Mosquito bites on pigs will cost pork producers money this summer, a University of Nebraska swine specialist said.
Higher numbers of mosquitoes this summer means more bites on pigs and higher trim losses at packing plants, said Mike Brumm, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources swine specialist.
"The increased carcass trim will cost producers anywhere from $5 to $10 per pig," Brumm said. "If you raise pigs in curtain sided barns, you've seen pigs with more red welts. This is a huge problem in the industry right now."
While pigs get mosquito bites, they are not carriers of West Nile virus, Brumm said.
"If a mosquito bites a pig that previously had been bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile virus, the biting mosquito won't get infected," he said. "The main problem is the bites themselves."
U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors are asking that plant workers trim areas with red, raised welts, Brumm said.
"Since mosquitoes can spread other diseases to livestock and humans, it's important to reduce favorable mosquito breeding sites," Brumm said.
Several insecticides are available for insect control around swine facilities. Most of these are labeled for mosquito control. Several products can be applied while pigs are in the barn.
It's also important to keep areas around hog barns clean, mowed and free of standing water. Standing water is a prime breeding ground for mosquitoes.
However, livestock waste lagoons are seldom sources for mosquito breeding because they contain too much organic matter and produce too much wave action, he said.