Pest Control From the Past

— Written By Bryan Cave and last updated by
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With the introduction of the Asian Longhorned Tick to our state, we need to take a look back to move forward with controlling this pest. The Asian Longhorned Tick arrived in NC a few years ago, but showed up in Surry County last year. This tick is invasive and reproduces at an astronomical rate. In sufficient quantities it can kill an animal. In addition to that bit of good news, it has been shown in herds to our north in Virginia that the tick can carry the organism that causes a disease called Thileria.

Fortunately, the pyrethroid class of chemicals are known to control a wide variety of tick and other ectoparasite species on animals; and can be applied to backrubbers to help in controlling many external parasites of cattle. As a reminder, backrubbers must be charged regularly to ensure effectiveness. So, to get started with a backrubber, the initial charge should involve applying enough of the parasite control product to the backrubber until it drips. Applications to recharge the backrubber should be done about every 2 weeks or after a rain. Producers should be careful to not get the mix on themselves when applying. There are some good tips to avoid getting product on you such as using a cleaned out laundry detergent bottle to apply the mix. The most important step to this parasite control method is to place the backrubber where the cattle must use it. For instance, place it at a gate that they must go through to eat minerals. Regardless of the product you use, ALWAYS follow label directions. Most of the products used on backrubbers must be mixed with a carrier even through there are a couple that do not require mixing. Labeled carries include mineral oil, vegetable oil or fuel oil. Just make sure to read the label for the specific product being used. So, in this case taking a step back in time may help with all classes of parasite control.

Laundry detergent bottle used for backrubber parasite control application

To avoid getting product on you such as using a cleaned out laundry detergent bottle to apply the backrubber/parasite control mixture.

Backrubber parasite control mixture demonstration

Matt Poore, Department Extension Leader and Ruminant Nutrition Specialist, demonstrates pouring a backrubber parasite control mixture using a cleaned out laundry detergent bottle.