A survey of the prevalence of blowfly strike and the control measures used in the Rûens area of the Western Cape Province of South Africa
Blowfly strike and the methods used to combat blowfly strike were recorded on 33 properties in the Rûens area of South Africa during 2003/2004. Data were recorded on Merino and Dohne Merino hoggets (n = 4951) with at least 3 months' wool growth. The following data were captured: presence or absence of strike, site of the strike (body or breech), presence or absence of dermatophilosis as well as subjective scores for wool quality and wool colour. Control measures recorded include: chemical treatment (preventative and spot treatment), crutching, mulesing and the use of the Lucitrap® system. Blowfly strike was not significantly influenced by gender or breed. Hoggets suffering from dermatophilosis were more likely to be struck, compared with contemporaries not suffering from the skin disorder (0.057 vs 0.027; P < 0.05). Merino hoggets generally had higher scores than their Dohne Merino contemporaries for wool quality (32.6 vs 27.4; P<0.05) and wool colour (29.0 vs 27.2; P<0.05). There was an indication that the Lucitrap® system may have reduced flystrike, but the effect was not statistically significant (P = 0.19 for overall strikes and P = 0.12 for body strike). The Mules operation benefited overall flystrike (0.013 vs 0.110; P < 0.05); mainly through an effect on breech strike (0.010 vs 0.109; P < 0.05). The proportion of fly strikes increased with wool length, and declined with an increase in farm size in wool colour score. None of the ethically acceptable control measures assessed could substantially reduce blowfly strike on their own, and an integrated pest management programme was proposed.