External parasites can be irritating to your herd, but they can also pose a serious threat. These nasty buggers can feed on the cow’s blood, skin and hair. Their bites and wounds can cause pain to the animal. More serious though is the threat of disease transmission through bites from an infected animal to a healthy animal. This can take down your herd in a hurry, so it’s important to prevent pests as much as possible. Additionally, parasites can cause reduced weight gain and milk production, general weakness, and severe dermatitis. Learn about some common threats in today’s blog, and visit our website for more information on managing a healthy herd

Black Flies
There are about 20 families of flies that are of veterinary relevance. Black flies are small, dark-colored flies with a humpback appearance. The females feed on blood during daylight hours. They are potential disease transmitters. The flies hover around the eyes, ears, and nostrils of the cow, puncturing the skin with irritating bites. Excess bites may cause weakness, anaphylactic shock or death.

Cattle Tail Lice
Most lice are permanent ectoparasites, spending their entire lives on the hosts. There are five kinds of sucking lice and one biting louse found on cattle in Florida. The cattle tail louse is a sucking louse, with adults making their home in the tail brush and the immature lice on various parts of the body. This kind of lice is common during summer to late fall, but can sometimes be found year-round. These lice cause a special problem since their eggs can survive and hatch up to 40 days after being laid. 

In Florida, we’re obviously familiar with this pest. These small, piercing, sucking insects can pack quite the punch. Several species of mosquitoes suck blood and attack livestock, causing painful bites and occasional death by heavy blood loss or suffocation. Their attacks can also cause weight loss and reduced milk production. 

Pests can be difficult to deal with, but management is doable. We invite you to come visit our farm on an agritour to see how we do things here at Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch.