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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Mosquito and Fly Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #336759

Research Project: Management of Filth Flies

Location: Mosquito and Fly Research

Title: Biological control with parasitoids

item Machtinger, Erika
item Geden, Christopher - Chris

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/13/2017
Publication Date: 8/22/2018
Citation: Machtinger, E.T., Geden, C.J. 2018. Biological control with parasitoids. In: Garros, C., Bouyer, J., Takken, W. and Smallegange, R.C. editors. Pests and Vector-Borne Diseases in the Livestock Industry. Wageningen, The Netherlands: Wageningen Academic Publishers. 5:611.

Interpretive Summary: House flies are global pests that are involved in the carriage of a myriad of pathogens that affect human and animal health and are involved in the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Stable flies are painful biters that cost the US cattle industry over $2 billion per year. These pests are notoriously difficult to control because of high levels of insecticide resistance. Parasitic wasps that attack the pupal stage of the fly are the most promising alternative control technology. In this article, two ARS scientists review 50 years of research on the use of the wasps. The effectiveness and limitations of the wasps are discussed, and specific recommendations are made to maximize their effectiveness. In addition, results are presented on a novel method for monitoring populations of the wasps in the field. This method was highly effective and combined the advantages of two conflicting techniques that are widely used.

Technical Abstract: House flies, Musca domestica L., and stable flies, Stomoxys calcitrans (L.), are common pests on livestock, poultry, and equine facilities. Biological control of filth flies with pupal parasitoids can be used in conjunction with other control methods as part of an integrated fly management program. The principal filth fly parasitoids include members of the genera Muscidifurax and Spalangia, as well as others in the hymenoperan families Pteromalidae and Encyrtidae. Many of these parasitoids are common globally and have been introduced in many areas worldwide. Filth fly parasitoids are generally present in all habitats where suitable hosts can be found including poultry, cattle, equine, swine, and other animal operations, as well as refuse and forensic situations. Naturally occurring populations of parasitoids typically are insufficient to manage fly populations because of the flies’ shorter development time and higher fecundity. Augmentation of natural parasitoid populations by releasing commercially-produced parasitoids can increase fly control. Here we review the biology of these biological control agents and discuss the prospects for their successful use in managing filth fly populations in a variety of animal facilities. Also, a new method for monitoring natural populations of parasitoids is presented.