March 2014
Farm & Field

Fly Control

  Unless you want to see horn flies like THIS, you need to place SWEETLIX or VMS self-fed fly control supplements in front of your cattle NOW.

Because of excessively cold weather this winter, NOW is the time to start introducing fly control products to your herd.

Excessive fly populations literally suck the profits out of your cattle through reduced weaning weights, lowered milk production and increased spread of disease. The cold snap this winter was actually cold enough to kill off flies and parasites in Alabama giving us a rare opportunity to get ahead of the game in fly control. The key for success, however, will be in getting fly control products in front of cattle or horses before temperatures warm up enough for flies to become active again.

Feed-through fly control products such as Rabon Oral Larvicide or Altosid IGR in self-fed supplement blocks or mineral are by far the easiest way to keep fly populations in check. RabonandAltosid pass harmlessly through the gut of the animal into the manure. The fecal flies targeted* lay their eggs and go through their larval stages in the manure pat. RabonandAltosid, each in their own unique way,interrupt the fly’s life cycle by preventing the larvae present in the manure from maturing into an adult flies. Rabonkills fly larvae on contact while Altosidmimics the juvenile hormone, essentially never allowing them to mature into adults. Either method effectively and significantly reduces the number of adult flies when used as directed. Neither Rabon nor Altosidhave slaughter withdrawal times and can be fed to all classes of cattle including lactating brood cows and calves. Additionally, Rabon is labeled for fly control in horses.

Feed-through fly control products such as Rabon or Altosid in self-fed supplement blocks or minerals are by far the easiest way to keep fly populations in check.  

SWEETLIX and VMS self-fed blocks and minerals containing Rabonand Altosid require no additional labor and no cattle handling, unlike sprays, pour-ons and backrubs. Blocks and tubs provide the additional advantage of not needing a special feeder and being able to monitor supplement levels from the comfort of your truck. An added bonus is that cattle (or horses*) receive complete mineral and vitamin supplementation in addition to fly control. No need to buy separate salt or minerals.

For best results, start feeding SWEETLIX or VMS fly control products at least 30 days before the projected last frost (NOW) and continue feeding until 30 days after the first killing frost in the winter. In some areas, these dates will overlap. Horn flies emerge when average daily temperatures reach 65 degrees for a period of at least two weeks. Be sure to provide at least one mineral feeder or block per 10-20 head. Locate mineral feeders or blocks where cattle or horses congregate (near watering, loafing or shade areas, etc.). Increase or decrease the number of mineral feeders or change locations if necessary to adjust for proper consumption. Remember that neither Rabon nor Altosidwill kill adult flies so you need to place supplements out BEFORE you see flies for best control. If adult flies are already present when introducing SWEETLIX or VMS fly control products, use an approved adulticide for at least one month to eliminate adult fly populations.

There are many SWEETLIX or VMS self-fed fly control supplements designed to meet a variety of nutritional needs and price needs are available through your local Quality Co-op. These include:

SWEETLIX Pest-A-Side Block
SWEETLIX Rabon Molasses Pressed Block
SWEETLIX EnProAl Rabon Supplement
VMS EnProAl Fly Control Block with Rabon
SWEETLIX 6% CopperHead ROL
SWEETLIX 6% CopperHead IGR
SWEETLIX 4% CopperHead IGR
VMSOne to One M14 with RabonOral Larvicide 
VMSPasture Aid Fly Control Mineral with Rabon
VMSPasture Aid Fly Control with Altosid IGR

These represent just a few of the many SWEETLIXand VMS supplement products available through your local Quality Co-op. Visit or call 1-87SWEETLIX to learn more.

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In summary, now is the time to offer feed-through fly control supplements for maximum effectiveness. A wide variety of self-fed SWEETLIX or VMS fly control blocks and minerals are available through your local Quality Co-op. Ask for them by name!

* Please see specific product labels for a complete list of flies targeted for control and the species of livestock the product is designed to supplement.

Rabon® is a registered trademark of Bayer Animal Health

Altosid® is a registered trademark of Welmark International

Jackie Nix is an animal nutritionist with Ridley Block Operations. You can contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 1-800-325-1486 for questions or to learn more about the SWEETLIX® line of mineral and protein supplements for cattle, goats, horses, sheep, poultry and wildlife.