Home Columnist Horace McQueen – Screwworm Flies Found In Florida!

Horace McQueen – Screwworm Flies Found In Florida!


Nearly 40 years ago, cattle producers were elated to hear that the screwworm fly had been eradicated in the U.S. The eradication effort was carried out with a lot of effort by our cattle folks and backed by the scientists with USDA. Laboratories were built to irradiate and sterilize screwworm flies. These flies were then released by airplane over most of the southern states. It took several years of treating and then releasing the sterile flies to get them gone.

Now, a new threat arises from the finding of screwworms in a deer herd in the Florida Keys– an island chain stretching from the Florida coast southward. Animal health officials have quarantined the affected area and not permitting any animal movement from the Keys to the mainland. Back when screwworms were prevalent in our state, lots of cattle, sheep and goat producers had to ride their herds and flocks almost daily to doctor affected animals. The slightest nick or cut often led to a screwworm infestation that meant death if not immediately treated.

Lots of our older livestock producers well remember the long days of roping and doctoring cattle and other livestock to control the screwworm invasion. Untreated, the death loss was about 100%. I can still smell that awful odor of the dope that was used to smear on the screwworms that were eating a cavity into the animal. Not a good way to play cowboy—but keeping the animals alive was a must!

Now some more news on the ethanol front. Our friendly folks in Washington, D.C., with the full approval of many politicians, are ready to go full blast with a 50% increase in ethanol in our fuel. Most of the big oil companies are not buying, at this stage. One of these officials says if oil companies, and service stations, do start selling what is called E15 at the pumps, he can envision lawsuits galore. Those who have really studied the effects of 15% ethanol added to our fuel say this could lead to damaging engines in autos much faster than normal. But regardless, look for several companies to disregard such a warning. First out of the gate will probably be RaceTrac, Sheetz and Murphy USA. Their attitude seems to be: “Damn the torpedos, full steam ahead”. Consumers beware! That’s –30—Horace7338@live.com