Fly Control Problems

Cow in pasture

 Article and photos courtesy of Central Life Sciences.

Fly control on a dairy operation can feel like an overwhelming task. There are a number of different areas that need to be treated and maintained to protect your animals, employees, and bottom line. From proper sanitation practices to learning the different fly behaviors at every level of an operation, our team has created a list of the five most common fly control problems and their tailored solutions so that you can protect your operation from disease-spreading fly populations.

Problem: Flies in calf hutches

Solution: Manure management

Proper manure management will go a long way in the fight against flies in calf hutches. As the primary food source and breeding site for flies, properly managed manure can prevent fly populations from increasing quickly. House flies, stable flies, face flies, and horn flies develop in and emerge from the manure of livestock, where flies lay their eggs. 

A manure management best practice is to remove manure promptly to prevent fly larvae from developing. Removing manure and manure piles will help keep fly levels from becoming unmanageable.

Dairy sanitation practices should be consistently thorough, including cleaning up spilled feed, preventing manure build-up around barns and fences or under feed bunks, and eliminating decaying organic matter. Grasses and weeds should be cut low around barns, feeders, hutches, and manure piles to remove places flies could rest.

To control fly populations, manure management must be consistent and timely within an integrated pest management (IPM) program.

Proper manure management is just one crucial component of a comprehensive IPM program combining cultural practices with fly control products. As part of an IPM program, properly managing manure is one of many ways dairy operators can control pests.

Cows looking through fenceFor farmers, ClariFly® Larvicide serves as the foundation of a complete IPM program. ClariFly® Larvicide is a feed supplement that prevents house flies, stable flies, face flies, and horn flies from developing in and emerging from the manure of treated dairy cows. When mixed into livestock feed, ClariFly® passes through the animal’s digestive system and into the manure, preventing larvae from developing into adults.

Problem: Flies resting in ceilings, attics, and rafters

Solution: Starbar® sticky fly traps

After feeding, flies tend to rest up high in the cooler regions of barns, stables, and other outbuildings. This is where products like Starbar® sticky traps come in handy. Hang your sticky traps high in your barn’s rafters, joists, or angled ceiling, out of reach of people and livestock. Starbar® also offers fly bait products that can be used near animals. The Starbar® Fly Bait Station can prevent your animals and pets from ingesting scattered bait and features a built-in tray to catch dead flies. 

  • The joists that support arched ceilings are strategic locations for the placement of sticky traps.
  • On flat and angled ceilings, the rafters can be used to hang traps to capture flies in the areas where they land.

Problem: Flies mating on walls, fences, and corrals

Solution: Starbar® odor and pheromone traps

In between feeding and resting, flies use the high levels of walls, fences, and corrals to breed. It’s essential to catch them before they move on to lay their eggs in the manure around your dairy. Odor and pheromone traps can lure flies away from your livestock and provide quick and effective control. Products, including the Starbar® Captivator® Fly Trap, come with a water-soluble attractant pouch that flies can’t resist. This heavy-duty, reusable 2 qt. plastic jug trap is economically priced and delivers top-notch protection. For best results, hang these traps along fence lines or near calf hutches. Short walls and shelves in barns, stables, and other outbuildings are also ideal spots for these odor and pheromone traps.

  • Hanging odor and pheromone traps along fence lines will lure irritating flies away from livestock.
  • Short walls and shelves in barns, stables, and outbuildings are ideal areas for trap placement.

Problem: Flies feeding on floors, ledges, gates, and off the ground

Solution: Regular sanitation

After resting up high, flies come near the ground level to begin feeding. House flies feed freely on human food, fresh animal waste, and rotting garbage. Be sure to clean these food sources regularly and implement fly bait and traps for complete control. Starbar® fly traps deliver coverage from the floor to the ceiling to meet your unique needs. Each trap is designed to address specific fly behaviors at each level. 

Low-level Coverage 

Our Bite Free™ Stable Fly Traps are scientifically proven to help trap flies that feed on animals. When sunlight shines through, flies are drawn to the shimmering, translucent surface. Bite Free™ Stable Fly Traps have a weatherproof adhesive surface that won’t melt or wash away. These traps are easy to use and work without insecticides or pungent attractants.

calf looking through fence

Medium-level Coverage 

Our Fly Terminator® Pro Fly Trap is a large-capacity, one-gallon jug trap that can trap thousands of flies and is easy to hang thanks to a sturdy handle. The Starbar® Fly Trap Attractant Refill is an exclusive formula containing four different attractants flies can’t resist to lure them in. Starbar® also offers a disposable fly trap recommended for perimeter use around rural residences, barns, and other application sites. These disposable bag traps are easy to use and come with a built-in attractant. 

Starbar® even offers its Milk Jugg™ Trap, which turns ordinary plastic milk jugs into economical, effective fly traps. These traps come with two escape-proof plastic tops and attractant. All you have to do is add water, add the attractant, pop the top, and you’re ready to trap. 

High-level coverage

The Starbar® EZ Trap® Fly Trap offers a unique compact design that can be used indoors and outdoors without harmful chemicals. It’s insecticide-free and odor-free. Starbar Lure Fly™ Fly Catchers are super-sticky fly ribbons that can be hung anywhere and provide low-maintenance, cost-effective fly control. Finally, Starbar® Fly Stik™ Sticky Fly Traps are insecticide and odor-free and come in a slim design, so they’re easy to hang. 

Problem: Flies living on-animal, pasture, crops, standing water, and structures

Solution: ClariFly® Larvicide

When a fly infestation hits a dairy, populations will quickly spread throughout the property. From barns to pasture and even applications directly to your herd— a successful fly control plan relies on treating all of these areas. To hit flies directly where they develop and drastically reduce fly populations, use a feed-through fly control product like ClariFly® Larvicide. Unlike conventional insecticides that attack the nervous system of insects, ClariFly® Larvicide works by interrupting the fly’s life cycle rather than through direct toxicity. When mixed into cattle feed, ClariFly® Larvicide passes through the digestive system and into the manure where flies lay their eggs. The active ingredient then takes care of the rest. To extend control to the whole herd, use a feed-through product for your calves, reducing fly populations around calf hutches. Using ClariFly® Add-Pack in whole milk or milk replacer helps increase calf comfort and decrease the spread of disease. 

ClariFly® Larvicide also comes with minimal risk of residue in milk. The metabolism in the active ingredient in cattle has been extensively studied in dairy cattle. Metabolism studies in dairy cows showed no detectable levels of the active ingredient residues in milk when dosed for up to 28 days. In studies of dairy cows, only deficient levels of the active ingredient were occasionally seen in the liver, kidney, fat, and muscle. Therefore, there are no withdrawal requirements when using ClariFly® Larvicide. 

ClariFly® Larvicide is a simple, cost-effective form of fly control that requires very minimal additional work and effort and allows you to continue what you are already doing: feeding your animals. 

ClariFly, EZ Trap, and Starbar are registered trademarks of Wellmark International. Bite Free, Captivator, Fly Stik, Lur Fly, Fly Terminator and Milk Jugg are trademarks of Farnam Companies, Inc.

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