Control lice in beef cattle: tobacco expo is Jan. 21

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By Rick Greenwell

If cattle seem to be scratching excessively against trees, posts, and feeders, to the point of rubbing off large patches of hair or creating raw sores, lice may be the reason.  The species of biting and sucking lice that infest cattle are most numerous and active during the winter and can spread easily through the herd as cattle bunch in response to cold temperatures.  Confirm that lice are the reason for the scratching by examining some animals in the herd.  Part the animal’s hair in spots where lice are likely to occur and look for lice eggs (nits) attached to hairs.    The single species of the biting louse on cattle is about 1/12 inch long with a yellow-white body and wide red head.  It can be found all over the bodies of young and mature cattle.  This louse feeds on skin, skin secretions, and hair and is irritating.  There are three species of sucking lice; they are blood feeders.  These lice are most commonly found on the head, neck, and brisket, withers, around the base of the tail and along the inner surfaces of the legs.  Short nosed and little blue cattle lice are more often found on older animals, the little blue louse tends to occur on the head.  The long nosed cattle louse is most often found on young cattle.

If lice are present, two insecticide applications may be needed to clean-up the infestation.  The first treatment kills active adult and immature lice but does not kill nits or eggs on the hide.  The second application, about 14 days later, targets newly hatched lice.

There are plenty of lice to go around.  Different species also attack horses, goats, and swine.  The signs and impact on these animals are very similar to what is seen on cattle, the control approach is similar, also.


The Tobacco Expo  will be Jan. 21, 2009.  The exhibits open at 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.  

9:30 p.m. – 9:45 – Welcome

9:45 a.m. – 10 a.m.  A New Survey of GMO” Technologies Relevant to Traditional Tobacco Production.  Dr. Maelor Davies, Kentucky Tobacco Research and Development Center.

10:00 .m. – 10:30 a.m. – Basic Principles of Disease Management in Tobacco Float Systems – Dr. Kenny Seebold, Plant Pathologist, University of Kentucky.

10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.  – Economic Evaluation of Production Decisions – Dr. Bob Pearce, Agronomist, University of Kentucky.  – Ms. Laura Powers, Agricultural Economist, University of Kentucky – Dr. Greg Halich, Agricultural Economist, University Of Kentucky.

11:30 – 11:45 a.m. – H2A Worker Program – Rick Alexander, Agriculture Workforce Management Association.

1:00 p.m. – Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association – Annual Meeting