Four first stage larval antigens from the sheep blowfly were identified using supernatants from cultures of antibody secreting cells. These partially purified larval antigens, when added to Montanide ISA-25 containing recombinant ovine IL-1 beta (rovIL-1 beta) were used to successfully vaccinate sheep against larvae of the sheep blowfly. Significantly less strikes were recorded on vaccinated sheep compared to controls (P < 0.033) with surviving larvae from vaccinated sheep up to 85% smaller than larvae from control sheep. RovIL-1 beta was found to be an important component of the vaccine. Vaccinated sheep showed both humoral and cellular immune responses to the larval antigens. Antibody levels generally correlated directly with delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) responses, but neither antibody nor DTH correlated positively with protection in vaccinated sheep. Skin sections removed from individual sheep immediately after challenge revealed aggregations of CD4+, gamma delta-TCR+ and CD1+ cells located directly under the epidermis in vaccinated sheep.