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Fly Parasites

Introduction to Fly Control

In nature, wherever there are animals there are flies and these local fly populations undergo natural fluctuations. When the weather is warm and moist, high concentrations are the norm, while cold and dry conditions typically induce lower populations. Wherever livestock is kept in greater than natural populations, there will be similar high populations of flies and these have been the focus of ongoing fly control programs.

High concentrations of flies cause both physical annoyances to humans and livestock, as well as posing a significant health concern. The most common flies found in agricultural settings can be classified into two groups. The first group is comprised of flies that are annoying. These can be a general nuisance as well as a vector for disease. Several studies have shown negative economic impacts on agricultural operations including lower meat, milk and egg production that are directly attributable to the fly related stress on the livestock. The second group consists of biting flies which can be both annoying and a vector for blood borne diseases. Medical journals have documented the transmission of numerous pathogens and diseases by both types of flies.

It is the goal of every agricultural operation to develop an cost effective solution for fly control. As with the evolution of any sustainable solution, one must first fully understand the problem and in this case acquire a comprehensive knowledge of flies including what species of flies are present, life (reproductive) cycle, as well as behaviour and environmental factors that promote survival. While this might seem like a daunting task, most fly species have similar biology so control programs can begin with the same common assumptions and then each program can be fine tuned to the needs of the individual operation.

Fly Biology

Flies are cold-blooded and require external heat in order to fly around and reproduce. Temperature is one of the cornerstones in the life cycle of flies. The warmer it is (up to about 45 degrees C) the faster flies can reproduce. At 21 degrees C (70 F) the developmental cycle (egg to adult) of house and stable flies is about 14 days. If the temperature is cooler, the cycle is longer and if the temperature is warmer, the cycle will be shorter. This helps to explain why more flies are around during the summer than the early spring. A female fly can lay about 900 eggs over a one month period and these eggs hatch into larvae (maggots) in about two days. During this phase the larvae are aggressively eating enough food (manure or compost) to develop into adults. The larvae then changes into the pupae stage of development and it is in this stage that the fly is transforming from a larva into an adult.

The pupa does not feed but uses nourishment from the larval stage to complete its transformation. The adult fly emerges from the pupae and starts the life cycle over again. Mathematicians have calculated that under ideal conditions, and if every offspring survived, one female fly could produce enough flies to cover the earth to a depth of 50 feet in one summer. In reality, there are natural controls that make sure that only a relatively low number (less than 5%) of the flies survive. Consider also, that at any one time, only about 15-20% of the fly population is in the adult stage. The rest of the population is in the larval or pupal stages. This factor is key in understanding how effective fly management can be achieved.

The second cornerstone of fly reproduction is food. Around farms this is mainly the manure and composting vegetation (including livestock feed). The amount of manure will depend on the size and number of animals and while it is impossible to control the amount of manure, there are several methods to handle manure that can effectively reduce the fly populations.

The third cornerstone is moisture. Fly larvae normally only reproduce in matter that has 35-70% moisture content. This is why in a rainy year there normally will be more flies than in a dry year. Or in some parts of the country, the summers are very humid; this will promote more fly production than arid regions. There are several techniques available to manipulate moisture content and reduce the fly population.

There are five species of fly parasites:

1. Muscidifurax Raptor
2. Muscidifurax Raptorellus
3. Muscidifurax Zaraptor
4. Spalangia Endius
5. Spalangia Cameroni


Flies cannot be eliminated, but their numbers can be kept at a tolerable level.

The goal of every fly control program is to reduce the fly population to a level that is acceptable. Temperature, food and moisture are critical to the reproductive cycle and understanding how these elements are required during the life cycle of the flies is important in developing an effective fly control program.

It would then seem that the most effective approach to controlling the fly population would be to attack both the adult flies and the developing flies. An approach that is utilized in targeting numerous insect pests is called Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and it consists of three main approaches to controlling pests. As the name implies there is an integration of cultural controls, biological controls and chemical controls to achieve a very effective pest control program. In the controlling of flies, an integrated approach can be developed to address adult populations, developing flies, as well as the food and moisture components of the equation.

We strongly recommend using a method that targets adult flies as part of your fly control program.

Please contact us for a NO OBLIGATION discussion on a customized fly control program utilizing fly parasites (1-888-668-7264).

We strongly recommend using a method that targets adult flies as part of your fly control program.

Please contact us for a NO OBLIGATION discussion on a customized fly control program (1-888-668-7264). We are not after a fast sell, but rather we hope to have a long-term satisfied customer.

Our business has grown across Canada virtually by word of mouth and we welcome all inquiries. Our commitment to you is to create the BEST, MOST ECONOMICAL AND LONG-TERM BIOLOGICAL FLY CONTROL PROGRAM.

Recent Client Testimonials

We have been using fly predators every Summer for the past 7 or 8 years. I feel very fortunate to have found a reliable, cost effective local source of bugs. I can wholeheartedly recommend not only the bugs themselves as a very effective, environmentally friendly part of a fly prevention strategy, but also Good Bugs as a very reliable and friendly source of predators.

Amanda J Booth - DVM, MVetSc, Dip. ACVIM

Our neighbour was using fly parasites last year and raved about how they worked. We did notice fewer flies last year but thought it was just a natural occurrence. We decided to try the parasites this year and WOW. The flies at both of our barns are so low you hardly notice them - not like in previous years. We have been converted!

Alison Y. - Farmer