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Control of the sheep blowfly in Australia and New Zealand – are we there yet?

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-03, 19:47 authored by R. M. Sandeman, Garry Levot, Allen HeathAllen Heath, P. J. James, J. C. Creeff, M. J. Scott, P. Batterham, V. M. Bowles
The last 50 years of research into infections in Australia and New Zealand caused by larvae of the sheep blowfly, Lucilia cuprina, have significantly advanced our understanding of this blowfly and its primary host, the sheep. However, apart from some highly effective drugs it could be argued that no new control methodologies have resulted. This review addresses the major areas of sheep blowfly research over this period describing the significant outcomes and analyses, and what is still required to produce new commercial control technologies. The use of drugs against this fly species has been very successful but resistance has developed to almost all current compounds. Integrated pest management is becoming basic to control, especially in the absence of mulesing, and has clearly benefited from computer-aided technologies. Biological control has more challenges but natural and perhaps transformed biopesticides offer possibilities for the future. Experimental vaccines have been developed but require further analysis of antigens and formulations to boost protection. Genetic technologies may provide potential for long-term control through more rapid indirect selection of sheep less prone to flystrike. Finally in the future, genetic analysis of the fly may allow suppression and perhaps eradication of blowfly populations or identification of new and more viable targets for drug and vaccine intervention. Clearly all these areas of research offer potential new controls but commercial development is perhaps inhibited by the success of current chemical insecticides and certainly requires a significant additional injection of resources.


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Crown copyright © 2014 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • English

Does this contain Māori information or data?

  • No



Journal title

International Journal for Parasitology




Sandeman, R. M., Levot, G. W., Heath, A. C. G., James, P. J., Creeff, J. C., Scott, M. J., … Bowles, V. M. (2014). Control of the sheep blowfly in Australia and New Zealand – are we there yet? International Journal for Parasitology, 44(12), 879–891. doi:10.1016/j.ijpara.2014.08.009

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