We live in Costa Rica where bot flies are a huge problem. Our cows regularly go from having none one day to 5 or 6 clusters of them the next. I know you can smother them with vaseline but the cows lick it off and the larger the herd the more impossible it is to make sure they don't. People down here regularly inject their cows and it works well enough. We stick to topical treatments as much as possible but its far from all natural. Apart from this cows are super easy to care for down here. Any natural alternatives?
The link is the best information that I have found, unfortunately it seems insecticides are the best shot according to this: TAMU.edu
As an alternative to using those, Orange oil might deter the flies from landing to deposit the offspring. Mineral Oil might also work or maybe a combination of the two.
I am not sure that DE would work for the larvae since it generally works by getting into joints and that is why I have not had much success with it on caterpillars or the like.
From what I have read, bot flies can become life threatening in some situations but it seems to be rather unusual when this occurs.
Thanks so much, have never tried to oils. I was actually wondering about cultivating some carnivorous plants near the barn as well, just don't know which ones would be best for bot flies, if any. We shall see, now with the orange oil is it due to the smell? I wonder if maybe growing citrus near the area would help, apparently people around here swear by citrus as a great supplement and treat for livestock which I found rather surprising but maybe thats why they like it so much. I could also scatter peels around. We have tons of Seville oranges and use them like crazy for salad dressings and drinks and I hear its wise to limit citrus in compost anyway.
NEEM tree oil works, but as with anything you have to reapply all the time. I think you need to make something like commercial herds use, a hanging bag over a doorway that rubs across their back as they pass under it. Even in a pasture you can create a bottleneck with fences and force them to pass under it.
Diatomaceous Earth will work on the larvae fine, as long as it can reach soft skin it will tear them open.
I'm Just kind a making an educated guess at this. But Tea tree oil might work. The smell might work as a deterrent and the oil might be toxic enough to kill the larvae as they are layed . Also it would act an antiseptic. Tho I don't think it's a good idea to treat them with it once they have opened a wound.
I base this on the fact that when I washed with tea tree oil soap myself that mosquitos would leave me alone and I think it might work for the flies.
Now I am not sure this is true but I just read something saying that the female botfly actually transfers her eggs to a female mosquito and then she in turn is the one to deposit them in the skin as she bites the cow...or person as I have now unfortunately gotten one myself. The worst I think is with horses as they rarely get them on the body (at least my area) but if they get into the horses mouth they lay eggs in the throat and often end up getting bad enough to threaten the horse's life, or so I hear, has not happened to us. I have not confirmed the botfly to mosquito transfer from other sources but it would be interesting. I know have one on my upper thigh and thats a weird place to just not notice a botfly landing on you but obviously not enough evidence to confirm. Luckily for me I can contain myself and not lick off the vaseline so should turn out alright. If anyone knows about the mosquito involvement please let me know as this would change the game entirely, perhaps its true but not exclusively carried out that way...answers would be lovely
Well if Wikipedia is to be believed, yes they can be transmitted by mosquito, but what's more troubling is that you have one, from what I saw, if you do the vasoline thing, you still need to have a medical pro remove it, or risk it rupturing if you try to just squeeze it out. The risk in rupturing is that some people go into severe anaphylactic shock. Per the mosquitos (from Wiki): "Botflies deposit eggs on a host, or sometimes use an intermediate vector such as the common housefly, mosquitoes, and, in the case of Dermatobia hominis, a species of tick. They are common in Belize. The smaller fly is firmly held by the botfly female and rotated to a position where the botfly attaches some 30 eggs to the body under the wings." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botfly. I've had success before controlling mosquitos in my yard by brewing up a batch of hot pepper-garlic spray, and liberally dousing all the grass and shrubs, but it might irritate cattle if sprayed directly on their skin. My mix: couple of habeneros, whole head of garlic, plain non-toxic dish soap (small amount), 1/4 cup veg oil, and water to fill a handheld sprayer. Steep in hot weather for a day or 2 and then strain out the solids, spray everything.
Years ago we used to be able to get a fly spray from Germany that was really good at keeping bot flies away from the horses. It came in an orange bottle as a concentrate. It worked better than any other spray I tried. All the writing was in German so I didn't even know the name of it. Haven't seen it around in a long time. What I remember most about it is that it smelled like clove oil. It smelled wonderful. Perhaps a mixture with clove oil added would work.
Hm, we have had some luck with clove with other insects actually. Also no worries, as one of the two founders in my community and with it being in a new country i feel its quite my responsibility to visit a doctor when I don't know exactly what Im dealing with. We live way out of town so I take any opportunity to ask a doctor questions. Mr. Botfly is just my reason lol
In the wild many large herbivores have a symbiotic relationship with some type of bird. The bird eats tics and flies and the herbivore keeps bird predators away. Maybe look into mimicking something like that.
Two ideas: 1. years ago we put some turkeys in the same pasture with a dairy cow, and after a while the turkeys got to picking the big horseflies off of the cow. Eventually the cow got so used to them that she would lie down and let the turkeys walk all over her. There were also white cattle egrets in Georgia that would do this. So the idea about birds works, at least for some kinds of bugs.
2. Is there a small permanent-water pond anywhere nearby? Counterintuitive as it seems, having such a thing will generall reduce the number of harmful insects in the vicinity. If there is a balanced ecosystem in the pond including mosquitofish or other minnows that will control mosquito larvae, the pond will attract and breed large numbers of frogs, toads, dragonflies and other predatory beneficial creatures....which then disperse into the surrounding landscape to prey on insects....
Wow, thanks for all the responses guys! We do have the cow companion birds but they are not always around, it seems they come more seasonally. We do have turkeys but they are separate at the moment...not for long though! Also there is a bar in the closest town to me with a bat problem, we don't have many outside of the vampire bats up there but once we get a nice environment set up for them we will try to relocate some from the bar. Hopefully there isn't a great reason they aren't already up there but we will start with very few and see what happens. Also we do have a pond and have for some time. It was overgrown when I bought the farm and now 2 years later I have finally gotten around to having it dredged by a backhoe. It is nice and big now and can probably handle a nice little ecosystem. Still as it was just adressed I think it will be a good 6 months before the new things we will plant soon to support the new community of Tilapia, ducks, and frogs (which come uninvited in droves, we have so many frogs and toads here). Maybe it will go faster though, who knows. Either way thats great information! Also have never heard of pumpkin oil...about to do some research now but I wouldn't be surprised considering the nutrition facts I already know about pumpkin.
on another note you guys might be glad to hear I don't think I have a botfly after all. I have the vaseline on now but have another weirdness on my knee which, according to locals is something else that gets into the blood and creates these weird lesions or holes in the skin. I might have one of each, one just takes some antibiotics and the other vaseline and some tweezers. Please don't let my experiences with it freak anyone out though, its still perfectly lovely here and the good far outweighs the bad. Yes there are new medical issues but they aren't very serious if you have access to modern care and at worst might be a bit gross. Still its not bad overall and if anyone has the idea to move to central america i would be more than happy to message back and forth with a rundown of what problems to expect, at least those I know of.