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Insecticide susceptibility of field populations of stable flies, tomoxys calcitrans (L.), was assayed using 3 exposure techniques: treated filter papers, treated glass petri dishes, and topical applications. Both topical applications and residual exposure to treated glass surfaces were suitable for testing susceptibility of stable flies to permethrin, stirofos, or methoxychlor. Residues on filter papers yielded inconsistent results with stirofos and methoxychlor. Significant concentration-mortality regression lines were generated with permethrin residues on filter papers, but ~1,000 times more insecticide was required to produce a toxic response when compared with permethrin residues on glass. Because of higher variability in response and the greater amount of insecticide required, residues on filter papers do not appear appropriate to test insecticide susceptibility in stable flies. Paired comparisons of field (F) and susceptible (S) stable flies resulted in field to susceptible ratios significantly >1.0 only when the flies were treated topically, which suggests that topical application is more sensitive than residues on glass for the insecticides tested. Topical treatment with permethrin resulted in one FS(LD90) f 1.8-fold. Topical treatment with methoxychlor resulted in one FS(LD90) of 3.4-fold. However, the magnitude of these ratios is not larger than the significant differences observed within the susceptible laboratory colony from one generation to another. Intense exposure to insecticides is not shown to have occurred in these field populations, indicating that the observed differences are the result of natural variation among stable fly populations and unrelated to prior selection with insecticides.