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Alternative Fly Control Methods for Pastured Livestock 2002

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Project leader: Kerri Bartlett, Extension Educator, CCE-Steuben County.

Cooperators: Phillip Kaufman Ph.D., Cornell University, Keith Waldron, NYS IPM Program.

Participants: Richard and Ellie Bossard, Mark and Faith Wade, Jeff and Sheldon Atherton

Type of Grant: Biological control and pest biology.


Steuben County has many dairy and livestock producers who are looking for alternatives to insecticides for controlling pests on pastured livestock. Insecticides are not always effective and many farmers wish to reduce pesticide use. Two possible alternatives are the Epps Biting-Fly Trap and a chain harrow to break up manure pats.

The Epps Biting-Fly Trap has been identified as a possible control method that does not rely on insecticides to control flies. The Epps trap catches horse flies (green heads, bull flies, and yellow flies), deer flies, the stable fly, and other insects. Very few of these traps have been used in New York. It was our intent to make producers more aware of alternative pest control methods by demonstrating the use of the Epps Fly Trap.

Using a harrow is very effective at disrupting larval development. Flies and other pests lay their eggs in fresh dung pats. Breaking up the dung pats disturbs the growing larva’s environment and results in their death. Contradicting beliefs on the benefits of harrowing exist amongst grazers with many believing that animals will not feed in areas where dung pats have been redistributed. This project will help to determine if harrowing is beneficial or harmful to pasture utilization.

Convenience of use became an overriding issue with both the Epps trap and harrow. We concluded that the time requirement for using the chain harrow through the grazing season is too great, and therefore it is not a practical fly control option for most farmers. The Epps trap worked well and was convenient when located near a water source.

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