Fly Control - LSU AgCenter

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Fly Controlfor HorsesFlies are the most important insect pests of horses. Among this large, diversegroup of insects, the pests of horses include bloodsucking or biting flies, filth orirritation flies, mosquitoes and bot flies.Horses are susceptible to one or more fly pests at almost any time of the year. Allflies have the same life stages which include egg, larva, pupa and the adult fly. Theadult fly is the pest stage of the life cycle for most flies, but the horse bot is one ofseveral exceptions where the fly larva is the primary pest stage.Flies that depend on livestock for their energy (food) source are the easiest tocontrol on horses. These pests, such as the horn fly, usually spend more time on oraround horses. For other fly species, such as the horse fly, only the female adult flyfeeds on horses, and only a single blood meal is required for egg production. Theseflies are more difficult to control because they spend very little time on the animal;most of the life cycle develops independent of horses.Tabanids: Horse Flies and Deer Flies (multiple species)Description and Biology. The tabanids are agroup of flies that include the deer flies and horseflies. Deer flies are the smaller flies ranging in sizefrom 1/4 to 3/8 inch in length. They are yelloworange with body markings and normally havepatterned wings. Horse flies are a diverse group offlies ranging in length from 3/8 to 1 1/4 inch. Theyalso vary in color, body markings and wing markings, but superficially have a similar appearance.Male tabanids never feed on animals; females feed onanimals only when a blood meal is needed to supportegg development. Tabanid larvae develop in aquaticand semi-aquatic environments and feed on smallaquatic animals. There is usually one generation peryear, but this varies somewhat among the manyspecies.Economic/Health Significance. Tabanidsare painful biters, causing extreme annoyance andblood loss. Local reactions to the bites includedermal nodules. Tabanids mechanically transmitagents of more than 35 diseases of livestock including equine infectious anemia and M. gypseumdermatophytosis.Control. Management is accomplished byprotecting horses from adult, female flies. The frequent use of a pyrethroid-based insecticide formulated with a repellent is the most practical means ofHorse flyHorse flyHorse flyHorse flyHorse flyDeer flyTabanid flies1

protection. Pastures located well away from woodedareas are preferred; they reduce the incidence oftabanid problems. Most tabanid flies do not enterbarns, thus stabling of horses during peak tabanidactivity can also help. Using an electrified insect lighttrap inside the barn can help control those tabanidsthat do enter structures. These and other traps are notvery useful outside in the open.Horse flies feedingon a horse’s legTabanid fly laying eggsBlack Flies (multiple species)Description and Biology. Black flies aresmall, 1/8 to less than 1/4 inch in length, with acharacteristic humpbacked appearance. There aremultiple species of black flies. They are daytimepests, but only the female fly requires a blood meal atthree- to five-day intervals. The larval stage developsin moving water. Depending on the species, a massemergence of flies can occur either once or severaltimes each year, and outbreaks can last from twoweeks to three months. Black fly swarms are usuallyheavier close to rivers and streams, but wind currentscan move swarms many miles from their aquaticbreeding habitat.Economic/Health Significance. Black flyswarms cause extreme annoyance and intense itching. Flies feed inside the ears and on the head, neck,chest, medial thighs and abdomen. In extreme situations, hypersensitivity can develop or death mayresult by injection of a toxin while flies are feeding.Ears are especially sensitive to individual bites,which may cause bleeding and blood crusts. Blackflies have also been implicated in the transmission ofa papillomavirus that causes aural plaque.Control. Horses must be protected during blackfly outbreaks. Stabling can be effective, becauseblack flies will usually not enter buildings. Frequentapplication of products formulated with an insecticide and repellent also can protect animals. Otherprotective methods include ear nets and the application of petroleum jelly inside the ears.2Black flyBlack fly feeding sores in horse ear

Biting Midges (multiple species)Description and Biology. Biting midges area group of flies referred to as “punkies,” “no-seeums”, biting gnats or sand flies. These tiny, gnat-likeflies are from 1/16 to 3/8 inch. Only the female flytakes a blood meal at three- to four-day intervals.There are many species of biting midges, and theirbreeding habitats are diverse. In one group of bitingmidges, the larvae develop in sandy or clay silt soilsand the adults emerge after a rainy period. The othergroup breeds in a variety of habitats including water,manure and decaying vegetation. Some species havemultiple generations each year. Most species ofbiting midges feed at night and prefer calm, windlessconditions.Economic/Health Significance. These flieshave a very irritating bite that causes extreme itching.Biting midges are known carriers of certain diseases,plus they can induce a seasonal hypersensitivity.Itching is most severe along the base of the mane andtail and over the withers, but other areas can beaffected. Because these flies are so small, they are notalways recognized as the cause of the itching andirritation. Thus, it is important to associate the symptoms with the biting midge season so that the causeof the problem can be remedied.Control. Hypersensitive horses can be treatedwith steroid medications, but the best way to managethe allergy is by protecting the horse from bitingmidges. Stabling horses provides protection. Sincebiting midges are minute, weak-flying insects, fanscan be helpful, even in open-sided stables. Screenedwindows treated with a residual insecticide such aspermethrin can provide a protective barrier. Open,breezy pastures are preferable to low-lying pasturessurrounded by woods. Elimination of standing waterand water leaks according to mosquito managementrecommendations can be helpful for some bitingmidge species.Biting midgeHypersensitivity from biting midgesStable FlyDescription and Biology. The stable fly is abiting fly that resembles a house fly in size and color,but it can be distinguished by its prominent bloodsucking mouthparts that extend forward. Stable fliesbreed in decaying vegetation. The optimum habitatfor larval development is hay or silage mixed withurine, water and manure. This combination can bereadily found in stables and pens, and sometimes inpastures when hay is being fed. Multiple generationsare produced each year in Louisiana, with the earlyspring months being the most active season.Economic/Health Significance. Both themale and female are blood feeders, and the preferredfeeding sites are the legs and abdomen. Stable fliesinflict a painful bite that results in blood loss andannoyance. Bite-related sores (summer sores) are alsoassociated with this fly. Stable flies transmit agents ofStable fly taking a blood meal3

several equine diseases such as equine infectiousanemia virus.Control. Fly control products containingresidual insecticides and repellents can be useful instable fly control. These materials should be directedtoward the legs. Multiple applications will probablybe required. Premise treatments with residual insecticides around stables and pens are also helpful. Stableflies often rest on walls or fences in sunny areaswhen they are not feeding on horses. Proper management and disposal of larval habitat are the mosteffective tools. The use of elevated hay feeders andproper management of spoiled hay and other organicdebris can reduce problems in pastures.Horn FlyDescription and Biology. Horn flies aresmall flies, about 1/4 inch long, that spend essentially their entire adult life on the animal hosts. Hornflies breed only in fresh cow manure, so the presenceof cattle in the vicinity of horses is necessary for thisfly to be a problem on horses. There are multiplegenerations each year, and heavy populations occurin summer.Economic/Health Significance. Both sexesare blood feeders. Horn flies feed in groups on theshoulders, neck, withers and abdomen. Horn flyfeeding can be a primary cause of seasonal midlinedermatitis on the belly.Control. The horn fly is relatively easy tocontrol on horses. Residual sprays at labeled intervals will protect adequately. Separation from cattle oreffective control of horn flies on cattle can obviouslyreduce the problem on horses.Horn FliesHorn fly feeding on stomach area4

Mosquitoes (multiple species)Description and Biology. Mosquitoes areoften an unnoticed problem on horses and otherlivestock. Mosquitoes are relatively small, fragileinsects, and the most active feeding period for mostspecies is the first two hours following sunset. Onlythe female feeds, and a blood meal is required everythree to four days. Mosquito larvae develop in permanent water sources and in habitats prone to fluctuating water levels, such as ditches, low-lying areas ofpastures, tree holes and containers. Multiple generations are produced each year, and the life cycle can becompleted within a week during warm weather.Rainy periods or heavy rains following a drought cancreate explosive mosquito populations.Economic/Health Significance. The primary impact of mosquitoes on horses is the transmission of viruses that cause diseases such as Western(WEE) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) andthe West Nile Virus. Routine vaccinations are essential for maximum protection from these diseases;mosquito control practices alone are not sufficient.Control. Management of mosquito larvaehabitats on the premise can be an important component of the overall control program. Certain insecticides, surfactants and biological control agents arelabeled for treatment of standing water (aquatic larvalhabitat), although professional consultation is recommended to avoid harming non-target organisms.Local mosquito abatement agencies can be contactedabout mosquito control off premises. On premises,drainage of standing water, troughs, cleaning of raingutters and elimination of manmade water containerscan reduce the mosquito problem. Certain predatoryminnows can be stocked in water sources that cannotbe drained. The use of timed over-head sprays,foggers and residual sprays to walls and other surfaces will help control adult mosquitoes. Directtreatment of horses with insecticide/repellent products can provide protection from mosquitoes, but itmay not be adequate in heavy mosquito outbreaks.MosquitoHouse FlyDescription and Biology. The house fly is anon-biting filth fly about 3/8 of an inch long. Housefly larvae develop in a wide variety of organic debris,although the larvae develop best in manure.Economic/Health Significance. House fliescause considerable irritation and stress to horses byfeeding on eye secretions (tears) and on wounds.House flies have been shown to mechanically transmit more than 60 animal pathogens and are associated with summer sores. In addition, large house flypopulations on a horse farm or horse facility cancreate problems with non-agricultural neighbors.Control. Sanitation or larval habitat management is an essential component in an effective housefly control program. Proper disposal of spoiled hayand feed, bedding and manure are necessary. Propercomposting is the most effective house fly management tool, if the adequate sterilizing temperatures canbe achieved in the compost structure. Chemicalcontrol strategies are complementary to habitatmanagement, but they cannot substitute for it. Theuse of insecticide/repellent products applied directlyto the face and neck can provide protection andcontrol. Residual sprays applied to premise walls andother resting areas and timed space spray systems areboth important components of the overall program.In addition fly baits, sticky traps and electric gridsare used for fly house control. Commercially available “fly masks” or face masks attached to halters canprevent eye feeding by house flies.House Fly: adult flies, eggs, pupae and larvae5

Horse Bots and Other Flies That Cause MyiasisMyiasis is the infestation of tissue by fly larvae.Facultative myiasis is caused by fly maggots thatnormally develop in carrion, but also can develop inwounds of live animals. The secondary screwworm,the black blow fly and the green or bronze blow flyare examples of fly maggots that cause myiasis onlive horses. Maggot-infested wounds should bethoroughly cleansed, and infested tissue should besurgically removed. Wounds should then be treatedwith insecticide-containing wound ointments, followed by further supportive treatment. Repellents arehelpful in the prevention of myiasis in wounds.Cattle grubs are obligate parasites that can occasionally infest horses. Subcutaneous and dermalnodules, commonly referred to as warbles, are mostcommonly found in the spring and early summer andwill usually be located on the back. Individualwarbles can be removed surgically, but warble development can be prevented by the use of avermectinendectocides. Since cattle grub larvae migratethrough the body before reaching the back, otherinternal complications will occasionally occur.Horse bots are rather large flies that are bee-likein appearance. They are obligate parasites and thelarval stage causes the damage. The life cycle of botflies takes about one year. Adult flies attach theireggs to hairs of horses, and the larvae (bots) initiallyburrow into the lips and tongue for a few weeks,where they cause temporary irritation. The larvaethen migrate to the stomach, where they grow for upto 10 months before being passed in the manure. Thelarvae pupate in the ground for one to two months,and then adult bot flies emerge to begin the cycleagain. Overlapping generations result in extendedperiods of bot fly activity. Many of the endectocidetreatments for internal parasites and other oral treatments will control horse bots when routinely applied.Horse bot flyChemical ControlTable 1 lists the insecticides, repellents andsynergists labeled for use on horses in 2005. Thesechemicals are the active ingredients contained incommercial products, many of which are sold overthe counter at agricultural retail outlets and by veterinarians.Insecticides kill insects, and some have additionalrepellent activity. Repellents, as the name indicates,only repel insects. Synergists alone have no insecticidal or repellent activity, but they can improveinsecticide performance when included in the product.6Some fly control products require mixing withwater, but many are sold in ready-to-use formulations. Two or more active ingredients are oftencombined in commercial products. For example, aproduct may contain one or more insecticides, arepellent and a synergist. Most insecticides listed aresold under many brand names, although differentbrand names may contain different concentrations orhave the insecticide in combination with differentactive ingredients.

Table1. Insecticides, repellents and synergists for use on horses teRequires mixingInsecticide RalYesYesYesYesNoNoNoYesNoNoYesYesInsecticide NoNoRabon Oral Larvicide,Equitrol and othersYesNoRepellentsButoxypolypropylene glycol (Stabilene)Dipropyl isocinchomeronate (MGK oNoSynergistsPiperonyl butoxideN-octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide (MGK264)YesYesNoNoInsecticide Feed-ThroughTetrachlorvinophosInsecticides and repellents are sold in variousforms. That is, there are several means of delivery forthese chemicals to be applied to horses (Table 2).The most effective are stabilized with sunscreens andsome are further stabilized by formulation in siliconcontaining products. Method of application is oftena critical variable. For example, wipe-on products canbe more effective than other methods for applicationof the same insecticide and/or repellent.Table 2. Means of delivery for insecticides andrepellents for fly control on horses.SpraysWound Treatment Gels/OintmentsStabilized SpraysClothing SpraysFace LotionsFly Collars/Leg BandsRoll-ons (face and head)Wipe-ons and Towelettes7

Table 3. Premise treatment insecticides for fly control in and around stables and livestock barns (2005).Premise SpraysFogging/ Space SpraysBaits and StripsCyfluthrin (Countdown)PyrethrinsDeltamethrin (Annihilator)ResmethrinFenvalerate (Ectrin)Tetrachlorvinophos (Rabon)PermethrinTetramethrinLambda-cyhalothrin (Grenade)AllethrinMethomyl (Apache, BlueStreak, Golden Malrin)Imidichloprid (Quickbayt Baitand Strip)MuscalureNithiazine (Quickstrike strips)Table 4. Pest management strategies for common fly pests of httwilighttwilightFans & treated Noscreens helpfulExclusiondevicesNoEar netsFly blanketsNoHay & fromwoodedareasNoEffective forcertain speciesOpen, breezypasturepreferredNoPremise treatmentswith insecticidesNoFly strips, trapsor baitsNoResidualinsecticidesPartialapplied to alsanitationNoEspecially Nopasture hayNoControlflies oncattleNoNoNoNoNoEffective forNocertain esYesAuthors:Jack Baldwin, Professor and Extension EntomologistLane Foil, Professor, Dept. of EntomologyCarol Foil, Professor, Dept. of Veterinary Clinical SciencesVisit our Web site:www.lsuagcenter.com8HornFlyLouisiana State University Agricultural CenterWilliam B. Richardson, ChancellorLouisiana Agricultural Experiment StationDavid J. Boethel, Vice Chancellor and DirectorLouisiana Cooperative Extension ServicePaul D. Coreil, Vice Chancellor and DirectorPub. 2913(online only)2/05Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Actsof Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperationwith the United States Department of Agriculture. TheLouisiana Cooperative Extension Service provides equalopportunities in programs and employment.

Horse fly Horse fly Horse fly Horse fly Horse fly Deer fly Tabanid flies Tabanids: Horse Flies and Deer Flies (multiple species) Description and Biology. The tabanids are a group of flies that include the deer flies and horse flies. Deer flies are the smaller flies ranging in size from 1/4 to 3/8 inch in length. They are yellow-

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