Fungal Pesticide Targets Buffalo Fly

AUSTRALIA - A new kind of pesticide could be a potent weapon in the battle against buffalo fly, as the blood-sucking pest continues its march into southern Australia.
calendar icon 15 June 2012
clock icon 2 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

A Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) funded field trial conducted by Agri-Science Queensland investigated the effectiveness of a new class of fungal pesticides in combatting buffalo fly and cattle ticks.

While having a limited impact of ticks, researchers found that the bio-pesticide based on the Metarhizium anisopliae fungus gave good control of buffalo flies – particularly with a “pour-on” treatment.

The fungal spores remain active in the animal’s coat for up to two weeks after application.

The promising non-chemical control option will now be the subject of further research in the laboratory and the field.

MLA Manager Animal Health and Biosecurity, Johann Schroeder, said that buffalo fly can cause up to $30 per head in lost production each year if not treated effectively.

“We know that taking an integrated approach to controlling buffalo fly is the best approach, and that it’s best to minimise the use of non-chemical controls,” he said.

“If successfully developed, this fungal pesticide could provide a viable alternative to chemical treatments.”

Early stage research is also underway into the effectiveness and transmission of Wolbachia bacteria in targeting the reproduction of buffalo fly. An in-vitro trial is expected to be completed in early 2013.

Buffalo flies are currently a problem across northern Australia as far south as northern New South Wales. They cause severe skin irritation and can lead to hide damage and ulceration.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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