HORN FLIES: THE BILLION DOLLAR PROBLEM Horn flies are a common problem for cattle producers that can pose a significant financial threat to a beef operation. By taking up to 40 blood meals per day with piercing mouthparts, horn flies can cause growing cattle to experience reduced weight gains and decreased feed efficiency caused by loss of blood and excessive energy expenditure to dislodge the flies.
They are also a leading cause of infections in cows as they bite the animals to feast on their blood, leading to the development of many scabs containing bacteria that can develop into disease. The combined damage attributed to horn flies is estimated to cost the North American cattle industry more than $1 billion per year.
Infestation levels can reach upwards of 4,000 horn flies per cow with the acceptable economic threshold an exponentially smaller 200 flies per cow. For the most effective control of these costly pests, beef cattle operators should trust their fly control to an Insect Growth Regulator like Altosid® IGR.
30/30 APPLICATION STRATEGIES FOR HORN FLY FREE CATTLE
Effective horn fly control strategies by cattlemen require following an optimal product application schedule. By controlling horn flies all season, cattle owners and ranch operators can see a difference in their herds. Application of Altosid® IGR Feed-Thru, an insect growth regulator that controls horn flies by interrupting their life cycles, can begin at any time, but including it in the feed supplement 30 days prior to fly emergence will manage the flies that have overwintered in pastures. Continuing to include Altosid® IGR in the feed supplement throughout the summer months and into fall until 30 days after the first frost will reduce the number of flies overwintering.
Typically, a feed-thru program requires three to four weeks for significant reduction in adult horn fly populations, and depending on the level of infestation and the timing of the initial application, should be combined with an adulticide program for maximum control.
WHAT IS AN IGR? An insect growth regulator (IGR) is a substance that controls harmful pest populations by interrupting the life cycle of insects. Horn flies lay eggs in manure that eventually hatch into larvae and develop into breeding, biting, adult flies. Larvae developing in manure containing IGRs are never able to emerge from the pupal stage.
IGRs like Altosid® IGR, manufactured by Central Life Sciences, come in a variety of formulations. Altosid® IGR provides an effective solution for controlling breeding, biting horn flies. To learn more about insect growth regulator technology and fly control, visit www.altosidigr.com.