Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Lincoln, Nebraska » Agroecosystem Management Research » Research » Research Project #436863

Research Project: Management of Stable Flies to Improve Livestock Production

Location: Agroecosystem Management Research

Project Number: 3042-32000-011-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Dec 1, 2019
End Date: Nov 30, 2024

OBJECTIVE 1: Determine the environmental predictors of stable fly outbreaks and dispersal. Subobjective 1A: Identify and model environmental variates associated with stable fly population dynamics. Subobjective 1B: Model stable fly population dynamics in differing climatic zones. OBJECTIVE 2: Investigate stable fly larval habitats to develop improved management strategies that protect livestock from stable flies. Subobjective 2A: Characterize the temporal and spatial dynamics of physical and biological parameters associated with stable fly developmental substrates. Subobjective 2B: Identify and develop stable fly larvicides and assess their sustainability. OBJECTIVE 3: Identify stable fly attractants and repellents for use in strategies to protect livestock from stable flies. Subobjective 3A: Identify novel stable fly attractant compounds from host animals and larval development sites (substrates). Subobjective 3B: Develop long acting formulations with spatial and contact repellency. Subobjective 3C: Identify and develop novel stable fly oviposition deterrents. Subobjective 3D: Incorporate products developed in 3A-3C into a comprehensive Push-Pull strategy for managing stable fly infestations and improving animal well-being.

Stable flies are among the most important arthropod pests of livestock and, with changing climate and agronomic practices, are poised to expand their roles as pests and disease vectors. Their painful bites reduce livestock productivity, annoy companion animals, and interfere with recreational activities. Recent estimates of the economic impact of stable flies on cattle industries in the United States exceed $2 billion. Current management technologies are unable to effectively manage stable flies. This project proposes to address the development of novel technologies for managing stable fly populations and their impact on livestock using basic and applied research. Basic research will address developmental biology and population dynamics. Applied research includes chemical control strategies, repellants for protecting animals, and attractants for improving the efficacy of trapping devices. Combined, these efforts will improve our ability to monitor stable fly populations, identify and manage larval developmental substrates, and protect livestock from their painful bites. Successful completion of this project will improve livestock productivity and producer’s profits, as well as reduce livestock stress and disease.