Making and Using a Cattle Backrubber

Robert D. Hall
Department of Entomology

Editor’s note
The PDF version of this publication includes illustrations.

A well made, properly placed cattle backrubber will give economical control of horn flies on beef and dairy cattle and will aid in control of face flies.

If the backrubber is kept soaked with a recommended insecticide, cattle lice also can be controlled satisfactorily throughout the year.

Figure 1
Secure first layer of bags to chain with three hog rings, one at each end and one in the middle of each bag. Place bags to within 18 inches of each end of chain

Figure 2
Roll bags tightly onto chain; tie each end with binder twine. Lap second layer of bags over first as shown; roll tightly, and tie with binder twine

Making a backrubber

Most of the materials you will need to make a backrubber are readily available on the farm. However, if all materials are purchased new, the cost will be about $25 to $30.

Figure 3
Tightly wrap third and fourth layers of bags and overlap about 6-8 inches. Four layers of bags should make a 4-5 inch thick backrubber

Figure 4
Twist baling wire tightly about every 8 inches along length of backrubber. Clip ends of wire; drive cut ends into burlap to keep from injuring animals

Charging the backrubber

Charge the backrubber by mixing the recommended amount of recommended insecticide with fuel oil and soaking the burlap with the mixture. A backrubber will usually hold about a gallon or two of mixture.

A new backrubber should be gradually soaked to hold full charge.

Don't let cattle use a backrubber that is dripping with insecticide mixture

Figure 5
Backrubbers may be attached to posts or trees with hooks and screw-eyes or by wrapping the chain around a tree branch and fastening with a bolt. Adjust chain so the middle is 16-18 inches above the ground