Due to reports of fly season starting earlier and lasting longer, sheep farmers are being urged to apply blowfly strike protection early in the season to prevent strike and stop the first wave of blowflies from breeding.

Matt Colston, ruminant technical consultant at Elanco Animal Health, explains that the timing and resulting severity of blowfly strike is weather dependent, with blowfly activity starting soon after soil temperatures rise above 9°.

“We’ve already seen some warm temperatures this year, causing over wintered larval stages to hatch out as adult flies in some regions,” he said.

Blowfly strike protection

With warmer weather expected in the coming months, Colston explains all sheep farmers must be aware of this growing risk as it is easy to get caught out.

“By the time strike symptoms become visible, it’s typically too late to protect your sheep. It’s also easy to miss cases in the early stages, especially if it’s just one or two sheep affected,” he said.

Given the significant health, welfare and financial implications associated with a single case of blowfly strike, protecting your flock early in the season is strongly recommended.

“The benefits of early treatment with an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) such as CLiK are two-fold,” Colston continued.

Elanco Blowfly

“On top of preventing blowfly strike in treated animals, early treatment also helps stop the first wave of flies from breeding, which significantly reduces blowfly numbers and therefore the risk of strike later in the season,” said Colston.

“For those looking for the longest lasting protection, CLiK Extra is the best option, offering 19 weeks of cover. CLiKZiN on the other hand offers eight week’s protection and just seven-days meat withdrawal, so is suitable for fat lambs that will be finished and away promptly, or to protect adult sheep pre-shearing,” he advised.

Accurate application is key

Correct administration is key to delivering the best results and return on investment. Colston explains that the improper application of IGR’s can be costly and risk a reduction in control levels.

Colston said:

“While many farmers have successfully been applying CLiK for many years, it’s worthwhile remembering that application technique and timing are important to achieve optimal levels of control and avoid wastage.”

To get the most out of preventive fly control treatments, Colston recommended applying IGR treatment early in the season and taking the following steps:

  • Use an appropriate applicator gun with a fan spray nozzle and be sure to carefully calibrate it before use;
  • Ensure you are applying to a clean fleece. Clip/dag any dirty animals before application;
  • Apply the product in a band approximately 10cm wide (holding the gun approximately from the sheep);
  • Apply the total required dose one quarter at a time, using the four-stroke method:
    1. Mid-shoulder to middle of back;
    2. Middle of back to top of tail;
    3. One side of tail to crutch;
    4. Other side of tail to crutch.
  • Take care to overlap each stroke to allow CLiK’s Fleecebind* formulation to evenly spread over the fleece to achieve full protection.
The four-stroke application method

The do’s and don’ts of fly control:

  • Do treat based on the weight of your animal;
  • Do calibrate your applicator before use;
  • Do make sure you’re using the right product for the right animal – CLiK EXTRA is often the best option early in the season, offering longer lasting protection;
  • Don’t apply to sheep in a race as product could be rubbed off before it binds into the fleece;
  • Don’t apply to a dirty fleece;
  • Don’t apply to a wet sheep or in wet weather.

Click here for guidance on blowfly strike prevention and treatment.

Terms and conditions apply

Spreads to areas covered by fleece, other areas may not be protected, including the feet 1National Farm Research Unit, Blowfly Study April 2018. CLiK EXTRA 65 mg/ml Pour-On Suspension for sheep contains dicyclanil and is indicated for the prevention of blowfly strike on sheep caused by Lucilia sericataor Wohlfahrtia magnifica. CLiK Pour-On for sheep contains 5% (w/v) dicyclanil and is indicated for the prevention of blowfly strike due to Lucilia sericata or Wohlfahrtia magnifica on sheep CLiKZiN Pour-On Suspension for Sheep contains the active ingredient dicyclanil and is indicated for the prevention of blowfly strike on sheep due to Lucilia sericata. Legal category for all: POM in IE.

Information regarding the side effects, precautions, warnings and contra-indications can be found in product packaging and leaflets; further information can also be found in the Summary of Product Characteristics. CLiK EXTRA, CLiK, CLiKZiN, FleeceBind, Elanco and the diagonal bar logo are trademarks of Elanco or its affiliates. Use medicines responsibly (www.apha.ie). Advice should be sought from the prescriber prior to use. PM-IE-22-0118