An Integrated Pest Management Plan (a multi-pronged attack)

Jul 02, 2014
1. Vaccinate cattle annually for pinkeye, it can't hurt, although I've read mixed reviews about the effectiveness of the vaccine
2. Use feed through products (such as Rabon... Blocks) to prevent development of fly larvae in manure
3. Use topical fly repellent applied with a drench gun on the backs of the cattle. We use the hand-held pump sprayers you can get at the local farm supply store. I can spray the cows from 20’ away using one of those!
4. Use “Fly Predators” or other fly parasites to organically attack fly larvae. They are available from Spalding Laboratory.
5. Spread manure out so that it dries quickly or compost it. Flies will not lay eggs in dry manure. (My neighbors must think I’m crazy, because I can often be seen walking through the pasture in my rubber boots kicking apart piles of manure!)
6. Treat herd for lice in November and again in February (lice tend to multiply within the comfort of the thick winter coat).
7. Hang bat boxes to attract bat colonies (they eat hundreds of pounds of insects throughout the summer).
8. Hang Purple Martin nest stands/gords to attract purple martin colonies (they also eat hundreds of pounds of insects throughout the summer).
9. Consider adding "Indian Runner Ducks" to your critter family. They forage for and eat larvae in manure pats (and also help scatter the manure pats so they dry out).
10. Encourage other birds to nest on your property: bluebirds, barn swallows
11. Build organic fly traps such as:, the Epps Fly Trap, or a plastic bottle 1⁄2 full with water (add 1⁄2 cup sugar, 1 cup apple cider vinegar and a banana peel)
12. Provide dark areas (e.g., inside your barn) where your cattle can hide during the day. Flies will not fly into dark areas. Having a fan on in the barn also helps repel flies from entry.
13. Treat for worms 2 or 3 times annually. The pelleted Ivermectin product is easy to mix in with grain. I either find "alone" time to feed each cow individually or let them into the barn one at a time to simultaneously feed the worming medication and pour on fly repellent while they are distracted by the grain.
14. Manage your manure piles by spreading the manure in your pastures, donating it to friends for their gardens, or even selling it.
Do we still have flies...yes. Are they tolerable...definitely. Was our integrated pest plan hard to implement. NO! We haven't obtained ducks yet...not sure how to successfully protect them from ground and airborne predator attacks and still allow them to freely roam about the property destroying manure pats. Let us know if you have any great fly control tips and we’ll add them to this article. Cheers!