The stable fly, Stomoxys calcitrans (L.), historically has been a pest of livestock in confined operations but seldom of animals on pastures or rangelands. In the past two decades, however, S. calcitrans has become a major pest of cattle and horses on pastures in the midwestern United States. Although there usually is an overabundance of diverse stable fly and house fly, Musca domestica L., larval habitats in confined livestock operations, no larval habitat for stable flies has been clearly identified in the pasture–range environment. Because the winter feeding of hay in round bales results in significant amounts of hay wastage that when mixed with manure, might develop into suitable larval habitats, this study evaluated these areas as developmental sites for the abundant stable flies in pastures. There was a trend for fly traps placed in the vicinity of hay feeding sites to catch more stable flies than those placed distant from these sites. Estimates of stable flies emerging from these sites ranged from 102 to 1225 flies per core sample (25 by 25 cm). The mean number of adult stable flies during May and June 2001 through 2004 correlated negatively with the average minimum temperatures during the preceding winter (November–February) but not with rainfall or temperatures during the spring. These results support the hypothesis that winter feeding sites of hay in round bales are the main source of stable flies in pastures.
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Vol. 98 • No. 6