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Cattle Pest Control


Horn flies, stable flies, and face flies cost the cattle industry an estimated $1 billion+ annually in the United States. This is due to skin irritation, blood loss, decreased grazing efficiency, reduced weight gains and decreased milk production. When flies are left uncontrolled, calf weaning weights have been shown to be 10-20 pounds lighter than when managed.


There are several insecticide options that aid in the control of these pests. These include dust bags, backrubbers, feed additives, sprays, pour-ons and insecticidal ear tags. Each of these has their own advantages and disadvantages. Dust bags and backrubbers are great in a forced-use situation, where animals must pass through that area in their daily lives, though there is a time cost in checking and repairing bags.
Oral larvicides and insect growth regulators are feed additives that pass through the animal’s digestive system and prevent larvae from developing in the manure. These are fantastic for larvae control, although they only go so far with controlling adult flies that travel between herds.


Insecticide ear tags are ear tags that have been “infused” with – you guessed it – insecticide. This insecticide is spread on the animal via grooming or rubbing, allowing it to do it’s work. As you may suspect, these ear tags are especially effective around the ears and face.

The best way to maximize the efficiency of insecticide ear tags is through rotation. Different tags have different active ingredients, and rotating your tags helps to minimize the resistance that flies develop to the insecticide. For example, over 4 years’ time, you may use a Synergized Pyrethroid & Macrocyclic Lactone tag for year 1, an Organophosphate tag for year 2, a different Pyrethroid tag for year 3, and another Macrocyclic Lactone tag for year 4. Lather, rinse, repeat.

It is best to tag animals as late as possible to maximize efficiency when flies are most active. Nursing calves are mostly left alone, so focus your efforts on mature cows and weaned calves. Be sure to remove tags at the end of the season to minimize insect resistance.

Considering the fact that these tags work by rubbing off on the animal, it is of the utmost importance that you wear non-permeable gloves when tagging. It is also important that you wash your hands thoroughly after use. Always read and follow label directions for safe use of any and all pesticides!


When you consider the pros and cons of each insecticide option for controlling flies, it becomes clear that the best solution is to utilize a combination of methods. Ear tags are great for the face and head, sprays and pour-ons are great for the back, belly and legs. Feed additives are fantastic larvae control, and dust bags and backrubbers are effective in forced-use areas.

Our Products

Here at WPVS, we carry a variety of insecticidal products that will allow for the proper rotation to maximize the efficacy of your pest control efforts. See a few below!

CyLence Ultra®

CyLence Ultra® by Bayer is a Synergized Pyrethroid insecticidal ear tag. It is effective in killing and repelling face flies and pyrethroid -susceptible horn flies, thus lowering the risk for pink eye.

PYthon® II

PYthon® II by Y-Tex is their newly formulated permethrin insecticidal ear tag. It effectively controls horn flies, face flies, lice, gulf coast ticks, and spinose ear ticks in beef and dairy cattle.

XP 820®

XP 820® by Y-Tex is an Abamectin insecticidal ear tag. This is a highly active macrocyclic lactone that is particularly effective against horn flies, including strains resistant to synthetic pyrethroid and organophosphate insecticides. Being a new formulation, these are a perfect addition to your rotation!


Corathon® by Bayer is an organophosphate insecticidal ear tag. It is effective in controlling pyrethroid-resistant horn flies, gulf coast ticks, face flies, and spinose ear ticks for up to 5 months.

Double Barrel® VP

Double Barrel® VP by Merck is an organophosphate and synthetic pyrethroid ear tag. Approved for use on beef cattle, non-lactating dairy cattle and calves, these tags are effective in controlling horn flies and face flies for up to 5 months.


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