Manage cattle surrounds

Major nuisance flies in cattle feedlots

The major nuisance flies in Australian feedlots are house flies, stable flies, bushflies and blowflies. These flies vary in their biology and behaviour, resulting in seasonal and locality differences in their respective populations. These differences must be considered when devising control strategies.

House flies and stable flies breed in non-compacted feedlot manure, accumulations of moist spilled feed or other moist and rotting organic matter. Areas where fly breeding can be a problem include under fence lines, in sedimentation systems, drains and hospital areas.

Bushflies breed in undisturbed animal dung and for this reason rarely breed in feedlots. However, adult bushflies can fly into feedlots from external breeding sites.

Blowflies breed in animal carcasses and the normal management practice of completely covering these with manure or some other carbon source should eliminate blowfly breeding.

Between April and October, lower temperatures limit the numbers of flies breeding in feedlots.

From November onwards, the numbers of flies increase with increasing temperatures reaching a peak in summer before decreasing again. Any rain during these summer months will significantly elevate numbers of flies, with higher fly numbers continuing for up to 5 weeks after rain.

For southern Queensland feedlots peak fly numbers occur in spring and summer, following 85–90 mm weekly rainfall.

Managing fly numbers in feedlots

Assess fly numbers

Keep flies out (manure management)

Treatment products for the premises/facility