New livestock ear tag suppresses mosquitoes
University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service
Blood-feeding insects can be a persistent nuisance to humans but also cause problems for livestock and pets.
Just as we need to take precautions against these insects for ourselves, it’s prudent to provide measures for our animals. University of Wyoming College of Agriculture and USDA researchers recently evaluated the effectiveness of using a pyrethroid fly tag to prevent mosquitoes from feeding on cattle. They used insect drop traps, which were lowered over treated and untreated calves, to compare blood-feeding rates.
The researchers determined that the ear tags reduced mosquito blood feeding on tagged cattle by approximately 78 percent at two weeks following application, and 83 percent at four weeks following application of the tags. They applied two tags per animal.
Mosquitoes thrive in stagnant water conditions resulting from flooding common to spring runoff. Previous research has shown that numbers of mosquitoes attacking cattle in the summer months can reach thousands per day.
In previous studies, topical spray and pour-on treatments with related insecticide formulations provided effective protection for a maximum of seven to 11 days. The ear tags, which gradually release insecticide/repellent, appear to offer protection over an extended period of time. Researchers plan to evaluate the effectiveness of ear tags beyond the four-week period.
For maximum effectiveness the tags should be placed in the animals’ ears as close to the beginning of the fly or mosquito season as practical. The tags begin to release effective levels of active ingredient as soon as they are removed from their package and applied, so they shouldn’t be applied too far in advance of insect activity.
This study has been accepted for publication and will appear in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association.