I want information about

I want information about
Home Application Methods for Sheep

Application Methods for Sheep

Click the options below to find out more about each application method.

Oral treatments

Chemical is delivered to the sheep using an oral drench. The chemical is absorbed and re-distributed through the blood to all parts of the body including the skin’s sweat and oil glands. It is then present on the wool at a high enough level to kill lice by contact, but is not detectable or harmful to humans. Currently only one chemical, fluralaner, is available in an oral lousicide. It can be used in any length of wool and any age of sheep and efficacy is not affected by rainfall before or after treatment.

Further product information can be found in the LiceBoss Products Tool.

Backline applications

Backline treatments are very popular because of their ease of use, but to achieve good effect, careful application is critical.

Relatively small volumes of product are applied along the backs of the sheep from head to rump. From here, the chemical spreads over the surface of the body, assisted by contact between sheep.

Dose rates should be calculated according to the weight of the heaviest sheep.

Label directions stipulate the use of compatible applicators that must be checked for proper operation and accuracy.

Chemicals available for application by this method include insect growth regulators, synthetic pyrethroids, diazinon, imidacloprid, abamectin and spinosad. Further product information can be found in the LiceBoss Products Tool.

To effectively use backliners, see Off-shears backline treatments.

Immersion (plunge and cage) dipping

In this method of treatment, sheep are completely immersed in dipping solution. Effective lice control relies on sheep being wet to skin level over their entire body; this can be very difficult because of the waterproofing effect of wool.

There are several types of swim-through ‘plunge’ dips in which sheep must swim the length of the dip to exit. During the swim, it is recommended that sheep be individually ‘dunked’ twice to wet their heads. Dipping is a labour-intensive operation, but an efficient operator with other staff can treat several thousand sheep per day. Plunge dips range from traditional in-ground, straight dips to mobile dips that are ‘U’ shaped.

There are also several types of ‘cage’ dips; most are operated by contractors. In cage dipping, groups of sheep are held in a lidded cage that is completely submerged in the dip solution. Movement of the cage and lid is controlled hydraulically and cage dipping can often be a one-person operation.

Some compounds used for dipping are subject to ‘stripping’. This is when the dipping chemical is removed or ‘stripped’ from the dip at a faster rate than dip wash, leaving a lower concentration of active compound.

Labels for products that strip include instructions for reinforcement and replenishment (topping up) to maintain adequate concentrations of pesticide in the dip wash. It is important that these terms are understood and that the label directions are followed.

Detailed information is available here: Plunge and cage dipping.

When you are concerned about spreading ‘dermo’ during dipping, with some products zinc sulphate can be added to the dip wash. For details, see Avoid dermo at dipping.

Shower dipping

Shower dipping or ‘showering’ relies on applying a high volume of dip wash from spray nozzles on a slowly rotating boom to completely wet the sheep.

Shower dips need to be correctly set up according to the manufacturers’ instructions and be working efficiently. This includes correct horizontal boom rotation speed, effective nozzles, large volume pump delivery, adequate sump volume and use of the top sprays only.

Sheep must be showered for at least 12 minutes to achieve lice eradication.

It is extremely common to find that shower dips are not working properly.

Directions for optimal setup and operation of shower dips are given in Shower dipping.


Hand-jetting is one method used for applying a lice treatment in long wool (greater than 6 weeks wool growth). A side benefit is that jetting also gives protection against blowfly strike.

Importantly, hand-jetting requires high pressures at the hand-piece for the liquid to penetrate the wool.

For complete directions on ensuring that your equipment works effectively, refer to Hand-jetting sheep for lice.

Watch videos showing application methods




Subscribe to the Boss Bulletin

Subscribe the the Boss Bulletin for monthly updates and articles about all things parasite management

Subscribe here

Notice: you are leaving the ParaBoss main website

www.wecqa.com.au is a secondary ParaBoss website hosted by the University of New England (UNE). Whilst this is still an official ParaBoss website, UNE is solely responsible for the website’s branding, content, offerings, and level of security. Please refer to the website’s posted Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.