Submitted to: Journal of Medical Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/14/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The stable fly is a blood-feeding pest of livestock. In beach resort areas, such as West Florida, stable flies are a problem for the tourist industry, because they bite humans. It would be possible to reduce the number of stable flies in such an area with the development of traps using a chemical stable fly attractant. Scientists at the USDA, Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, Florida, in cooperation with scientists from the University of La Pampa, Buenos Aires, Argentina, have studied stable fly behavior using an olfactometer, an instrument which measures movement of insects toward an attractant material. In the study reported here, human skin was found to produce odors that were attractive to 15 percent of female stable flies compared to 1 percent in the controls, suggesting that the olfactometer system would be appropriate for the study of odors attractive to the stable fly.
Technical Abstract: A triple cage olfactometer provided with insect traps was used for evaluating behavioral responses of Stomoxys calcitrans (L.) to human hand odor. After demonstrating there were no significant differences due to cage location or time of day, 3 sets of 3 olfactometer tests were performed in a day, every 2 h beginning at 0900 hours. Attractancy, expressed as percentage of trapped flies, was measured at three air flows (0.10 - 0.15, 0.25 - 0.30, and 0.45 - 0.50 m sec(-1). In all three conditions, attraction increased linearly as a function of time. The highest attractancy (15% vs 1% in control) was observed at 0.25 - 0.30 m sec-1. Variation in fly density did not affect the attraction response, and female attraction was higher than male. At 0.25 - 0.30 m sec(-1), an activation peak (i.e., an increase in flight activity) was observed between 2 and 3.5 min after introducing the hand into the olfactometer, and before number of flies resting returned to initial values.