Severe and high blowfly risk warnings have been announced and farmers are warned to watch for signs throughout July.
The hot weather and expected rain has caused the warning and farmers should stay vigilant. The risk of Blowfly has been heightened by the expected rain through the second half of July and into August.
The risk is higher if the rain is heavy post the hot weather, If however, the dry weather returns and rain isn’t as heavy as expected the blowfly strike will be manageable in most regions.
Blowfly strike facts
Blowfly season varies year on year and is dependant on soil temperatures going above 9°C . Blowfly strike is thought to affect around 80% of UK farms. As soon as the weather warms up farmers are recommended to use preventative measures.
In the UK and Ireland Blowfly are the most widespread parasite affecting sheep. If not properly managed with preventative measures sheep farmers face huge losses.
Blowfly strike has been starting earlier, lasting longer and growing harder to predict, due to the UK and Ireland’s changing climate patterns. An animal struck with blowfly will demonstrate agitation, dejection, odour and wool shedding
Blowfly strike can cause significant damage in just 24 – 36 hours after laying eggs. Female flies lay up to 3,000 eggs in 3 weeks, adult blow flies live for 3 weeks.
Peter Bates, sheep welfare expert and entomologist commented, “It’s always a good idea to treat sheep early. A proportion of larvae in the soil will die in cold weather, but if you do an early spring treatment there will be a decrease in flies throughout the year.”
Blowfly Strike Guidance
- Apply a blowfly repellent such as Barrier Blowfly Repel
- Discuss the most appropriate product for your farm taking into consideration: lambs age , withdrawal periods and expected date of slaughter.
- Keep animals backends clean – dagging, cruthcing and shearing as the blowfly is prone to laying eggs in faecal matter.
- Tail docking is although debated an acceptable solution in helping reduce blowfly strike
- Ensure lame sheep are treated promptly as blowfly are prone to laying eggs in lesions, open wounds and animals affected with foot rot
- Worm control strategy – discuss with your vet a suitable plan for your farm
- Reducing flies early in the season is the most effective preventative method to maintain control through grazing
- Deadstock need to be removed immediately as they are another attraction for blowfly to lay eggs
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