Fungal biopesticide for cattle tick and buffalo fly control

The Fungal biopesticide for cattle tick and buffalo fly control project investigated the efficacy of using fungal biopesticides to control cattle ticks and buffalo flies on northern Australian beef cattle, without the use of chemicals.


Cattle ticks (Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus) and buffalo flies (Haemotobia irritans exigua) are serious ectoparasites of cattle in Northern Australia. Current control strategies for both parasites rely heavily on extensive chemical treatments which are beset with the
problems of resistance, residues and OH&S issues. Fungal biopesticides have emerged as realistic non-chemical control options for a range of pests in agriculture and a potential option for tick and buffalo fly control.

This project aimed to assess the efficacy of a fungal biopesticide based on Metarhizium anisopliae in controlling all stages of cattle tick
(Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus) on cattle under field conditions and appraise the effect of the formulation on buffalo fly (Haematobia irritans exigua) populations on these cattle.

The tick efficacy trials showed there are too many variables influencing the performance to guarantee a consistent high level of control of all on-animal tick stages with a Metarhizium based biopesticide. The activity range and efficacies obtained in these trials were too narrow to support future commercial consideration of a fungal biopesticide for tick control.

However the fungal biopesticide did give good control of buffalo flies, particularly with a “pour on” style of treatment. These results indicate that a fungal biopesticide could provide excellent buffalo fly control with further development supported by more research in both the laboratory and field.

When: 1 August 2011 to 16 May 2012

Contact: Dr Diana Leemon

Collaborator: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

More information

To learn more please read the final report summary and download the final report (B.AHE.0193) (PDF, 1.9MB) from the Meat & Livestock Australia website.