Like most suppliers CCF stock a number of products that treat and protect against fly strike. Some have activity against other ectoparasites as well. They have different modes of action and consequently differing lengths of protection so advice is essential to ensure you use the best product for your flock. The products are all different so always read the manufacturer’s instructions on dose rate, storage and withdrawal periods. Check application equipment is working properly and is calibrated. Replenish dips according to instructions and follow all safety guidelines.

Good management and planning can help to reduce the risk of strike occurring. Most strikes (over 70%) occur around the breech or tail where there is faecal and/or urine soiling as these are very attractive to the flies. Wet weather can lead to strike on the backs of unshorn ewes and lambs and footrot can lead to strike in the feet.

Tips that can reduce strike issues:

• Dag to reduce soiling and/or remove dirty wool around the breech

• Reduce the incidence of soiling by avoiding nutritional upsets causing scouring and have a sound worm control strategy

• Tail dock the sheep

• Avoid breeding from sheep that are habitually struck and/or tend to soil themselves due to their conformation

• Try to keep sheep away from sheltered fields in the high risk periods

• Reduce the incidence of footrot


Cattle also have problems with flies although the issue is more to do with production losses due to disrupting grazing as opposed to chronic disease although flies do spread summer mastitis and eye conditions.

All types of flies breed in dung and organic material and the development time from egg to adult can be as little as eight days in summer, rapidly producing large populations. Under typical UK climatic conditions, up to 15 generations of flies can be produced in just one year. This means that the peak fly populations are usually in July and August. However, with unpredictable weather patterns, fly problems can start in April and last into October.

Reducing fly breeding sites like muckheaps as well as keeping the yards clean can help. Think about keeping cattle away from sheltered fields in the summer period especially if there is water present.

Synthetic pyrethroid insecticides can also play a valuable role in controlling the fly population by breaking the fly life cycle.

Animal health suppliers can help with product selection both on and off the animal but a top tip is to tackle the problem early and not wait until the flies become a problem.