Flies are a nuisance to animals and people; they can spread disease and reduce weight gain in calves and heifers. Now is the time to develop an integrated pest-management strategy that incorporates several complementary control methods, so you can stay ahead of fly problems later in the year. University of Maine Extension educator Patricia Westenbroek provides the following principles to help you develop a strategy for fly control.

  • Plan a strategy, beginning with an attainable goal. Make a plan that employs several methods to control flies, implement it and measure your progress. Establish a simple, flexible plan and a contingency plan.
  • Start control before fly populations begin to build. Monitor fly activity, adjust to changing weather, don’t repeat methods that haven’t worked and keep up your efforts throughout the season.
  • Follow label instructions so that enough pesticide is applied or adequate numbers of beneficial insects are released to do the job without wasting resources. Avoid unnecessary treatments, but be decisive and take action when it is needed.
  • Use fly weaknesses to your advantage. Fly control is difficult due to their short generation time, prolific reproduction and ability to detoxify many pesticides, but, managing their environment can help make them more susceptible to control measures. Keeping the environment clean and dry increases the generation time and reduces reproduction. Careful use of insecticides will minimize resistance and protect natural fly enemies. Using several control methods allows you to attack flies on multiple levels.
  • Make sure the pieces of your plan work together.
  • Monitor fly populations through the whole season and respond to changes as they occur.
  • Avoid a fly control rut; use new practices if the flies adapt to your current methods.

Source: Dairy Calf and Heifer Association