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Vet gun offers simple option to treat cattle for horn flies

Cattle operators may be interested in a new tool to apply insecticide on cattle to control horn flies. Dr. Sonja Swiger, assistant professor/veterinary entomologist, Texas A&M AgriLife, says livestock operators can take aim at their animals with a Vet Gun, a device similar to the popular paintball guns.  The new applicator aids what Swiger refers to as “an integrated approach for horn fly control.” That could include pour-on insecticides, ear tags, and sprays applied to take advantage of fly population dynamics and life cycle. “We want to control both the larvae and adults,” she says.

The Vet Gun allows operators to apply insecticide in the pasture, without bringing cattle into holding pens. It works similar to a paintball gun — propelling an insecticide capsule onto the animal’s hide, where it’s absorbed to control insect pests. Swiger says cost is about $2.30 per capsule, which last about five weeks. Retreatment may be necessary, so total cost would be about $6 per head per year, about the same as other options.


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