A wet lead into summer has provided the perfect conditions for a build-up of flies this summer.
While they are a nuisance to the average person, for local wool producers the increased threat is to their livelihood through dreaded flystrike.
Flystrike is caused by moisture being retained on the sheep, whether it’s urine, faeces or simply a wet day. Flies lay eggs on the wet skin, which become larvae (maggots). The maggots feed on the now unhealthy flesh, generally around the sheep’s back end or sometimes shoulders.
Mulesing contractor Lisa Virgona works across western Victoria. She says if flystrike is left untreated it goes deeper into the tissue, the area affected becomes bigger, the animal becomes more susceptible to infection and will die if it is not rectified. It also causes breaks in the wool that affect its value.
Ms Virgona says despite misunderstandings by the public, mulesing remains the best preventative for flystrike.