Northern Australia

While you may be researching or planning a program for a specific parasite that is a problem for your property, it pays to be aware of what other parasite risks may be approaching and make an integrated plan.

Programs for the key parasites, ticks, buffalo fly, lice, worms and fluke can be opened below. The recommendations are generic and therefore need to be customised to the needs of individual producers and delivered by those with knowledge in the field.

Be aware that chemical resistance can develop in both targeted and non-targeted parasites.

Use of chemicals to control one type of parasite can also unintentionally select for resistance in a different group of parasites. It is important to read the label to determine which parasites will be controlled. Resistance is a significant issue in ticks, buffalo flies and cattle worms. When choosing a chemical to control one of these parasites, consider the possible side effects of increasing selection for resistance to the others.

Strategies for delaying the emergence of chemical resistance include:

  • Where possible include non-chemical control strategies to reduce reliance on chemical treatments.
  • Avoid frequent use of the same chemical or chemicals within the same chemical group.
  • Don’t under-dose products as this allows the more tolerant pests in a population to survive. Common causes of under-dosing include under-estimating the weight of animals being treated, poor application technique, and mis-calibrated application equipment.
  • Use chemicals according to the product label.

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Seasonal trends

Louse numbers increase

mid- to late-dry season

Optimal timing of treatment if needed (usually not required)

mid-dry season

Lice numbers increase in the mid- to late-dry season and then decline with increasing feed during the wet season. Heavy infestations are usually seen in cattle in poor body condition. In most cases the lice are a consequence, and not the cause, of poor nutritional conditions. Where lice are an on-going problem a single treatment in the middle of the dry season will usually provide effective control.


Buffalo flies can become a significant problem in the wet season.

  • Ear tags can give 4 months treatment where cattle can be mustered for applications. Ear tags should not be used if the animals are not likely to be yarded to remove the ear tags when they reach their expiry date.
  • Backrubbers are a useful option in areas where cattle cannot be easily mustered.
  • Unless a control program is in place, most other treatments will provide insignificant relief for cattle.


Cattle tick

Seasonal trends

  • Cattle tick adults most active December through June

Optimal timing of treatment if needed: cattle tick

Start of wet season

  • Start treatments early, before tick numbers build.
  • Add additional treatments roughly every 3 to 8 weeks (varies depending on the product and application method; follow the product label and take note of withholding periods), or if 20 or more adult ticks >5mm are seen on one side of several animals. The need for treatment will depend on conditions (e.g. fewer ticks in hot, dry years), time of year (start or end of tick season) and the ability to monitor your animals.
  • Plunge dip, race spray, or pour-on: 5 treatments with 3 week intervals.
  • Injectable: follow the product label: 4 treatments with 4 week intervals OR if long acting, 2 treatments with an 8 week interval.
  • ML drench; apply at start of tick season in place of 1 dip or spray.
  • End treatments late in the tick season to lower the number of tick eggs released onto the pasture before the dry season (these end of season eggs develop into next season’s ticks).
  • Vaccinate all cattle against tick fever at three to nine months of age (often convenient at weaning).


Routine worm treatment programs not required.

  • A WEC at weaning is recommended.

Highest WECs


Other worms

 Barber’s pole worm (Haemonchus placei)

 Nodule worm (Oesophagostomum radiatum)

 Small intestinal worms (Cooperia species)