The use of derris and cube washes and dusts in the control of cattle grubs


Material Information

The use of derris and cube washes and dusts in the control of cattle grubs
Physical Description:
Wells, R. W
Laake, E. W ( Ernest William ), 1887-1986
United States -- Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine (Washington, D.C )
Publication Date:

Record Information

Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 30272435
oclc - 778794422
System ID:

Full Text

March, 1942 E-562

~U ..



By r,. W. Wells and E. W. Laake,
Division of Insects Affecting Man and Animals


Experiments conducted by the Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quar-
antine, as well as -actual ranch practice, have shown that the abundance
of cattle grubs (Hypoderma iineatum (DeVill.) and H. bovis Deg.) can be
greatly reduced and the annoyance by the adults, or heel flies, very largely
eliminated by applications to the backs of infested cattle 2 a wash con-
taining powdered root of either derris or cube, or by applications of a dry dust
consisting of the powdered root and wettable sulfur The application should
be made before any of the grubs drop from the backs and should be repeated
about once a month during the season when the grubs are present in the backs
of cattle. For the larger herds of cattle the wash can be diluted and ap-
plied more rapidly and economically with a powered sprayer.

The applications must be thorough. Each treatment results in the de-
struction of about 95 percent of tho grubs present at the time. Some of
the dead grubs are forced out of the sacs. The dead Frubs that remain under
the skin are absorbed in a few weeks.


The grubs ("warbles" or "wolves") in the backs of cattle are the
young, or larvae, of the heel flies. When the grubs have aLtained their
full growth in the back each grub crawls out of the pocket, or cyst, which
it has occupied for 5 weeks or longer and drops to the ground. On the

1/ This circular supersedes E-496, The Use of Derris and Cube Washes
n the Control of Cattle Grubs, which was issued in February 1940.
2/ For more technical and detailed information on the habits of
cattle grubs see Farmers' Bulletin No. 1596, "Cattle Grubs or Heel Flies
with Suggestions for their Control."


ground it pupates as promptly as climatic conditions will permit, and 4 or
5 weeks later t e pupa changes into a heel fly. The female fly goes to the
cattle merely to lay her eggs and she lives only a few days. Usually the
eggs aie laid oi- the hair around the hoofs, but occasionally they may be
laid ,n hair alcng the belly and escutcheon. In a very few days the eggs
hatch, and the tiny larvae, or grubs, burrow through the skin near the base
the hair upon w-ich the eggs were laid. Having thus effected an en-
tra:ce, the yIug gr-hs pursue a devious course through the body of the animal,
reaching the bck about 9 months later Each grub makes a hole in the skin
of the back and remains in close contact with the opening, through which it
gets air. In this location the grub completes its growth while the tissues
of the host form a pocket, or cyst, around it. It is here also, before the
grub escapes to the ground, that the stock owner has the best opportunity
to destroy it. Being open to the air, the cyst may become contaminated
with bacteria. Pus and swellings occur in many cases.


The serious losses to the cattle industry are well known (see Farm-
ers' Bulletin No. 1596). In addition to the great damage to the meat and
the leather caused by the grubs, the cattle are extremely annoyed by the
flies. When the heel fly attempts to lay her eggs the cattle become frantic
and rush madly from their feed or rest to the protection of shade, mud,
or water. Sometimes the fright is sufficient to cause a stampede. The heavy
loss in milk production immediately resulting is well known by dairymen.



In addition to the water only two materials are needed for making
the wash. Either cube powder or derris powder is used as the principal
i gredient. Either neutral soap or wettable sulfur is used as the compan-
ion ingredient.

Cube or derris powder

Powdered root of cube is recommended. Better results have been
ohtai1:ed with bce powder than with derris powder when the rotenone con-
e t has b een appro~ximiately equal. Therefore, unless cube powder is the more
exp. ive, it should be used. it is important that the powder used be finely
ground, and a comoily accepted sta icard of fineness is that 90 percent will
poss through a~ 200-eosh screen. Rotenone is the principal toxic ingredient
i. the powvders. The. directios given here are based on powders containing
i percent of Powders of such content have been readily obtainable.
Powders of lower rotenone cogent cn be used in a sufficiently larger pro-
portion to give the eqivalent of powder containing 5 percent. For example,
it would iequar L -/4 pounds oi" powder containing 4 percent of rotenone
to be equal to I pound of powder containing 5 percent of rotenone.

-3 -

Until recently, cube containing 5 percent of rotenone was obtain-
able at a retail price of about 40 cents per pound, and derris was usually
slightly higher in price. The prices of 4-perccnt powders are usually about
20 percent lower. For the convenience of users the following list of manu-
facturers and dealers in cube and derris powder is given. No claim is made
that the list is complete, nor is any guarantee here expressed or implied
for the products of the companies listed.

Wholesalers and manufacturers:

Agicide Laboratories, 4668 N. Teutonia, Milwvaukee, Wis.
Arkansas Fertilizer Co., Little Rock, Ark.
ChiFman Chemical Company, Inc., Bound Brook, N. J.
Derris, Incorporated, 79 Wall St., New York, N. Y.
Dodge & Olcott Co., 180 Varick St., New Yok, N. Y.
Hammond Paint and Chemical Co., Inc., Beacon, N. Y.
J. L. Hopkins & Co., 220 Broadway, New York, N. Y.
McConnon & Company, Winona, Minn.
McCormick and Co., Baltimore, Md.
Niagara Sprayer & Chemical Co., Inc., MidC11cport, N. Y.
Pan-American Rotenone Corporation, 60 East 42nd St., New York, N. Y.
S. B. Penick and Co., 50 Church St., New York, N. Y.
John Powell & Co., Inc., 114 East 32nd St., N(w York, N. Y. (also
Dallas, Tex.).
R. J. Prentiss and Co., Inc., 80 John St., Ncw York, N. Y.
Schollenbarger Feed Co., Mosquero, N. Mex.
Seacoast Laboratories, Inc., 156 Perry St., Now York, N. Y.
Sherwin-Williams Co., Chicago, Ill.
Southwestern Drug Corporation, Dallas and Fort Worth, Tex.
Stanco., Inc., 2 Park Ave., New York, N. Y.
Andrew Wilson, Inc. Springfield, N. J.


Arkansas Fertilizer Co., Little Rock, Ark.
Denver Fire Clay Co., Denver, Colo.
Jim Ingwersen Co., Canadian, Tex.
McConnon and Co., Winona, Minn.
Musser Lumber Co., Seymour, Tex.
Schollenbarger Feed Co., Mosquero, N. Mex.
United Chemical Co., 2500 Eagle Ford Road, Dallas, Tex.


Neutral soap, such as is employed in soft water to wash woolen arti-
cles, should be used. It has been found that hard-water soap or home-made
lye soap is alkaline and makes the rotenone in the powder less effective.
Flaked or granulated soap dissolves in the water more readily than bar soap.
Apparently bar soap is just as effective, however, and it can be used where
time for dissolving it is available. UBRY



Wettable sulfur

Wettable sulfur is a desirable subsitute for soap in the wash. It
wets promptly; it is usable in either hard or soft water; no heat is required;
the cube powder and the sulfur can be blended together dry beforehand, ready
to be added to the water. Slightly better results are obtained than when
soap is used.

The wettable sulfur needed is the kind especially prepared and commonly
used for dipping cattle and goats. It is finely ground and contains a deter-
gent which makes it readily wettable. In some localities such wettable
dipping sulfur is carried in stock by dealers, while in other localities
information may be needed as to sources of supply. For the convenience of
users of wettable dipping sulfur the following names of manufacturers and
dealers are given. No claim is made that the list is complete, nor is any guar-
antee here expressed or implied for the products of the companies named.

Arkansas Fertilizer Co., Little Rock, Ark.
Bandera County Ranchmen and Farmers Assoc., Bandera, Tex.
Best Chemical Co., Lubbock, Tex.
H. 0. Byrd & Co., San Angelo, Tex.
Close Drug Co., Hereford, Tex.
Denver Fire Clay Co., Denver, Colo.
J. W. Dollahite, Marfa, Tex.
J. T. Easley, Lovington, N. Mex.
Equipment Supply Co., El Paso, Tex.
Henrietta Drug Co., Henrietta, Tex.
Jim Ingwersen Feed Co., Canadian, Tex,
Mimbres Valley Farmers Assoc., Deming, N. Mex.
Mitchell Feed Co., Roswell, N. Mex.
Musser Lumber Co., Seymour, Tex.
Refugio Pharmacy, Refugio, Tex.
Roswell Cotton Oil Co., Roswell, N. Mex.
Ruoff Milling Co., Albuquerque, N. Mex.
Shollenbarger Mercantile Co., Mosquero, N. Mex.
Southern Acid & Sulphur Co., Rialto Bldg., St. Louis, Mo.
Stauffer Chemical Co., Freeport, Tex. (manufacturer)
Texas Stockmen's Supply Co., San Angelo, Tex.
Walter Verhalen Co., Weslaco, Tex.


Hard waters contain certain salts that precipitate some of the soap
and make the wash less effective. Therefore when soap is used soft water
should be used. Rain water is satisfactory. Where rain water is not avail-
able, soft water can be obtained from laundries or from ice-manufacturing
plants. Where wettable sulfur is used instead of soap, either hard or soft
water is satisfactory.


.Quantities of Materials Needed

The materials are mixed in the following proportions:

Water ------------------ i gallon
Either cube or derris powder ---------12 ounces
(Soap- ------------ 2 ounces
Either ( or
(Wettable sulfur ---------6 ounces

One gallon of the wash is sufficient to treat the backs of from 12
to 16 adult cattle, depending on length and thickness of the hair. For ex-
ample, during January, in King County, Tex., 1 gallon was sufficient to
treat 16 cattle, while in Colorado, where the coats of hair are heavier, this
quantity (1 gallon) was sufficient for only 12 cattle. It is essential that
enough be applied to saturate the hair and wet the skin.

Preparation of the Wash

When soap is used

Warm water should be used in order to dissolve the soap rapidly and
to aid in good penetration of the hair, To save time, the cube or derris
powder should be weighed out in paper bags ahead of time. When a large
number of cattle are being treated it has been found expedient to dissolve
24 ounces of soap in 12 quarts of water heated in a large bucket over a wood
fire. After the soap has all dissolved, each of the 12 quarts contains 2
ounces of soap. One quart of this soapy concentrate is added to 3 quarts of
warm water to make each gallon of wash.

The powder is first dumped from the paper bag into the bottom of a
pail, the soap-water mixture is then added slowly while the powder is worked
into a smooth paste, and finally the rest of the measured soapy water is
added and thoroughly stirred.

When wettable sulfur, instead of soap, is used in the wash

The cube or derris powder is first mixed dry with the wettable sulfur,
then wetted by some of the water and stirred to a muddy paste, then the rest
of the water is added and the mixture stirred thoroughly, No heating is

Method of Application

A stiff brush and a dipper or a glass fruit jar with perforated top
are needed by each person applying the wash. The brush should be one with
stiff fibers. The short-handled type used for scrubbing the under surfaces
of automobiles is satisfactory. The fibers are of palmetto and do not
soften so readily as those of the ordinary white-fibered brushes. These
brushes may be obtained at about 25 cents each at hardware stores or at
stores specializing in automobile accessories.


As often as the brush becomes matted with hair it should be cleaned.
This can be done quickly by means of a multiple-pronged ice chipper or
a board containing many nails driven at a slant.

A dippe ray e used by pouring the wash over the backs of the cattle.
The bo,- f the dipper should be dented on one side, at the proper levels,
so that e operator can judge about how much wash he is applying to each
animal. Usually, however, and especially if the cattle are treated in a
high chute, a glass jar with a perforated metal top is more convenient for
handling the wash- Ten or twelve holes are made with a nail in the metal
top of a i-quart fruit jar. The jar is inverted and shaken over the back,
A quart should be sufficient for at least 3 cattle,

The wash should be thoroughly stirred in the pail each time a dipper
or jar is filled. The stirring can be done with the dipper or with a paddle.

As the wash is poured slowly over the back, the brush is used vigor-
ously to distribute the vash and to rub it deeply into the hair, and also
to remove the scabs from the grub holes. Vigorous and continued rubbing
is required for best results. Where the coats of the cattle are extremely
thick the be-t results are obtained by laying the brush aside after the wash
is distributed over the back and continuing the rubbing for 1 minute with the
fingers of both hands. The object is to have the wash reach each warble
opening in the skin.

It is ':_steful to apply so much of the wash to the back that it runs
off, but it is important to apply all that will stay in the hair.

Wire brushes should not be used, since they may injure the skin of
the animal.

Schedule of Application

The first application should be made before any of the grubs drop
from the bck, The grubs become almost black before they drop; therefore,
when a fe,;; of the grubs are found to be of a dark shade the first application
of the wash should be made at once.

The cIat grub season varies greatly with the latitude and to some
extent fr y t.o year, In King County, Tex., in 1933, the first applica-
tion of t0. x as :ade about the first of November. In the southeastern
part of Colona %; egrubs have been found ready to drop about December 15;
in the t t p rt of Toa, about February 20; in North Dakota, about March
15, Th d a. tird applications should be made at 30-day intervals.
This is > joit not affected by the earlier treatments.

c herds. e.n1 prefer not to wet the cattle on a very cold day unless
they arc because it takes the backs an hour or more to dry. The
water and the evaporation intensify the cold.


In some localities the county agricultural agents have aided in or-
ganizing cooperative efforts among farers or ranchers, and in such ca ses
more effective control can be exrectod. On individual ranches in Texas,
however, it was found that the abundance of grubs and heel flien -'as greatly
reduced by individual efforts.

Cost of Treatment

The cost of the materials is approximately 2 cents per head per treat-
ment. One man can apply the wash to about 30 head of cattle in an hour. Of
course the total cost is affected by the tire required to round up all ani-
mals and to put them through the chute.

The cost of materials is reduced by about one-half and the labor of
application is practically eliminated by the spray method, next to be dis-


Treating the larger herds of cattle has been greatly simplified
by experiments conducted recently by thi. Bureau. The tiie and labor re-
quired for treating the, larger herds of cattle can be greatly reduced by
applying the cube-sulfur mixture with a powered sprayer. One iTan operating
the spray nozzle can treat 8 to 10 cattle while he would be treating only one
with a brush. Another economy is in the cost of materials. It is found
that when sprayed under high pressure only 0.8 of an ounce is required
per gallon, or 5 pounds per 100 gallons. (The hand-applied wash requires
12 ounces per gallon.) Spraying requires 50 to 70 gallons per 100 cattle,
which includes 2.5 to 3.5 pounds of cube, whereas hand scrubbing requires
8.3 gallons per 100 cattle, which includes 6.2 pounds of cube. At these
rates the cost of cube in spraying is about 50 percent less than with the
hand-applied wash.

The Sprayer

An ordinary power-operated orchard sprayer and an ordinary tree-
spraying gun are satisfactory. For good speed ard effective spraying, the
machine should deliver 2 gallons of spray per minute at about 2'0 pounds of
'resSure and should have a good agitator to keep the wash well mixed in the
tank. The disk in the point of the nozzle should have a No. 5 opening
(5/64 inch). Fifty feet of hose is usually sufficient to reach to either
end of the chute. A longer hose may be used where 'it seems necessary to keep
the noise of the machine farther from the chute. It should be remembered,
however, that lengthening the hose reduces considerably the pressure at the

The Spray Mixture

For spraying, the mixture is made up as follows:

Either derris or cube powder ----- 5 pounds
Wettable sulfur--------- - 10 pounds
Water -i--------------- 100 gallons


About 1/2 gallon of the mixture is needed for effective spraying
of each animal.

The cube powder and about an equal quantity of the sulfur are blende
together while dry, then wetted and stirred to a muddy paste, then added
directly to the water in the tank while the paddles of the agitator are rui-
ning. The rest of the sulfur may be added directly to the sp1y tank. This
procedure saves tine and trouble in wetting the cube powder.
It should be remembered that this mixture is not rich enough for brush

application but is to be used only with a powered sprayer.

Applying the Spray

In order to use the spray in treating the backs of cattle it is nec-
essary that there be placed along one side of the chute about 2-1/2 feet
high, or higher, as may be needed, a shelf or bench on which the operator can
walk safely while directing the spray straight downward to the back of the
animal. The sprayer is set to operate at 250 pounds of pressure for 50
feet of hose, or at 275 pounds if 100 feet of hose is used. With such pres-
sure the No. 5 opening in the nozzle delivers about 2 gallons per minute.
At this pressure and volume it requires about 15 seconds to spray the back of
an animal, or 7 to 8 seconds for each side of the animal.

Proper adjustment of the nozzle is important. From the solid stream,
or wide-open position, the nozzle is slightly closed until the stream be-
co.mes a slender cone widening to a circle of 2 to 3 inches in diameter at a
distance of about 15 to 20 inches from the nozzle. Closing the nozzle far-
ther gives a wider pattern, to be sure, but reduces the momentum required to
part the hair and reach the grubs effectively. The gun is held in a verti-
cal position with the nozzle 15 to 20 inches above the back.

The operator completes the spraying of one side of the animal before
Leginning on the other side. In actual practice it was founi expedient to
start at the front end of the animal and proceed along the back with such
'aving of the nozzle as the operator readily finds is required in order to
reach the grub holes. Merely wetting the hair and skin is not sufficient.
? e spray streak rust strike the back with pressure in order to dislodge the
maLtted hair and the scabs over the grub holes. If the operator wishes to
keep dry while spraying the cattle, he should wear rubber boots and a rubber
apron to protect himself from the splash.


Recent experiments conducted on cattle in Texas with cube and derris
powders, as now supplied in the more finely ground condition, have shown
iat the powders mixed with wettabic sulfur and applied dry are fully as
effective on Texas cattle as when applied as a wash. The powder has not
teen found to be so effective, however, on the cattle with such extremely
dcnse coats of hair as occur on some cattle in the North. It can be applied


more rapidly than the wash because it does not require so much rubbing.
No water is required, which is an advantage for those who prefer not to wet
the backs of their cattle. The wettable sulfur is an economical material
for diluting the powder. With sulfur added, the powder is heavier and
drifts more readily through the hair; sulfur also is thought to serve as
an adhesive and preservative for the cube powder.

Materials Required for the Dust

Equal parts by weight of wettable sulfur and cube or derris powder
are the only ingredients. (See pages 2 to 4 for description and sources
of materials.) One pound of the dust is sufficient to treat 12 to 18 cattle.
At the rate of 1 pound of the mixture for 15 cattle, the estimated cost is
1-1/3 cents per head.

Preparation and Application

The two powders are mixed thoroughly. An improvised shaker can is
satisfactory for applying the dust. A tin can with 10 to 15 holes punched
outward through the lid is easily prepared. The holes should be sufficiently
large to permit the powder to flow from the can without vigorous shaking.
Holes about 1/4 inch in diameter are the correct size. Too much shaking
results in a cloud of dust, which is wasteful and becomes irritating to the
nose of the worker. Holes sufficiently large permit the powder to flow out
readily as the can is gently shaken along the back of the animal. One band
is rubbed gently over the dust, enough to drift it into the hair, but no
deep rubbing or massaging into the hair is required.

3 1262 09224 7450