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Research Project: Integrated Pest Management of Flies of Veterinary Importance

Location: Livestock Arthropod Pest Research

Project Number: 3094-32000-041-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

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

Objective:
Objective 1: Develop more accurate models of fly dispersal by incorporation of population genetics, remote sensing, and GIS into the surveillance of stable flies, horn flies, and screwworm flies. Objective 2: Develop and evaluate the efficacy of novel control strategies for house, stable, horn and New World screwworm flies.

Approach:
Muscid and calliphorid pests of livestock are of veterinary and medical importance worldwide, as they negatively impact both livestock production efficiency and human and animal health. The overall goal of this project is to diminish the impact of muscid and calliphorid pests by reducing host-pest interactions. Populations of stable, horn, and house flies have traditionally been managed by application of insecticides, but development of resistance to chemicals and a desire for more environmentally conscious approaches have shifted our research emphasis to identify more sustainable tactics. Chemical ecology, toxicology, molecular biology, and gene editing/genetic engineering methods will be employed to identify behavior modifying compounds and biological pathways regulating host orientation, larval survival, and insecticide resistance. This will enable development of mating disruption strategies and biologically-based management tools. One of the foci of this project, the New World screwworm (NWS), remains endemic to the Caribbean and South America, and a permanent barrier is maintained at the Panama-Colombia border to prevent re-introduction northward. Improved technologies to support population suppression and outbreak prevention would be beneficial to the bi-national commission that manages the permanent barrier. This project will blend geographic information system technologies with reduced genome sequencing approaches to characterize current and to model future pest distribution, as it relates to climate and landscape features. This will allow the scaling of sterile fly release rates and projections of NWS dispersal range, which are critical to maintaining the permanent barrier. Promising leads will be pursued to move towards development of applications that reduce negative impacts of these muscid and calliphorid pests.