At many facilities we visited where flies were a problem we often would find one or two locations that likely were producing the majority (maybe 80%) of the flies. These were locations where the manure or spoiled feed were kept at the optimum moisture content for maximum fly reproduction. By simply focusing on these areas first you can make the biggest fly reduction for the least cost and effort. Fortunately these areas are easy to find; look for extra wet spots. It’s easy to confirm their fly production levels by noticing how many larvae (maggots) are in that material.
Worst offenders can be calf barns where new bedding is simply placed over old bedding rather than old wet bedding being removed. While it might look dry on top, dig down a few inches and you’ll find the gooiest, messiest, most perfect fly factory around. Combine that with the richer diet calves get and you’re creating a 4 Star gourmet fly attraction. But other less obvious areas that may not seem to have a lot of flies can still be the location where flies reproduce. That little ponding by a ramp, the dripping faucet by a water trough, the spoiled feed in and around a round bale feeder.
If you suspect a fly breeding hot spot, take a stick or your boot and dig down a few inches and see how many maggots are there. Seeing a few maggots is no big deal, see dozens or a hundred and you’ve hit the spot. Clean up here, but if you can’t clean this up, put Fly Predators within 50–75 ft. Wherever you see maggots, in a week or so you will have a fly pupae there, which is the stage the Fly Predators attack.
Consider the maggots your early warning sign for flies. Every week when you release Fly Predators, do the kick test and see what you’ve got for maggots at each location where there is moist manure or spoiled feed. If you suddenly see more maggots in one area, put more Fly Predators there. If you suddenly see more maggots everywhere, perhaps due to the weather, then call and have us send more Fly Predators as you’ve got more flies coming in the next week or so. You can move around your free bonus 50% extra shipments at no additional cost.
The extra Fly Predators won’t stop the extra flies that emerge before they get there, but they will stop the buildup that would otherwise be following.
Unlike the House Fly that breeds principally in manure at livestock facilities, the Biting Stable Fly breeds in areas with spoiled feed. This can include the bottom of bales, round bale feeders, wet edges of silage piles, or simply the material that missed the feed bunk. If it’s gotten wet and been sitting there a while, better check it. Spread this material to dry or remove it and be sure to place some of your Fly Predators near here.
Dr. Bill ClymerFort Dodge Animal Health, Dr. Roy EllisPrairie Pest Management, Dr. Kevin FloateAgriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Dr. Robert M. Miller, DVM, Dr. William QuarlesBio-Integral Resource Center. All illustrations 2006 Dr. Roy Ellis.
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