Welcome to this website for reporting cases of flystrike in sheep.
Flystrike is a distressing condition that affects sheep. It can lead to death of the individual and is best avoided. Farmers would much prefer to protect their sheep than to treat affected individuals, and it is recommended that more effort should go into prevention. Despite the availability of effective preventative treatments, flystrike affects up to 1% of the National flock annually.
It is becoming clear that the season for flystrike is changing. In 2011 there were reports of flystrike from April through until November, extending the accepted 16 week fly season by three months. There is now so much variation in occurrence year to year and area to area that continuing to use traditional preventative programmes is just not as effective as it was.
To help farmers tailor their flystrike control programmes the NSA (National Sheep Association) has teamed up with SRUC (Scotland's Rural College) to develop this website. The aim is to inform farmers when there has been a problem in their area, this year and in previous years. Forewarned is forearmed.
The data comes from farmers themselves who report strikes anonymously using the first 4 digits of their postcode.
By checking the website regularly there is less chance of being caught out by an early fly season and a glance at last years data will show whether one or more treatments may be necessary.
The more effectively farmers treat ewes for flystrike the less flies will be about. The powerful insecticide treatments available are very effective but should be used in a targeted manner to avoid resistance developing and to limit adverse environmental effects.
We hope that this initiative will:
- Result in fewer outbreaks of Flystrike
- Identify 'out of season' strike cases or seasonal changes
- Provide evidence for efficacy of treatments, or problems experienced with treatments
- Highlight new areas of the country affected by strike
However, its success will depend entirely on whether farmers participate by reporting relevant incidents.
Veterinary note: flystike is caused by Lucilia sericata (Diptera: Calliphoridae). Infestation levels vary greatly from region to region depending on a wide range of factors related to the composition of the parasite fauna, the host, animal husbandry and control practices, climate and geography. The average minimum threshold temperature for strike is 8.50 C. Early season strike mainly affects ewes. This is reduced after shearing when lambs become the target. High humidity in wool enables hatched larvae to develop, flies are attracted by dung and urine and wound exudates, and cases are regularly linked with sheep that also have stomach worms or footrot. Control is by dipping or the use of pour- on preparations during the flystrike season.