S1030: Flies Impacting Livestock, Poultry and Food Safety
Statement of Issues and JustificationMuscoid flies are among the most important pests in livestock and poultry production systems. Two species in particular, house fly (Musca domestica) and stable fly (Stomoxys calcitrans), are responsible for damage and control costs in excess of a billion dollars per year in the United States. In addition to the direct damage these flies inflict upon livestock, their presence as a byproduct of confined livestock and poultry operations has been repeatedly cited as a common nuisance, especially when the flies enter the vicinity of human habitations and urban environments. Law suits, zoning limitations and animosity between farmers and homeowners have resulted (Thomas and Skoda 1993). Both of these flies use manure or manure mixed with vegetative materials for larval developmental sites. In spite of their ubiquitous presence, importance as pests, and association with diseases of humans and livestock, our knowledge of the biology of these species is seriously wanting and available control technologies remain inadequate.
House flies are considered to be the #1 nuisance pest associated with dairy and other confined animal operations (Geden and Hogsette 1994, Hinkle and Hickle 1999). These flies are capable of carrying more than 65 disease organisms that affect humans and animals (Greenberg 1971) such as the virulent Escherichia coli strain O157:H7 (Sasaki et al. 2000). In poultry production, house flies can transmit Salmonella among flocks; and the spotting of eggs with fly specks, reduces the eggs' market value. Stable flies recently surpassed horn flies as the most important arthropod pest of cattle production (Campbell et al. 2001a). With their painful bites, they can reduce weight gains of cattle on finishing rations up to 20% (Campbell et al. 1977). Kunz et al. (1991) estimated that stable flies caused $432 million dollars in losses, primarily to confined livestock, in the US. Campbell et al. (2001a) indicated that stable flies have emerged as primary pests of pasture cattle as well, doubling their economic impact.
In 2003, the Northeastern IPM Center Livestock and Field Crop working group created a list of prioritized needs (http://northeastipm.org/work_livepriority.cfm). The group indicated that the "development of new integrated management of key pests of livestock and poultry in confined and pasture settings" was a top priority with specific reference to "stable fly breeding and migration in pasture systems" and "fly control methods for pasture and feedlot situations." Ten of the working group's 17 assessed needs and seven of the top 10 directly referred to muscoid flies. The 3 objectives of this proposal address 10 of the 17 needs. Packaging the information derived from this proposal for delivery to the stakeholders will address 2 additional priorities of this working group. Similarly, a 1994 Pest Control Survey in Texas indicated that house flies and stable flies were significant pests (Hall et al. 1996).
The proposed research is technically feasible and the expertise to accomplish the objectives of this project exists within the university and USDA-ARS systems. However, expertise is widely dispersed with few states having more than one livestock entomologist and many having none. A Multistate project will serve to coordinate this research effort, maximizing synergy and minimizing duplicated effort. Given the dispersal potential for these flies as well as varying cultural and climatic conditions throughout North America, multistate collaborations are necessary to address many of the issues of biology and control of muscoid flies.
Successful completion of this project will provide a better understanding of the interactions between livestock production systems and the life cycles of pestiferous flies. Exploitation of these interactions will provide economically feasible and environmentally friendly technology for reducing the impact of flies on livestock production and human health. The project will provide quantitative data to analyze fly borne spread of pathogens from animal production systems into the urban environment and the ability to assess the risk of fly-borne illness associated with different production techniques and distances from production facilities. The project will develop new control technologies for muscoid flies. These technologies will be disseminated to producers to reduce the abundance of muscoid flies thereby increasing the health and quality of livestock and reducing their economic impact.
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