The Frustrating Reality Experienced By Professional Fly Counters

There are plenty of lousy jobs in the world that literally nobody wants. Examples include sewer-diver and professional toilet-cleaners. However, there is one particular job within the agricultural industry that must be tedious, but it is definitely important. Imagine counting flies for a living. And not only counting flies, but counting flies that are located on cattle. This means counting flies for eight hours a day surrounded by moody cattle in the midst of foul smelling odors. No child grows up wishing for this job as an adult, but the employees that do fulfill this function have saved billions of dollars in crop damage. The dreaded horn fly is a major insect-pest and a problem for farmers. Horn flies cost the cattle industry one billion dollars every year, so there management is, perhaps, even more crucial than any other insect-pest. In order to keep their numbers in check, people literally count them.

The people who roam around acres of cattle and counting flies are responsible for making sure that the number of flies that are located on each cow do not exceed the threshold of one hundred flies. If the number of flies on a particular cow exceeds this number, then economic loss is likely.

Counting these horn flies is even more difficult than you are imagining because horn flies are half the size of typical houseflies, which makes them look like little black specks. Also, the flies are not all located on the cows, instead the surrounding air is infested with countless tiny horn flies buzzing around and causing distress among cattle. This is precisely the problem because cows that are destined for the dinner table need to graze the land and conserve their energy, and horn flies cause cows to go into fits of frustration, which takes away their value.

Had you ever heard of a horn fly before? In your opinion is the horn fly the most dangerous fly in the world to crop health?