This week’s critter communique is the Stable fly. Learn more from this blood feeder blurb.
Name: Stable fly, Stomoxys calcitrans (meaning “obstinate open stomach”)
ID: Adults are 0.25 to 0.40” long. Mouthparts cannot be drawn back and project forward or bayonet-like to pierce tissue and blood-feed. Dull gray with four black stripes on the thorax. The abdomen possesses seven dark, roundish spots. Female is larger than the male. The male’s compound eyes appear to be touching, while the female’s compound eyes appear to be spaced.
Notable: Also known as “Biting House fly” since Stable fly resembles House fly.
Flight: ~5.0 mph
Life: Complete metamorphosis. Life cycle is 12 to 28 days. Female requires a blood feeding prior to each egg production.
Distribution: Throughout the US.
Where: Reproductive sites include moist decaying organic materials, which are loose and porous. Sites include animal bedding, hay contaminated with urine and feces or dung, grass piles, rotting vegetables and fruit, and crop residues.
Health: Females and males are obligate blood feeders. Feeding is mostly in the early morning and late afternoon. May take more than three times their weight in a blood feeding. Stable flies will persistently attack and bite people, companion animals, and livestock. Bite humans on ankle areas and livestock on lower body and limbs.
Safety: Vector Anthrax, Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA), and Anaplasmosis to animals.
Control: The Parasitoid wasp, Spalangia cameroni, may be used versus Stable fly pupae (natural parasitism). Clean refuse and waste areas regularly. Refuse containers must have tight-fitting lids. Manage animal bedding and grass piles. Screen windows and doors. Install air curtains for positive pressure (3.0 m/s-service doors and 9.0 m/s overhead doors). Strategically install several insect light traps for monitoring and population reduction. Use a UV-AMETER for optimum insect light trap placement.