Help keep horn and face flies under control by combining good pasture management with the technology of Rabon Oral Larvicide and a pour-on or on-animal spray. (Photo by Robert Waggener)

Are you tired of looking into the crystal ball to predict when fly season will start?

Did you already miss that magic 30-day window to start a feed-through to protect your pastured cattle from damaging horn and face flies?

A new program from Bayer Animal Health will help you ambush horn and face flies in a crossfire. It also can be effective in helping to control stable and house flies.

The program combines the technology of Rabon® Oral Larvicide with a pour-on or on-animal spray to quickly kill horn and face fly larvae in fresh manure pats and to kill flies already on cattle, says David Thomas, Dairy Insecticide & Rabon Oral Larvicide Brands Manager for Bayer Animal Health.

“You’re essentially creating an integrated pest management program [IPM] by using these two approaches together.”

Thomas emphasizes that Rabon Oral Larvicide works fast. In fact, manure dropped from cattle that consume Rabon for only two days will have enough of the product to start killing horn and face fly larvae.1

“Historically, companies have said that feed-through programs must be initiated well before the fly season starts to be effective, but with this program you can initiate a feed-through program using Rabon any time during the fly season,” Thomas says.

But he encourages the use of a two-pronged, crossfire approach in pastures. In addition to pour-ons and sprays, other products that can be used to complement Rabon Oral Larvicide are ear tags, dust bags and back rubbers.

But why is the two-pronged approach necessary when Rabon Oral Larvicide is killing developing larvae in fresh manure pats throughout the fly season?

For one thing, Thomas says, calves don’t always consume enough feed-through, so flies can still develop in their manure. And then there’s the constant problem of flies migrating from neighboring properties.

Thomas, who has dual degrees in animal science and business, and is slowly building his own small cattle herd, says another advantage of Rabon Oral Larvicide is its ease of use and versatility.

“A premix can be used in protein and mineral supplements, complete feeds and concentrates.”

Thomas says that if cattle producers are interested in using Rabon Oral Larvicide, they should visit with their veterinarian, feed provider and animal health representative to develop an integrated fly control program.

They also should read and follow label directions, not just for Rabon Oral Larvicide, but for any other product being considered.

Additionally, he stresses, “You and every cattle producer out there should be concerned about insecticide resistance. That is why it’s so important to rotate chemical classes every other year when it comes to fly control products.”

On this particular day, Thomas is heading back home to Tennessee after taking a short vacation to attend a production bull sale in South Dakota, where much of the talk focused on genetics, feed conversion and bulls passing down traits that put more dollars in the bank.

But cattle producers were also asking questions about how they were going to effectively control flies throughout the season, especially face flies.

“Some producers had a real battle with pinkeye last year, and they were looking for help in controlling face flies to keep from spreading this highly contagious disease that can cause great harm to both cattle and profitability,” Thomas says.

That help starts with the development of a sound IPM program; and when it comes to face and horn flies, the technology of Rabon combined with other control methods can help keep these biting insects under control and your cattle happy.


1Data on file. Bayer Animal Health.

Rabon is a registered trademark of Bayer.