Goehring OKs ear tags to protect sheep from mosquitoes

BISMARCK – North Dakota sheep producers can now use insecticide-treated ear tags to protect their animals from exposure to a serious, mosquito-borne disease.

“We had a rash of Cache Valley virus outbreaks across North Dakota in 2010,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “I have therefore issued a special local needs (SLN) registration to Y-TEX Corp., allowing sheep producers to use PYthon™ Insecticide Cattle Ear Tags to better control mosquitoes that carry the virus.”

Cache Valley virus can cause abortions, stillbirths, congenital abnormalities and weak lambs. Elsewhere in the country, sheep producers have recorded lamb losses from the virus as high as 80 percent. No effective treatments or vaccines are available.

The PYthon tags are only registered for use on cattle to repel flies, lice and ticks. The SLN registration allows use of the tags on sheep to repel biting mosquitoes.

“No federally registered products are available that adequately manage mosquitoes and prevent transmission of the virus,” Goehring said. “I am confident the situation meets the criteria of being a special local need.”

The SLN labeling allows one tag per head of sheep. Use is prohibited on sheep less than three months of age. The product labeling provides detailed instructions on securing the tags to ears, as well as a requirement to remove tags before slaughter.

Section 24(c) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act gives states the authority to register additional uses for federally registered pesticide products, or new products to meet special local needs. EPA reviews these registrations. Labeling for all active SLN registrations in North Dakota is available for viewing and downloading on the North Dakota online pesticide registration database, www.kellysolutions.com/nd/.

Goehring said he relied on research and information from North Dakota State University sheep specialist Reid Redden in issuing the SLN registration.