Stable flies also known as “biting flies” can deliver a painful bite. They bite people, livestock, pets and other mammals. The bites may feel like a needle stab and typically occur around the ankles and lower parts of the legs. Stable flies are very persistent when searching for a blood meal. They require the blood meal for reproduction. Stable flies overwinter in breeding sites and emerge the following spring as adults.
Identification of the Stable Fly
Size: About 1/4 inch long
Stable Flies are sometimes confused with House Flies. The Stable Fly is easily distinguished from other common domestic flies by the long, pointed proboscis which extends in front of the head.
Both males and females use this proboscis to pierce the skin of a host and suck their blood. The bite is painful enough to disrupt outdoor activities such as picnics when stable flies are numerous.
Stable Fly Control and Elimination
- Stable flies are commonly found near stables, but also along the seashore and near dog kennels.
- Stable flies prefer to feed outside and are rarely found feeding or resting indoors.
- Since Stable Flies breed in livestock waste, removal of the breeding source is the best method to eliminate them. Remove other breeding areas like wet straw and mulch and all rotting organic matter.
Stable Fly Control Products
Residual Insecticides: An easy way to eliminate existing stable flies is to find their resting area and spot spray with a residual sprays insecticide such as LambdaStar UltraCap 9.7 or Cyper WSP. Stable flies rest on sides of barns and buildings, inside and outside animal stalls and around fences.
Contact Aerosol Sprays: You can use sprays that contain pyrethrin for immediate results, giving a quick knockdown. Pyrethrins are non-residual and only last for a short time. Suggested sprays for stable flies are PI Contact, CB 80, or PT 565. We also carry a line of professional fogging materials and foggers.
Suggested Fly Traps
Place fly traps near the stable fly breeding areas. We suggest sticky fly traps such as the Flies Be Gone Fly Trap, Catchmaster Disposable Fly Trap, or the Advantage Fly Trap. Do not place fly traps near places where people congregate to avoid bites.
Biology of Stable Flies
Stable fly eggs are laid in places such as decaying hay, straw, fermenting weeds, grass and seaweed. The eggs hatch after 1 to 3 days into yellowish-white maggots / larvae. These larvae pass through 3 instars and pupate in the last larval skin. In warm weather the pupal stage lasts 6 to 20 days. The average adult lives about 20 days.
The early morning and late afternoon hours are commonly peak feeding times.Peak activity usually occurs during warm periods following rainfall.
Stable flies like to feed on the lower parts of the hosts such as the legs and belly of horses and cattle.Cattle, horses, and people are typically bitten on the legs while dogs and swine are bitten on the ears.
Even though, the female requires a blood meal in order to lay eggs, both male and female feed on blood.
About 60 – 120 eggs are laid at a time with some flies surviving to lay two or more batches of eggs.Eggs hatch in less than 24 hours to produce larvae. The larvae feed and grow beneath the surface of the breeding material.