Arkansas Stories - Ag-Visors - ArkansasEctoparasites are upon us and what are we going to do? These are those pesky fleas, ticks and flies. Let alone the mosquitoes, wasps, spiders and ants.
One insect, the tick, can transmit at least 12-20 different diseases. These diseases include everything from Lyme’s disease to Tick Paralysis. The mosquito can transmit probably even more. For example, we used to think that Equine Infectious Anemia or Coggin’s was only transmitted by horse flies, but now we know the mosquito also transmits this disease.
For large animals, cattle and horses, I recommend using a pour on or spray that is a synergized permethrin this time of the year. I really like oil based ones. These will not be washed off with the rain or water. But, yes, soap will wash them off. For cattle, I would recommend waiting till the flies start bothering them again and then use a total different compound, like spinosad. This is a water based compound and may only last a short time, but it will give the flies something else to react to. Then we can come back to our oil based synergized permethrin and hopefully get through the entire summer.
With small animals our biggest concern is fleas and ticks. I have had a lot of requests for the pill for fleas. This will work, but it will not touch any ticks.
For those that also have a problem with ticks, you will need to use a topical product. I have already seen at least six cases of tick borne blood diseases this year. To transmit a disease to you or your dog, a tick must attach and be there for at least 4-6 hours to transmit the disease. Therefore, we actually need a product that will kill ticks and cause detachment.
To get these products to work like they are supposed to, we need to control the population in the environment. This means we need to treat the yard and the house if the pet is in the house. For this I recommend treating with spray or granules in the yard. Follow label directions for your safety and the pet’s.
For the house, I like a hand held fogger with an IGR (Insect Growth Regulator) in it. The hand held fogger will allow you to direct the spray under the furniture and appliances, where the fleas lay eggs and hatch into maggots. The IGR will get the eggs and maggots. Please, remember only 5 percent of the flea population are adults, 10 percent are the cocoons, 35 percent are maggots and last but not least we have 50 percent being eggs. This is known as the flea pyramid.
Please, remember all of these products are toxins and when used per label directions they are very safe and very effective. But, side effects can happen and you must read the label.
Dr. Tim E. O'Neill, DVM, owns Country Veterinary Service in Farmington, Ark.