in turn yield/daily liveweight gain and also compromise welfare. Diseases such as Summer Mastitis and Infectious Bovine Keratoconjunctivitis (New Forest Eye) both require treatment and can be frustrating cases to resolve. 

Blood borne viruses such as Schmallenberg can cause fever, reduced milk yield, inappetence and diarrhoea in adult cattle, however is most commonly associated with abortion or foetal abnormalities during pregnancy. We have unfortunately seen an increase in suspicious Schmallenberg cases this year so far - likely down to a mild autumn and winter.  There is also concern that with increased temperatures the risk of Bluetongue will also spread to the Southwest as cases are currently being recorded in Kent, Norfolk and Suffolk.  

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