Date of this Version
Stable flies are among the most important pests of cattle and other livestock in North America. Their biting and annoyance reduce weight gains in cattle costing producers more than $1 billion per year in production losses. The factors that control population levels of this fly are poorly understood. A better understanding of these factors would permit producers to make informed decisions on when and where to implement control procedures based upon predicted populations levels. In this study, we evaluated the relationships between stable fly population levels and climatic variables. Temperature was the most important variable for the rise and fall in stable fly populations in Spring and Fall respectively. However, reduced precipitation appeared to be the primary factor involved in the mid-summer decline in stable fly numbers. Winter temperatures, November-February, had a significant effect on the intensity of early-summer stable fly populations. This is presumably due to increased feeding of cattle during colder winters producing more residue at the winter feeding sites resulting in larger stable fly populations. Models are presented which will help producers predict stable fly populations at least in eastern Nebraska. These models will need to be tested in other locations to determine their applicability to other regions of the United States.