Managing flystrike this summer

With flystrike being a problem this year, it’s important that landholders monitor sheep closely and think about a management plan, so struck sheep can be treated quickly.

Flystrike is when a blowfly lays eggs on the skin of the sheep and the emerging larvae create an open wound as they feed on the underlying skin tissue. Warm, moist conditions favour the breeding of the Australian sheep blowfly Lucilia cuprina.

So, what options do you have to control these pests and limit strike in your sheep?

Controlling the risk of flystrike leads to better health and welfare outcomes for your sheep. Management strategies can also play an important part of strike prevention. Control dags by treating underlying causes such as worms or bacterial diarrhoea. Think about the timing of shearing and crutching. Chemical control can also be used to treat or prevent flystrike. As flies can develop resistance to chemicals, it is best to use an integrated management plan rather than relying on chemical alone.

In the long term, the best solution is to breed sheep that are less susceptible to flystrike. Wrinkles, breech cover and dags all increase the moisture on the skin, which attracts the flies. Producers should consider using the Flyboss flystrike decision support tools when deciding how to approach flystrike on their farm. Access the Flyboss website here.

Producers should consider management strategies for lamb marking during spring to reduce the risk of flystrike.

For more information, contact your local vet, or discuss long-term management considerations with your local ag advisor.

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