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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Agroecosystem Management Research

Title: Substrate properties of stable fly (Dipera: Muscidae) developmental sites associated with round bale hay feeding sites in Eastern Nebraska

item Wienhold, Brian
item Taylor, David - Dave

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/7/2012
Publication Date: 4/18/2012
Publication URL:
Citation: Wienhold, B.J., Taylor, D.B. 2012. Substrate properties of stable fly (Dipera: Muscidae) developmental sites associated with round bale hay feeding sites in Eastern Nebraska. Journal of Environmental Entomology. 41:213-221.

Interpretive Summary: Stable flies are a pest to pasture cattle causing large economic losses for producers. Winter hay feeding sites have been identified as a breeding site for this pest. A study was conducted to determine variation in physical, chemical, and biological properties within these sites. Areas of the hay feeding site the produced adult stable flies were less acidic and moister, had high ammonium concentrations, and supported high microbial activity. This study demonstrated that select areas within the hay feeding site produced most of the adult stable flies. Concentrating management practices for the control of stable fly to these areas will reduce the amount of labor and the cost involved with managing this pest.

Technical Abstract: Residues at sites where stationary feeders have been used to provide hay as supplemental forage for cattle during the winter are developmental substrates for immature stable flies, Stomoxys calcitrans (L.), in the central United States. Winter hay feeding sites normally have a circular footprint with residues extending 3-7 m from the feeder. Spatial patterns in physical (substrate depth, temperature, water content), chemical (pH, electrical conductivity, total nitrogen [N] and carbon [C], ammoniacal nitrogen [NH4-N], and extractable phosphorus [P]), and biological (microbial respiration rate) substrate properties for two feeding sites were estimated and the correlations between these properties and adult emergence were characterized. With the exception of extractable P all substrate properties exhibited spatial patterns centered on the feeder location. Adult stable fly emergence was correlated with substrate pH (R2 = 0.58), moisture content (R2 = 0.58), EC (R2 = 0.59), NH4-N concentration (R2 = 0.72), total N concentration (R2 = 0.46), total C concentration (R2 = 0.59), and microbial respiration rate (R2 = 0.81). Better understanding physical, chemical, and biological conditions needed for larval development may help in identifying additional developmental habitats and management of this pest. Targeted implementation of management practices such as sanitation practices and chemical treatments can be applied to smaller areas reducing labor input and improving cost effectiveness.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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