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Queensland worms, flies and lice update - January 2021

QLD WormBoss Worm Control Programs

QLD WormBoss Drench Decision Guides





Brisbane: Maxine Murphy, Veterinary Parasitologist (

Finally, some good rain over much of the region, although some have missed out, and conditions are still dry.

Where there has been good rain, the trick is to remain alert to what barber’s pole will do next — will its numbers inside sheep rise, or remain stable.

If you have had consistent showers for the last two months and the grass is green and growing, or there is some green pick, then barber’s pole worm will be active, and burdens are likely to increase. However, the hot temperatures late in January should have stymied larval development out in the paddock. While burdens in sheep will remain active, larvae on pasture may not complete their development in hot weather, meaning that the infection rate will be lower and the build-up in worm burdens will be slower.

If the weather dries out again, it will be easy for producers to assume that the worm issue no longer exists, but this may not be the case.

So, as guessing is not a tried and proven strategy, do a WormTest on a couple of at-risk mobs, such as lambs and weaners. Again, when mustering, check for any lethargic sheep, or any that lag behind the rest of the group. If you take a closer look at these lethargic sheep, check for very pale gums, pale membranes inside the eyelids, and lambs with bottle jaw. If these signs are present, yes, a salvage drench is necessary. It would be a good idea to carry some drench with you just in case this situation arises and so that sheep can be drenched where they are.

WormTest 10 days after the drench — a zero count would be perfect, indicating that the drench was fully effective. If some eggs are left, then you know that there are still some worms in your sheep. Either some sheep were missed during drenching, or the worms are resistant to the drench.

WormTest again day 28 after the drench to determine if another drench is needed.

If, as we all hope, there will be good rains over the next two months, sheep will continue to need monitoring at 6–8 weekly intervals depending on the amount of rain that falls, maybe more often for young sheep. If we get a late wet period extending into autumn, worm challenges will continue into winter as temperatures are not cold enough for long enough periods in Queensland to kill off barber’s pole worm. Barber's pole worm crashes can be expected in June when there is wet weather.

Rain into February and March, could see blowflies become an issue, and it may be prudent to check that jetting races and treatment gear are in working order.

Follow the WormBoss Drench Decision Guide for best results.

For January 2021 state outlooks, please follow the links below:
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