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6 Impacts of Flies on Farms

Rowan Burgess |

With temperatures rising in the UK, fly populations are only increasing. This increase in optimal conditions for the reproduction of flies leads to increasingly negative impacts for farms across the UK.

Read on to discover the six negative impacts flies could have on your farm and how crucial efficient fly control is.

Preventing Livestock From Settling and Feeding

When flies prevent livestock from being able to settle and feed, it’s no surprise that overall productivity and profitability will also decrease. If proper fly control isn’t in place, your livestock can become stressed and uncomfortable, which isn’t fair to the animals and causes a dent in your productivity.

When the stress on the animals reduces their feed intake, you’ll feel significant economic losses. For example, studies show that when flies affect cattle, they suffer a growth reduction of 0.3kg per day. Cattle will also suffer a loss in milk production of up to 0.5L daily. These reductions will undoubtedly affect your ability to bring in the same profit as when the flies are kept at bay. 

Transmission of Organisms

The very presence of flies can lead to contamination issues. Aside from the unclean nature of flies, you might accidentally incorporate flies into food products during manufacturing. When packaging eggs, milk, or meat products, you must be especially careful of any signs of contamination.

Should your farm’s infestation start to affect others in the local area, the transmission of flies into other products sold by local businesses extends the problem, be that a cafe or a vehicle repainting business. The possibilities for fly transmission into other products are endless. 

Viruses and Diseases

Adult flies are some of the worst organisms for carrying viruses and diseases. This occurs because flies are active around dirty, unclean, and already contaminated substances, such as rotting food, carcasses, and faeces. The external surfaces of the fly, and their gut, also become infected with various harmful pathogens. 

Should flies carrying harmful pathogens come into close contact with livestock, farm products, or people, there’s a high likelihood of disease transmission. For example, flies that attack and feed on cattle can cause irritation and can be responsible for the disease transmission of pink eye and summer mastitis. Both diseases are cruel to the animals that get them and can vastly lower farm productivity.

Animal Welfare Risks

When an animal becomes stressed because of a fly infestation, it can gain or lose weight and expend too much energy trying to fight off the flies. Additionally, stress can lower milk production.

While research shows that few animal welfare complaints result in prosecution, you have a moral obligation to avoid suffering where possible.

Environmental Complaints

An infestation of flies on your farm could lead to broader environmental complaints. Getting on top of any fly problems would be best so they don’t spread to neighbouring properties, businesses, or homes. Not only does it cause others annoyance and nuisance complaints, but it could see you get a visit from an Environmental Health Officer (EHO). 

Since the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act of 2005, EHOs have the authority to control fly populations should they be causing a nuisance. This means they control insects that could harm health from industrial, business, or trade premises, including farms and agricultural spheres. 

The 2005 Act isn’t referring to naturally occurring insect populations that are out of your control on open or biodiverse land. If needs be, councils will use EHOs (i.e., instruct you to remove the fly nuisance) should a statutory nuisance occur. You must comply with the instructions if you’re served with the abatement. More severe consequences, including prosecution and fines, could arise if you don’t

Employee Comfort

As well as remembering the welfare of your animals, it’s crucial to consider that of your employees. Working on a fly-infested farm will negatively impact the mood and productivity of staff members. In creating unmanageable work and living conditions, it’s easy to see why employee productivity would decrease and staff illness could increase. 

Should the infestation affect your employees’ overall job satisfaction, they may choose to leave your employment, which can lead to an undesirable high staff turnover. If you or your employee live near the farm, it’s also likely the fly infestation could affect your living conditions when you aren’t working. 

Final Thoughts

There are many negative impacts to having flies on your farm. Flies can reproduce rapidly, so the longer the problem is left, the worse it’ll get. Whether you’re looking for general fly control or know you need to get on top of a growing problem, check out Dalton's fly control products and protect your farm’s productivity!