Fly control is an investment in your herd. Horn flies cost beef producers more than $1 billion annually, and face flies can contribute up to $150 million in losses per year. House flies can be responsible for the transmission of Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD) and scours and influence Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD), while stable flies are a huge bite hinderance to feedlot cattle, costing gain and overall performance. So, would you rather control just one of these flies or all of them?

Incorporating a larvicide into mineral is a great fly control strategy, and using an insect growth regulator (IGR) that targets four different types of flies is a win-win for producers. Pair that with a mineral package that includes Amaferm®, research-proven to increase intake, digestion and absorption, and it’s a cost-effective way to ensure your cattle are getting much needed minerals while reducing the burdensome fly population.

Some IGRs control specific flies, like horn flies. However, other IGRs work on a variety of species. Four different types of flies are primarily targeted in a livestock pest control strategy.

ClariFly is a four-fly larvicide that prevents house flies, stable flies, face flies and horn flies from developing in and emerging from the manure of treated cattle. It interrupts the lifecycle of the fly through the active ingredient Diflubenzuron that inhibits the synthesis of chitin, according to Casey White, Director of Product Development at Central Life Sciences.

“Chitin is a major component of the exoskeleton of an insect, and as an insect grows and will molt, it will have to reform their exoskeleton. One component is that they deposit chitin to be able to form that exoskeleton. Without a properly formed exoskeleton, that insect - immature or fully mature, will die,” White explained.

Utilizing an IGR that targets a variety of fly species helps producers control flies in various environments. White explained that different fly species become pests in different management scenarios. Horn flies and face flies are typically bigger nuisances in the pasture because they seek out fresh, undisturbed manure piles to lay and hatch eggs in. Conversely, house and stable flies are peskier in confinement areas like feedlots, pens, corrals or barns, where manure build up exists and wet, organic matter like feed or hay is available to lay eggs in and hatch.

According to Gary Felger, Central Life Sciences Regional Sales Manager, research has shown that Diflubenzuron will control up to 96% of the fly population when fed 30 days before you expect your first flies to arrive and continue to feed 30 days after your first hard frost. Furthermore, it poses no harmful effects to beneficial insects.

Even if you’re already having flies, it is not too late to start feeding a product with the IGR, Felger said. The life cycle of a fly is about three weeks and since the product is passed through to the manure where the eggs are laid and hatched, you should start seeing results in about three to four weeks.

Feeding mineral that include an IGR that target multiple species is the efficient, economical way to help control flies. In addition to broad fly control, it is a convenient, labor saving way to control the fly population. You are already feeding mineral, so this is a convenient method of getting fly control into your cattle, without the labor of spraying or implementing other external methods.

VitaFerm® minerals now include ClariFly, and have the IGR incorporated in a variety of formulations. The economic benefits to proactive fly control through a high-quality mineral program definitely outweigh the costs. Think of your cows breeding earlier because they are not swatting flies or standing in the water or shade; they will wean off a heavier calf, leading to more profit. When you feed a mineral with broad fly control, your calves’ performance will increase, making them gain more efficiently and therefore put more profit in your pocket.