Pig Skin Problems - More External Parasites
Pig Farming in South Africa

© Glenneis Kriel
Flies are not only irritants, but may carry diseases and cause infections.


Soft ticks may live in pig shelters, warthog burrows or human homes, whereas hard ticks are usually found on pastures. Ticks usually come out at night and suck on the blood of pigs, people and other animals. During the day, they will hide in cracks and crevices or under the soil. Not only do they cause anaemia and severe irritation, which could have a negative impact on feed intake and lead to secondary infections, but they may also be hosts of African swine fever.
Treatment of pigs will not be enough, their shelters will also have to be disinfected and cleaned. Ask your animal health technician or veterinarian to recommend a treatment programme and keep pigs confined and away from warthogs and other animals that may be hosting ticks.


Flies are not only irritants, but may carry diseases and cause infections. Stable flies are small in size and live in rotting vegetation, compost and dung. They settle on pigs, suck their blood and can transmit African swine fever between pigs.
Blowflies are medium to large in size and sometimes shiny blue or green in colour. They breed in dung and rotting material, including dead animals, feed on the wounds of pigs and may prevent wounds from healing.
Houseflies are hairy and medium in size. They feed on dung, fresh and rotting material and may transmit diseases between pigs.
Fly infestations should be prevented by keeping the areas clean where the pigs are produced and ensuring there are no breeding places near the sties. In the South African Pork Producers Organisation’ Pigs for Profit manual, it is suggested that farmers use wound sprays with fly repellent or cover wounds with Vaseline to protect the wounds from flies. Hanging up dry leaves, strips of plastic or shade cloth may also help to keep flies away from pigs.


Fleas are small insects that jump. While fleas do not always carry disease, large infestations may cause anaemia since they feed on the blood of pigs. They usually hide in cracks and crevices in the sties or in the sand.

Consult an animal health technician or veterinarian about a dip or powder to use and keep your pigs away from other animals, such as pets, that may be hosts for fleas.

By Glenneis Kriel