in poultry, pig and cattle farming
Stable flies can cause huge problems on poultry and pig farms. Large numbers of flies irritate the animals and cause restlessness. This can result in decreased production of eggs, meat and milk.
The common housefly (Musca domestica) and stable fly (Stomoxys calcitrans) are the most commonly found species in the stalls.
The flies eat feed remains and manure and can propagate in both of these.
Houseflies have relatively flat mouthparts with spongy lobes at the end, used for sucking up food, and they feed on both liquids and solids (such as sugar). Solids are first liquefied with saliva and then sucked through the mouth parts.
The housefly can produce 15 generations in one year. The white larvae, in the form of legless maggots, develop in stable manure and other substances. In favourable conditions they pupate after one week. The pupae are the well-known cocoons. The housefly can be recognised by its downward-bent head.
The stable fly, with its head held higher, is often found sunning itself on walls, trees, and fences. It resembles a housefly, but has a stiletto-like mouthpart extending straight outwards, which it uses for sucking blood. It holds its wings relatively widely spread, even when at rest. The life cycle of this fly species is the same as that of the housefly. All flies undergo a complex metamorphosis consisting of four phases: egg, larva, pupa, and adulthood.
The stable fly bites animals and sometimes humans, particularly on the legs. The bite is quite painful. Houseflies create problems by causing the animals to be restless.
Flies on animal feed result in the animal consuming less of the feed. Their faeces can contaminate lamps and eggs. Their eating habits can transmit diseases. Flies spit on their food so that the enzymes in their saliva liquefy it, making it possible for them to eat the food. The flies contain a large number of transmissible pathogens.
Examples of these pathogens are:
- Mastitis, an infection of the udders. Flies feed on milk remaining on the teats and udders, and in this manner they transmit bacteria.
- Infectious Bovine Keratoconjunctivitis, also called “Pinkeye” or “New Forest Eye,” a contagious form of eye infection in cattle. It is caused by the bacterium Moraxella bovis.
It is therefore essential to effectively combat flies in stalls.