Elanco Animal Health - maker of Clik and Clikzin - is urging veterinary surgeons to highlight the risk of blowfly strike to farmers, as two new cases have been reported in West SussexElanco Animal Health - maker of Clik and Clikzin - is urging veterinary surgeons to highlight the risk of blowfly strike to farmers, as two new cases have been reported in West Sussex

According to the company, 88% of farmers say blowfly is the most widespread ectoparasite affecting sheep in the UK1 and 94% of sheep farmers have been caught out by the parasite in the past2.

The Met Office believes this winter may have been the warmest ever recorded, prompting fears that these favourable conditions will result in a more abundant blowfly population this year.

Fiona Anderson, Technical Consultant Manager at Elanco Animal Health, said: "It’s crucial we do not get complacent when it comes to blowfly – the costs of inaction can be devastating. It’s an extremely distressing disease to see in sheep, and obviously for the sheep themselves, so there’s no sense in taking the risk. Farmers should take control of the situation, before blowfly strikes their flock, by using preventative products with full fleece protection. Another benefit of using a preventative product early in the season is that killing flies from the first wave of the insects reduces the total number of flies for the rest of the season.

"Waiting for clear signs of the blowfly season before acting is a gamble. Farmers are extremely busy and blowfly strike can establish very quickly, so it would be very easy to miss an affected sheep."

Fiona added: "IGRs, such as CLiK and CLiKZiN, stop blowfly larvae developing into the harmful second and third stages that cause flystrike and stock damage. Using an IGR directly off shears saves time by avoiding the need to re-gather sheep and offering a longer period of protection." 

For more information on blowfly strike and prevention with IGRs, visit www.farmanimalhealth.co.uk

References

  1. Survey of 53 sheep producers in UK, April 2013.
  2. Survey of 130 sheep farmers, April 2016.