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A Historical Review of Management Options Used against the Stable Fly (Diptera: Muscidae)

  • Cook, David
Published Article
Publication Date
May 15, 2020
DOI: 10.3390/insects11050313
PMID: 32429109
PMCID: PMC7290918
PubMed Central


The stable fly, Stomoxys calcitrans (L.) (Diptera: Muscidae), remains a significant economic pest globally in situations where intensive animal production or horticultural production provide a suitable developmental medium. Stable flies have been recorded as pests of livestock and humans since the late 1800s to early 1900s. Over 100 years of research has seen numerous methodologies used to control this fly, in particular to protect cattle from flies to minimise production losses. Reduced milk production in dairy cows and decreased weight gain in beef cattle account for losses in the US alone of > $2000 million annually. Rural lifestyles and recreation are also seriously affected. Progress has been made on many control strategies against stable fly over a range of chemical, biological, physical and cultural options. This paper reviews management options from both a historical and a technical perspective for controlling this pest. These include the use of different classes of insecticides applied to affected animals as toxicants or repellents (livestock and humans), as well as to substrates where stable fly larvae develop. Arthropod predators of stable flies are listed, from which potential biological control agents (e.g., wasps, mites, and beetles) are identified. Biopesticides (e.g., fungi, bacteria and plant-derived products) are also discussed along with Integrated Pest Management (IPM) against stable flies for several animal industries. A review of cultural and physical management options including trapping, trap types and methodologies, farm hygiene, scheduled sanitation, physical barriers to fly emergence, livestock protection and amendments added to animal manures and bedding are covered. This paper presents a comprehensive review of all management options used against stable flies from both a historical and a technical perspective for use by any entomologist, livestock producer or horticulturalist with an interest in reducing the negative impact of this pest fly.

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