Summer is over, but the threat of maggots remains

Agridirect.ie talks the threat of autumn blowfly strike and maggots, and discusses some of the best solutions for managing this scourge over the coming weeks.

Autumn comes in wet and warm

Summer may be over, but for sheep farmers the threat of maggots has not gone away. If anything, the danger has increased in recent days. September has delivered the kind of warm, murky conditions in which the blowfly thrives. Over the last week, we have had several days when the temperature was between 20 and 25 degrees, while heavy rain showers persist. This blast of damp heat means that sheep’s wool is wet and warm, providing the ideal situation for the fly to lay its eggs. To compound the danger, it is now a couple of months since most sheep farmers finished shearing, so wool is starting to get heavy again.

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The sheep farmer’s scourge – blowfly strike and how to prevent it

Blowfly Strike 001

Agridirect offers some advice on the prevention and treatment of blowfly strike in sheep.

There is an old saying that a wet and windy May fills the barn with corn and hay. If that’s the case, there’s hope for a summer at the end of what has been, so far, a dismal month. Two nights of frost at the beginning of the month, and windswept days of wintry showers, have stunted any growth we hoped to get over the last few days. And the forecast for the next week makes for grim reading. Temperatures in the low to mid teens, and heavy showers, are about all we can expect.

Still, the last few days have seen a rise in temperatures. While early May offered up daytime highs of 9 and 10 degrees, we now face the prospect of warm rain over the coming weeks. For sheep farmers, this amounts to a period of increased risk. There is no doubt that there has been an explosion in insect life on Irish farms as the colder conditions have, finally, started to make way. At times like these, we have to keep an eye out for the blowfly. Most of us will sharpen our shears in June, but it may be no harm to start thinking about the best preventative measures and treatments for maggots. Continue reading “The sheep farmer’s scourge – blowfly strike and how to prevent it”