Maximize Fly Control on a Dairy with a Comprehensive Integrated Pest Management Program

Pest management program for your dairy operation

The two species of greatest concern for dairy producers are the house fly (Musca domestica), a disease vector, and the stable fly (Stomoxys calcitrans), a blood feeder. Studies have proven that when stable flies feed on the legs of cows, the result can be a reduction in milk production by as much as 20%. To protect the well being of their cattle and avoid lost production, dairy operators should implement a complete Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program to combat nuisance flies. A successful IPM strategy must approach pest control through a combination of several complementary methods. To have a complete program, one should include several of the following tactics:

  • Improve cultural practices to reduce fly resting, feeding, and breeding sites
  • Use natural predators and parasites, such as parasitic wasps to destroy eggs that have been laid in organic matter on the dairy
  • Incorporate various physical techniques, like fly traps and sticky tapes to remove adult flies that migrate from surrounding areas
  • Use approved pesticides to spray or bait adult flies
  • Utilize biological controls with a larvicide to keep larvae developing in treated manure from ever becoming adult flies.

While there are no “single solutions” to provide a fly-free environment, it is possible to significantly reduce the use of pesticides by focusing on the “cultural” component of an IPM program.  Many believe that this is the area that can have the greatest impact on fly management on a dairy. Some entomologists have estimated that fly numbers can be reduced by as much as 75% through properly maintaining dairy facilities and removing feeding and breeding sites.

For best results on a dairy, operators should concentrate on these typical problem areas:

  • Food storage areas – Flies will breed in the moldy areas created where moisture collects and in decayed feed spilled nearby.
  • Calf rearing area – Flies will feed on spilled milk or milk replacer and decaying bedding, which can also serve as a breeding site.
  • Cow and heifer housing facility – Timely and consistent manure management is essential, as it serves as the primary fly breeding area. Spilled feed, especially under feed bunks, will attract flies, while rotting materials serve as a breeding ground. Operators should also be mindful of clutter that can create shade sought out by resting flies.
  • Milking area – Manure and spilled milk are both common in the milking area, and both are attractants to flies.
  • Surrounding vegetation – Weeds and tall grasses on and around a dairy facility are ideal resting places for flies, and should be maintained regularly. Allowing cut vegetation to naturally decompose will provide an attractive breeding site for flies.

To learn more about controlling pests and products like ClariFly® Larvicide, call 800.347.8272 or visit

Information provided by Provimi-North America, Inc.


Tags: Fly Control, Management Tips, Pest Management