Dairy Industry Pest Control
There are a variety of challenges to the dairy farmer for pest control to not only ensure safe milk production but for survival of the herd itself. This article will discuss some of the concerns and effective ways of managing the problem.
There are a wide variety of pests that fall into this category with their own degrees of eradication and threat level. Mite, Mosquitos, Flies and Ticks.
Mites have a very short life span, most less than 8 days. The challenge they present is because of their size they are nearly impossible to see without magnification. There are three predominate species, follicular, itch and mange mites. Mites burrow beneath the skin of the animal up to an inch deep. Toxins produced by the mites creates itching and irritation for the animal and will usually lead to large patches of inflamed areas. The follicular mites are unique in that they reside within hair follicles and the lesions caused by their burrowing can lead to secondary infections. These are all contagious infections and when confirmed will require treatment of the entire herd.
We all know how annoying mosquitoes are. Imagine having a swarm of them chose you for a meal and being exposed and only one rear mounted fly swatter to defend yourself. Animals have been recorded as dying due to suffocation and blood loss and even if surviving, will have their milk production negatively affected. Mosquitoes lay their eggs either on damp soil or preferably on water. These eggs can hatch in about two weeks ready to feast on your cattle. Just as with camping or other human habitation considerations, keeping control of standing water is the best solution as the adults are usually only temporarily controlled with sprays.
Flies and Ticks
Flies have two particularly insidious means of impacting dairy farmers. The first group are non-blood sucking flies. These are grubs injected by flies that initially have no visible damage or cause for concern. What happens after is a major issue for farmers. The grubs typically congregate in two areas, the spinal cord and the gullet. When they prepare to hatch, they burrow upward and out and during the time inside cause significant damage to the animals in three ways; milk production can drop as much as twenty percent along with weight loss, secondary infections from the holes the pests burrow out of are oozing and open that require immediate treatment. Finally, the meat of the animal itself is damaged because of the color and consistency change.
There are areas that have designated time periods that the larva must be treated and removed because if they reach the spinal cord area, damage from swelling induced paralysis to death can occur. The second group are the blood sucking species. Stable, Horn, Horse and Deer flies are all considered vicious biters. Herds that experience attacks of about fifty flies per animal is cause for concern. Records have noted reports of 10,000 plus which obviously leads to massive blood loss. Because the attack is more obvious, the damage to herds results in the frenzied attempts of the herd to escape the winged horrors and lead to damaging not only themselves but fences and buildings.
Again, control of breeding areas like ponds or containers with standing water is the primary method. A challenge is with the Stable fly which is known to fly as far as 80 miles when looking for a meal. Misting of pesticides and some pour on materials can bring some relief and control.
The value of a dairy herd is obviously quite important to a farmer and to protect that investment, a reliable exterminator with experience in treating livestock and the signs of larva infestation is a key player in keeping your animals safe, healthy and producing milk.