House flies, Musca domestica Linnaeus, and stable flies, Stomoxys calcitrans (L.) (Diptera: Muscidae), are common pests on horse farms. The successful use of pupal parasitoids for management of these pests requires knowledge of seasonal fluctuations and biology of the flies as well as natural parasitism levels. However, these dynamics have not been investigated on small equine farms. A 1-year field study began in July 2010, in north central Florida, to determine adult fly population levels and breeding areas on four small equine farms. Weekly surveillance showed that pest flies were present year-round, though there were differences in adult population levels among farms and seasons. Fly development was not confirmed on two of the four small farms, suggesting that subtle differences in husbandry may adversely affect the development of immature flies. In six substrates previously identified as the most common among the farms, stable fly puparia were found overwhelmingly in hay mixed with equine manure and house fly puparia were found in fresh pine shavings mixed with equine manure. Natural parasitism was minimal as expected, but greatest numbers of natural parasitoids collected were of the genus Spalangia. Differences in adult and immature fly numbers recovered emphasizes the need for farm owners to confirm on-site fly development prior to purchase and release of biological control agents. Additionally, due to the low natural parasitism levels and domination of parasitism by Spalangia cameroni, augmentative releases using this species may be the most effective.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science