These livestock farmers work with predatory flies and parasitic wasps

These three livestock farmers no longer have the inconvenience of flying on their farms. They do not use chemicals, they arm themselves with parasitic wasps and predatory flies. These insects tackle the fly problem at their core. It is more expensive than traditional fly control, but these farmers take it for granted.

One should tackle fly genes at the source, says milk producer Dirk van Asseldonk from Boerdonk. It works with both robber flies and parasitic wasps. ‘It gives peace in the stable. It works fine. We do not even have flies in the house anymore. We just leave the doors open. But it can take a year and a half before you see the biggest effect. ”

Twelve years ago, De Brabander decided to tackle the fly plague strictly. Rentokil came to a spray treatment throughout the cabin barn. But it did not feel right. The family has a care yard and next to a climbing path in the ridge of the stable that guests can walk over.

‘We receive a lot of people, so we were looking for another method of fighting flies. And preferably one where we tackle the problem at the source ‘, says the farmer.

Dirk van Asseldonk, milk producer in Boerdonk © Studio Van Assendelft

Van Asseldonk switched to biological fly control from Rentokil. This is done via pipes filled with the tits of robber flies. It will be sent to him by mail.

At each slat passage, the farmer spreads the pipes in the slurry cellar. Every 5 to 6 meters, he first drops a handful of sawdust into the pit, after which some dolls follow. “Otherwise they sink into the golden.”

The larvae of the predatory flies then crawl out of the pupa and feed on the fly larvae. After six to eight weeks, the predatory fly population is so large that only a few flies reach adulthood.

Let the fertilizer be

Van Asseldonk: ‘It is important that you leave the manure alone after spreading the predatory flies, so do not mix or disperse it for a while. You must also work clean and clean, otherwise it will be a mop with an open tap. For example, we clean igloos every two weeks and stay empty for at least three weeks. ‘

The entrepreneur also uses parasitic wasps in the straw paths near the calves. He also has good experiences with this.

Business information

Number of animals: 70 dairy cows and 45 young animals Method: predatory flies in the manure pit and parasitic wasps in the straw. Costs: annual costs for biological fly control per. cow is 1,062 euros / 115 animals = 9.23 euros

At Louise and Martin Ottenschot’s organic pig farm in Ambt Delden, cups with robber fly pupae hang well over the manure slats. Parasitic wasps keep their stables free of flies.

Louise Ottenschot is immediately straight to the point, she has good experience with robber flies, but would also like to be honest. Because her husband owns a pest control company and sells the biological fly control from Bestico (formerly Appi).

Nevertheless, the pig farmer from Overijssel will give his sincere opinion. “The method works well, but it is not the ultimate solution. You need to place the predatory flies at the right time and at the right temperature. It precedes good planning, and it starts late in the winter. ‘

Louise and Martin Ottenschot, organic pig farmers in Ambt Delden
Louise and Martin Ottenschot, organic pig breeders in Ambt Delden © De Groene Weg

Moreover, one cannot survive with robber flies alone, says Ottenschot. She has put a lot of energy into attracting swallows and there are now quite a few litters. She also uses square plates 1 meter wide, they are yellow because it attracts flies, and she has treated them with an adhesive. ‘They hang, for example, in the central corridor far away from the robber flies. Otherwise, they also go for it. “

The robber fly puppets are in cups that the entrepreneur hangs over the grid area. Once hatched, the predatory flies dive into the manure pit and lay their eggs there. The larvae then eat the eggs of the fly.

Save on labor costs

Why biological fly control is quite expensive, according to Ottenschot, is related to the breeding process. The tits come from the laboratory and are disease and resistance free. ‘But since this method requires significantly less labor than the traditional methods, you save on labor costs.’

The horses are also free of flies, because Ottenschot uses parasitic wasps in their straw stables. “The wasps are small and do not sting, so they are not dangerous.”

Business information

Number of animals: 450 fattening pigs, a new round every fortnight to sixteen weeks, then 1,500 pigs a year. Method: predatory flies in the pigs and parasitic wasps in the horse stable. Costs: annual costs for biological fly control per. pig is 1,250 euros / 1,500. animals = 0.83 euros including VAT

Giedo Indenkleef is a goat farmer in Weert. Every six weeks he spreads parasitic wasps among the straw in his freezing barn. He always used maggot death at the time, but it started to annoy him.

The Limburg entrepreneur would no longer use maggot death. ‘Maybe it will have an effect on the environment and also kill other insects. It is not supposed”. He started using parasitic wasps five years ago. Six times a year, the postman delivers a box of twenty pipes, good for fly control in three stables. He pays 680 euros per delivery for fly control on almost 4,000 square meters.

The tubes contain tits of parasitic wasps. Six to ten wasps emerge from each pupa. According to the supplier Agro Pest Control, each tube can produce about 15,000 offspring.

Guido Indenkleef, goat farmer in Weert
Guido Indenkleef, gedfarmer i Weert © Maartje van Berkel

The fly control works as follows: Parasitic wasps lay their eggs in the tits of the fly. The wasp larvae are then filled with the contents of the fly pupa. ‘The flies are therefore parasitized from within by the wasp’, Indekleef explains.

The goat keeper mainly spreads the tubes of parasitic wasps on the side of its deepening houses, for that is where most flies are. The result is impressive, for he experiences almost no fly nuisance in the entire company.

No more red mites

“And as a side effect, we no longer see red mites in lambs and no more fleas in our dogs and cats,” Indekleef says. “I suppose because we no longer use maggot kills, other insects will stay alive and then fight the red mites and fleas.”

According to Indenkleef, the effect is better than maggot death, but twice as expensive. ‘We are pleased with the effect of biological control and I hear around me that more and more farmers are starting to use it. Also on e.g. poultry farms’.

Business information:

Number of animals: 1,500 dairy goats and 500 young animals. Method: parasitic wasps in the straw Cost: annual costs for biological fly control per. goat is 4,080 euros / 2,000 animals = 2.04 euros incl. VAT

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