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Out for Blood: The horse fly is a major pest – and a major pain to control

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There are few guarantees in life, but one guarantee is inescapable: if you have livestock, you have flies.
One of the best known of these pests is the largest, the bloodsucking horse fly. It is also one of the most difficult to manage, according to entomologist Dr. Sonja Swiger with the Texas A&M Research & Extension Center in Stephenville.
“Horse flies are hard to control,” she says. “They are only on the host long enough to take a blood meal and then they leave.”
When most people mention “horse fly” they think of the big black flies with huge eyes that look like rainbows on an oil slick when the light hits them just right. This horse fly is actually part of a large family, the Tabanidae, which includes both horse and deer flies, and like their distant cousins the mosquito, only the females are bloodsuckers.
A study by now retired Texas A&M entomologist Bart Drees and James Goodwin identified 109 distinct species of horse and deer flies in Texas alone, compared with about 350 species known in North America and 4,500 known worldwide. According to Dr. Swiger, some of these are very specific and localized, while others have evolved to take advantage of large herd animals; though, as many people have painfully learned, horse flies can be fairly opportunistic biters. To read more pick up the February issue of North Texas Farm & Ranch.

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Farm & Ranch

Ag Elsewhere: Wyoming

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By Tressa Lawrence

Babies are tucked away in every nook and cranny. Many ranchers across Wyoming have baby animals popping up all over this time of year.

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Farm & Ranch

Ag Elsewhere: Montana

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By Lindsey Monk

Another load of grain in to keep feeding the calves until the green grass can really start popping.

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Farm & Ranch

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch….

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By Rayford Pullen | [email protected]

Spring has sprung and hopefully the rains will continue where our country will heal from the previous droughts and our grasses will thrive. We are especially hopeful for the Panhandle of Texas where our neighbors and friends have been dealt a deadly blow to homes, ranges, livestock, and people. Keep them in your prayers as they will not be able to return to normal for many years if at all. Having lost their ability to benefit from this great cattle market is a double whammy for all of them.

Now is the time of year when we need to take care of business as it relates to our new calves that have been hitting the ground this spring. First and foremost is vaccinating for Blackleg followed by deworming with a white wormer and the IBR complex. Blackleg is a soil-born disease and with pastures extremely short this spring our calves have been grazing the green grass as soon as it shows itself, making them even more vulnerable to picking contaminates from the soil.

To read more, pick up a copy of the April issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.

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