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Ecological, behavioural and economic effects of insects on grazing farm animals – a review

Michalina Kamut
Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding Polish Academy of Sciences, Jastrzebiec, 05-552 Magdalenka, Poland
Abstract :
High populations of various insect species, especially common in the summer, may adversely
affect farm animal health because of the transmission of contagious and parasitic diseases and
the induction of insect allergies. Blood-sucking insects may compromise animal welfare and cause
economic losses due to the annoyance and distress suffered by the animals, feeding interruptions
and energy requirements for avoidance or defense behaviours initiated by the animals in response
to the insects. Consequently, significant decreases in production traits, such as weight gain in beef
cattle or milk yield in dairy cattle, can be expected when blood-sucking insects are numerous.
There are several globally distributed families of Diptera that harass farm animals; these include
the Culicidae, Ceratopogonidae, Muscidae, Oestridae, Simuliidae and Tabanidae. Large insect
populations gains problems because of a lack of effective and long-lasting repellents and of the
difficulty or impossibility to apply available compounds, e.g., on remote pasture areas or in free-
roaming herds. Described are consequences caused by insect harassment of grazing farm animals
and the main behavioral strategies used by the animals to cope with this harassment.
Keywords :
behaviour / Diptera / grazing animals / insects harassment / parasitic diseases

Date Deposited : 02 Apr 2015 10:41

Last Modified : 02 Apr 2015 10:41

Official URL:

Volume 32, Number 2, - 2014

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Abstract : pdf doc