A Thika-based agribusiness firm is using a sticky polythene sheet to control livestock flying pests in its zero grazing units.
Real IPM has run the zero-grazing unit with the rolling trap from end to end and any flying parasite is ‘arrested’ by the glue before starving to death.
It is painted yellow, a colour that attracts most insects, with the stable fly being the most notorious one that causes irritation to cows, goats, pigs, sheep, horses, and dogs, among others.
According to Livestock Veterinary Entomology, a US online extension services resource center, an adult stable fly takes one blood meal per day by drilling its proboscis into the back, belly, legs, ears, and head of host animals.
The feeding spree takes place within two to five minutes before taking cover in buildings and vegetation.
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The smell of dung attracts the flies, which feast and go into hiding. Losses occur if there are more than three flies on one part of the body for example the legs.
The effects of the parasites occur following a reduced number of feeding and resting as the animals try to wag off the flies with their tail, neck, or limbs.
Heavy infestation of the flies reduces the concentration in feeding besides causing discomfort when the animal is resting.
A reduction in feeding quantities means a drop in milk production. Discomfort while resting reduces milk hormone activation.
Reduced concentration of milk-initiating hormones in the bloodstream causes a drop in milk production.
At the same time, the glue does not kill flies, and other flying pests at once like chemicals, its benefits are more because of the ‘24-hour surveillance.
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Chemicals only kill those parasites present during spraying. Those in hiding will turn up later, feed, and continue multiplying. But the tape arrests the parasites and stops them from further reproduction.
Isaac Guda, an environmental officer working at Real IPM said the roller trap reduces chemical use in production.