Successful fight against flies in the barn: ‘We are strongly committed to hygiene’

Flies in the barn, every dairy farmer suffers from them. The high temperatures this summer are now reaching a peak. Magali Blomme, dairy farmer in Houtave in Belgium, is not bothered by flies in her barn despite the high temperatures. How does she deal with this? We were looking for her.

Blomme runs a professional dairy together with her husband Dennis Brusselle. The two young dairy farmers have around 150 cows.

Upon arrival, it is immediately clear that innovation and sustainability are important in the company. There are solar panels on the roof of the barn, which was completely renovated in 2012. Energy is also generated by the two wind turbines in the yard. To feed the animals, Blomme and Brusselle grow different crops.

Nice working environment without flying

Blomme thinks it is important to fight flies in the barn. ‘For me it’s nice to work without flies biting your calves. For the calves. And also for the well-being and health of the cows. Flying can, among other things, contribute to the transmission of mastitis’, she explains.

The dairy farmer’s secret to preventing fly-tipping? She is strongly committed to hygiene, for example by putting a fertilizer robot over the slats. ‘It’s nice for us, but also clean and hygienic, so there are no flies.’

Ventilation

Fans are also used in the barn. ‘These ensure cow comfort and that the flies stay away.’ When there is nuisance from flies in the barn, it often starts in the places where there is the least ventilation. ‘Like in the corners of the straw box or in the robot room, where the fans can’t handle it. That’s where we start spraying the insecticide.’

At high temperatures, the use of a contact insecticide is necessary, according to Blomme. ‘Now that the weather is getting warmer, more flies are starting to come and we will soon be spraying the walls with an insecticide against the flies. Then the flies that come into contact with this product die.’

The dairy farmer from Houtave is satisfied with the use of a contact insecticide. ‘Actually, it works well here with us.’

It is important to control caterpillars

Successful fly control starts at the source: larvae. These larvae should be controlled in early spring to prevent greater nuisance from flies in the summer. Plum also suffers from these larvae when the cellar is full.

“Every dairy farm suffers from rat tail larvae. They climb up the wall from the basement. Ideally, a larvicide should be poured into the manure cellar in April or May, so that the larvae cannot develop further,’ says the dairy farmer. In light of the high nitrogen prices, the manure cellar was empty this year, which meant that the nuisance was not so bad.

Year-round access

By paying attention to ventilation, hygiene and nuisance caused by larvae in addition to spraying, Blomme fights flies in the barn all year round. She gets advice from Stein De Meulemeester, expert at Bayer Environmental Science. De Meulemeester knows everything about good control of flies in the barn. ‘Every company is different, so every situation requires a specific approach. Still, a year-round approach has been developed that any dairy farmer can follow to keep the number of flies on the farm within limits,’ he says.

His most important tip: ‘Ensure an unattractive climate for flies to lay eggs all year round. Limit these roosts by ventilating areas well and by keeping them as clean and dry as possible.’

What you can do even more all year round according to De Meulemeester:
1. Control of caterpillars: the larval stage lasts about a week in summer. This is the most important stage to prevent fly nuisances. Therefore, start larval control in early spring, as soon as the manure is applied.

2. Fighting mechanically: use sticky traps or electric fly traps as an effective means of control. This method fits not only within the framework of integrated pest management (IPM), but also in anti-resistance management.

3. QuickBayt WC: The temperature rises and discomfort begins. Start with an iron that contains an attractant in addition to an effective active ingredient. Ironing agents are preferably applied to a yellow plastic sheet, which can be easily moved, reused or replaced.

4. K-Othrine SC 7.5: use a contact insecticide during the period of greatest nuisance. With this spray solution you can get rid of flies in one fell swoop. It is characteristic that this SC formulation is suitable for all (porous) surfaces, such as brick, concrete and plaster. This guarantees a good aftereffect.

Read more about the year-round approach.

This article was created by our knowledge partner Bayer Environmental Science

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