New York State IPM Program

June 17, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Dairy Fly IPM Demonstrations

Dairy Fly IPM Demonstrations

Red barn at Shunpike Dairy

Post by Ken Wise, Livestock & Field Crops IPM Extension Area Educator

We have set up two dairy fly IPM summer-long demonstrations. The demonstrations are in Essex and Dutchess Counties. Along with Jennifer Fimbel (Dutchess County Cornell Extension Educator) and Carly Summers (Essex County Cornell Extension Educator), we have set up two summer long demonstration with Shunpike Dairy   and North Country Creamery  Dairy.

There are several species of flies that cause cattle problems and we break them into two categories: barn flies and pasture flies. In the barn we have stable flies (biting) and house flies (non-biting), and on pasture we have stable flies (biting), horn flies (biting), face flies (non-biting), horse flies (biting) and deer flies (biting).

Photo of public area in front of North Country Creamery

Barn Flies: Both house and stable flies reproduce and develop in moist, rotting organic matter. This includes moist hay, straw, manure, feed or any rotting material in contact with the ground (soil or concrete). Stable flies need to take blood meals to reproduce. These flies like to bite the legs of the animals. Houseflies do not bite but can occur at high numbers. They annoy the animals and can transmit various diseases.

Keeping areas around the barn clear of this organic matter reduces barn fly issues dramatically. BUT…Even while keeping barns clean, these flies can still become problematic as the summer progresses.

The use of biological control can help keep populations lower if you start in the early summer. Releasing specific parasitoids around the barns works like smart bombs by laying eggs inside of the pupa of stable and house flies. They hatch and will eat the pupa before it can an adult fly. There are many types of fly traps that can be employed to control barn flies. You can purchase parasitoids for weekly releases from IPM Labs .

We have set up several fly traps for demonstration to aid in controlling these flies in or around the barns to monitor fly populations and efficacy of the various traps for the summer.

PRO SERIES SPIDERWEB™ FLY GLUE TRAP (AKA Giant Glue Trap) (house flies and some possible stable flies)

A photo of a wide sticky tape placed across ceiling of dairy barn

Knight Stick (stable flies are attracted to a blue spectrum of light that is reflected)

 photo shows a device similar in shape to a large flashlight and suspended outdoors to draw flies away from livestock

Olsen Biting Fly Trap  (stable flies are attracted to a blue spectrum of light that is reflected)

Photo shows a large round cylinder up right like a large water pipe. The surface is sticky and many flies are stuck to it. It's placed outside on the ground.

Insecticides can be used in the barn if threshold levels have been met or exceeded. Place 3 by 5-inch spot cards in different areas of the barn where flies congregate. When houseflies rest they regurgitate their food and leave a spot on the wall, or in this case the card.  If a card receives 100 spots per card per week, it has reached the action threshold. Make every attempt to find where the flies are breeding and reproducing and eliminate the moist organic matter. If there is still a problem, and only as a last resort, an insecticide can be used.  (Make sure you read and follow the insecticide label before use)

Pasture Flies: While stable flies breed in moist organic matter horn and face flies reproduce in fresh cow pats. Within a minute or so, after a cow defecates, the flies lay eggs in the pat. Horn flies live 90 percent of the time on cattle and need blood to reproduce. Each fly can take 20 blood meals a day. That is a lot of biting on the animals. Face flies feed on secretions from the animal around the eyes and nose.  They will also feed on a wound or cut. Face flies also transmit pink eye and infect animals with a nematode eye worm (Thelasia sp.). Horn flies can be controlled with a walk through trap (Bruce Trap) or a Cow Vac. A second method is to drag a light harrow to spread out the manure pat and make it thin and dry out. This will kill the fly maggots in the manure pat.

Walk through trap (Bruce Trap)

This photo shows a screened in passageway outside, large enough for cattle to pass through. Text on the photo says Horn and faceflies do not like enclosures and fly off toward lights near the outer netting and are trapped.

Cow Vac

Photo shows a sturdy passageway with a motor on top that acts as a vacuum as cows pass through the enclosed passageway.

The flies can also be controlled with insecticides if certain thresholds have been met.  The threshold for face fly is an average of 10 flies per face across the herd and horn fly is an average of 50 per side of the animal. Note that horn flies are ½ the size of the house fly, and feed on the back, side or belly of the cattle.  The threshold for stable flies in the barn or on pasture is an average of 10 flies per 4 legs. You will need to monitor about 15 animals in the herd to determine thresholds.

This photo shows another angle of the cow vacuum passageway.

There are also horse and deer flies (both biting flies) that can feed on cattle. While they occur to a lesser degree that other cattle flies they do take blood meals and are very painful. They reproduce in wet areas in and around forests. They will land on the cattle, take blood and leave in seconds. This is why insecticides do not work on these two biting flies, because there is not enough exposure to the insecticide. We set up two traps that catch stable, horse and deer flies on each farm.

H-Trap

This photo shows an outdoor trap that is suspended on a curved pole. The trap is a very large black ball with a netted, peaked canopy over it. Flies are attracted to the black ball and then fly up into the netted trap.

Horse Pal Trap

This photos shows the Horsepal trap. Similar to the H trap, it is set outdoors and consists of a large black ball covered with a tented canopy that traps flies as they fly up from the ball.

We will host field meetings in association with the demonstrations during which we will demonstrate and discuss IPM for flies on cattle and general pasture management. Meeting dates will be posted soon.

Ken Wise, Livestock & Field Crops IPM Extension Area Educator New York State Integrated Pest Management Program, 2715 U.S. 44, Millbrook, NY 12545

Photo of Jaime Cummings

Jaime Cummings, Field Crops and Livestock IPM Coordinator
524 Bradfield Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca NY, 14853

March 6, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on An #IPM Field Trip

An #IPM Field Trip

Recently, our Livestock & Field Crops IPM Extension Area Educator, Ken Wise did a guest lecture in the Cornell IPM class taught by Dr. Toni DiTomasso and Dr. John Losey.  But Ken didn’t only stand in front of the chalkboard (or white board); he did a hands-on lecture on fly pest management at the new teaching dairy facility near campus.

Forty or so student were present for the educational tour which happened to coincide with a very recent birth.

Livestock & Field Crops Coordinator Jaime Cummings was along: “Ken shared his 20 years of experience in livestock IPM education with Cornell undergrads on identifying and managing fly pests. Students showed their interest with many good questions and were excited at the opportunity to tour the teaching dairy facility, where the calves were a big hit in drumming up interest in NY dairy production!”

For more on Dairy fly management, the NYSIPM Program has a full list of video playlists including LIVESTOCK IPM.

March 7, 2018
by Mary M. Woodsen
Comments Off on So many acres, so little time: IPM’s answer to where the pests are

So many acres, so little time: IPM’s answer to where the pests are

It might not look that way from your car window, but farmland covers 23 percent of New York. It’s the foundation of New York’s multi-billion-dollar agricultural economy—one that benefits all of us, no matter where we live.

Zooming out to read the report? How easy it is to forget a severe drought after a year like 2017.

Most of that cropped land? It’s in field crops: corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and the like. (These crops sustain New York’s dairy industry, third in the nation.)  Scouting all that land for pests? A job for super-heroes—or lacking that, an efficient, well-designed app.

So IPM researchers built the app. Now Extension educators with their boots on the ground and a smartphone in their pocket can note hotspots for bad little buggers. Each entry helps map trends that matter: where the pests are, when they got there, and where they’re likely to show up next.

The educators’ audience? Why, farmers, of course.

True, right now the app is mainly used by educators tracking data. But the turnaround is quick, keeping farmers in the know and New York’s farm economy healthy. Think of it as scouting on steroids. Scouting is what keeps farmers abreast of what’s happening out in the field and what they can do to prevent or minimize damage (core values of IPM!). Downloading the data farmers need, then visualizing, manipulating, and editing it—that and more, this app does it all.

February 22, 2017
by Mary M. Woodsen
Comments Off on Happy Cows, More Milk — Organic Dairy Guide en Español

Happy Cows, More Milk — Organic Dairy Guide en Español

Happy cows. More milk. Now let’s try it in Spanish: Vacas felices. Más leche.

Pests can pack a wallop to a dairy farmer’s bottom line, costing between five and 20 percent of lost production. For every 100 cows you’ve got (and most farmers have many more) that can run to the tune of $23,000 to 95,000 per year. Of course, these estimates are based on data that can vary from region to region and year to year.

Misery loves company, and the time cows spend huddling for relief from stable flies is time not spent grazing. Less grazing, less milk. [Photo credit follows.]

But you get the idea — which is why the NYS IPM Program’s guides for organic dairies are so valuable. In fact, in the past six months alone these guides have garnered nearly 340 “pageviews” — a geeky term for how often someone explores an online document. After all, pests have no more respect for organic farmers than they do for conventional ones.

Before we say more about cows or our organic guides, though, let’s talk about people — namely the people who do the work. Because even on a small farm, the farmer can’t go it alone. Yet it’s hard to find good reliable labor for this difficult, labor-intensive work.

Stable fly bites hurt. What to do? Many tiny parasitic wasps attack stable fly pupae (no, they won’t sting you). Releasing parasitoids and other natural enemies is a core IPM practice.

That’s why dairy farmers in New York and across the nation have come to rely heavily on Hispanic workers — workers who are more tech-savvy than you might think, says Cornell Cooperative Extension bilingual dairy educator Libby Eiholser. Eiholser provides training programs and reference materials in Spanish and translated NYS IPM’s Spanish-language organic dairy guide — which has received 130-plus pageviews as of this posting. Now Hispanic workers have the opportunity to become yet more invested in the value of their work.

So … for all those pests that pack a wallop? Now Hispanic workers can open Guía del Manejo Integrado de Plagas (MIP) para los Ranchos Orgánicos and it’s all right there — the pest, the damage … oh, and the unhappy cows. IPM answers are right there too.

Informed workers, happier cows. Trabajadores con conocimiento, de vacas felices. Happy cows, more milk.. Vacas felices, más leche.

Learn more about IPM, livestock, the works.

Photo courtesy Bill Clymers, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

 

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