Date of this Version
Adult stable flies (Stomoxys calcitrans L.) are known to feed readily on sugars in the laboratory. However, little is known concerning the extent of stable fly sugar feeding in wild populations. We examined the frequency of sugar feeding in stable flies collected on Alsynite sticky traps in rural and urban environments. In addition, stable flies were visually examined to determine whether blood was present in the gut. In laboratory studies, sugars were detectable with the anthrone technique in stable flies for ~3 d after being imbibed, and blood could be visually detected in the gut for 24-48 h after feeding. Twelve percent of the field-collected flies had detectable sugar with a higher percentage of the urban flies having sugar fed than the rural flies, 21% and 8%, respectively. Female flies sugar fed at a slightly higher rate than males, 13% versus 11%, respectively. Less than 1% of the field-collected flies had blood in their guts. The frequency of observable blood was slightly higher in flies collected in an urban environment compared with those collected in a rural environment and did not differ between male and female flies. The number of flies with both blood and sugar was slightly higher than would be expected based on the frequencies of each alone. Seasonal patterns of both sugar feeding and blood feeding were similar in the rural and urban environments; both peaked in the early summer, May to mid-June, and dropped through the summer and fall. Sugar feeding in the urban environment increased again in October.