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ARS Home » Plains Area » Manhattan, Kansas » Center for Grain and Animal Health Research » ABADRU » Research » Research Project #436363

Research Project: Biology and Management of Dipteran Pests of Livestock and Other Animals

Location: Arthropod-borne Animal Diseases Research

Project Number: 3020-32000-018-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Oct 1, 2019
End Date: Sep 30, 2024

Objective 1: Conduct surveillance and evaluate the effect of nocturnal dipteran pests on dairy cattle and estimate their impact on production by quantifying defensive behaviors. These studies are intended to inform development of insect management strategies. Objective 2: Develop new and improved strategies to reduce transmission risk between livestock and biting midges that are vectors of Bluetongue and Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease. Objective 2A: Describe species abundance, diversity, and habitat associations of larval and adult Culicoides communities collected on agricultural and wild sites in Northeastern Kansas which will facilitate improved, more targeted control strategies for midges. Objective 3: Determine the risk of bacterial pathogen transmission by house flies and develop strategies to mitigate pathogen transmission.

Among insects, Dipteran species that significantly impact livestock and human health. The studies presented here focus on three key dipteran pests: mosquitoes, biting midges and house flies. Hematophagous mosquitoes and biting midges cause direct damage to the host during blood feeding, while vector species transmit disease agents that cause morbidity and mortality. House flies are nuisance pests to humans and livestock, and annoyance is exacerbated when animals are confined in high density. Being filth-associated, house flies also disseminate and transmit a wide variety of microbes, including pathogenic or antimicrobial-resistant species, especially in operations with poor waste management. The common purpose of the proposed project is to understand key components of the host-pathogen-vector cycle to: (1) estimate pest impact on livestock and/or human health, (2) inform mitigation and management strategies for reducing host contact and pest populations and (3) ultimately reduce or prevent pathogen transmission. The mosquito projects will quantify fitness and economic impacts using wearable technology while also evaluating efficacy of novel management strategies. The biting midge research uses transcriptomics to explore how virus infection alters sensory perception and neurological function in midges, providing information key to developing or modifying control methods. The house fly studies utilize both next-generation sequencing and culture-based approaches to characterize the bacterial microbiome in flies collected from cattle operations across four US climate zones. Data will be used to perform risk assessment, pathogen and antimicrobial-resistance surveillance and to identify biotic and management variables associated with changes in the fly associated microbial community.