Ask the Vet

Remote Control For Horn Flies

Hard-to-reach cattle can still have good fly control using these "remote-control" options. (DTN/Progressive Farmer photo by Jim Patrico)


We are having a horrible fly year. Some of my herd is in an area where I won't be able to get to them until late fall. They are covered up with horn flies. Any ideas on how to handle this?


When it comes to fly control, I have one new idea to think about and one old idea that has stood the test of time but is often forgotten.

First, the new idea. The VetGun is essentially a paint ball gun that fires a gelatin capsule containing a topical insecticide to help control horn flies and lice on cattle.

I will admit I am a little skeptical, but I have had several producers tell me that have used the system and really like it. As with any fly-control system, it must be used as directed. I am concerned that it's easy to misuse and, as a result, could easily create resistance to this insecticide. The same can be said for most fly-control methods, however. So this may be an option, but be sure to read and follow the directions. I would be interested in getting feedback from other producers who have used the VetGun system.

The older idea I mentioned that has stood the test of time is the back rub.

One big advantage to back rubs is that different classes of insecticides can be mixed with mineral oil or diesel to help deal with a resistant fly population. Back rubs must be placed where cattle go under them to get water or minerals. They must be properly maintained but can be quite effective in remote areas.