Stable fly (Diptera: Muscidae) populations in south central Ontario, Canada, first occur on dairy farms in late spring, grow exponentially throughout the summer, and are frozen back each autumn. We examined the extent of overwinter persistence on 22 dairy farms in a 55- by 60-km region north of Lake Ontario that spans four climatic zones. Our overwintering sampling of larval habitat identified three farms located in the southern section of the study region as potential overwintering refugia. Using sticky trap catches to identify the timing of first spring appearance at each farm, we then tested two models of how local farm populations are reestablished annually:1) stable flies disperse from local climatic refuges and colonize neighboring farms (the local source model); and 2) stable flies are carried into the study region by frontal weather systems (the distant source model). The timing of when stable flies first occurred at these farms supported a local source of dispersing colonists from a small proportion of local refuge farms. We discuss our results in terms of how yearly fluctuation in climate would affect refuge farm density in the region and how this, in turn, would shift the recolonization dynamic. Implications for controlling stable flies also are discussed.
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Vol. 102 • No. 2