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Optimal timing essential for effective cattle lice control
Nebraska Ag Connection - 10/02/2023

In regions like Nebraska, cattle lice are an unending concern, especially during the colder months. These pests are not only irritating but can have significant impacts on cattle health and productivity. Lice can reduce milk production, hinder growth, and even cause severe conditions like anemia. Research from institutions like the University of Nebraska has even suggested that intense lice infestations can decrease calf weight gain considerably.

Lice, being cold-weather insects, flourish in wintry conditions. During the warmer months, their reproductive activities take a backseat. This is why treating cattle for lice during convenient times such as late summer or early fall might not always yield the best results.

When warmer than usual falls occur, as seen in recent years, lice can escape endectocide treatments. Once colder temperatures eventually roll in, and if the treatment's effectiveness has reduced, lice outbreaks might occur.

For effective lice control, it's crucial to understand the available treatment options. These range from animal sprays and non-systemic pour-ons to endectocides. Different treatments have varied effectiveness on the multiple lice species. Some treatments might need single or multiple applications, and others might be more effective during specific times of the year.

When opting for systemic control products, it's important to consider the timing. Using these products between November and February might lead to unintended reactions in cattle. If new cattle are introduced to a herd, it's recommended to examine them for lice. Infested animals should be treated and isolated before joining the main herd.

An essential aspect of lice control is understanding insecticide resistance. Continual use of the same group of insecticides can lead to reduced control. The Insecticide Resistance Action Committee provides valuable resources, including an app and website, for determining which insecticides belong to which group.

Finally, no matter which treatment or strategy is chosen, it's crucial always to read and follow label directions. Proper application can be the difference between successful lice control and an outbreak.

For the latest in lice control recommendations, the website is a valuable resource.

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