Stable Flies: How to Control Them. Page: 2
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skin of animals and suck blood. The
house fly does not bite; its mouth parts
are soft and broad on the tip. The
biting tip of the stable fly's beak protrudes
forward and well beyond its
As the fly feeds, its abdomen swells
and turns reddish. When satisfied, it
pulls out its beak and flies sluggishly to
some nearby object, where it rests and
digests its meal.
The stable fly: Adult female engorged
with blood; side view. Greatly enlarged.
The stable fly: Adult female as seen
from above. Greatly enlarged.
The stable fly also resembles the
horn fly, another livestock pest, but the
stable fly is the larger. Another difference
is this: When it alights on an
animal, and when resting, the stable fly
stands with its head up; the horn fly,
usually found only on cattle, rests with
its head downward and with wing tips
less widely spread.
THEIR FEEDING HABITS
Adult stable flies feed only on blood.
When only a few are attacking an
animal, they usually concentrate on the
lower portion of the forelegs. When
they are abundant, however, they attack
any part of the animal.
They feed by inserting the beak and
sucking blood. Most of the torment
suffered by animals apparently results
from the irritation produced when the
beak is inserted. After blood extraction
has begun, animals seem to suffer
After feeding, stable flies often rest
on the walls of barns and on trees in
and around barnyards. They are
found on the sunny side when it is cool
and in the shade when it is hot. They
do not enter buildings freely, especially
if the interior is rather dark.
In warm weather the fly digests
blood quickly and may feed more than
once during a day. In cool weather
digestion takes a day or longer.
HOW THEY DEVELOP
Like all other flies, the stable fly has
four stages in its life cycle-egg, larva
(or maggot), pupa, and adult.
The flies breed in wet straw, manure,
vegetable and fruit refuse, peanut
litter, and (along the coast) marinegrass
windrows. The eggs, minute and
creamy white, are laid in these moist,
fermenting substances. They hatch in
1 to 3 days.
As soon as they are hatched, the
larvae begin feeding on bits of moist
straw or other material comprising the
breeding place. When hatched, the
larvae are translucent and not easily
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United States. Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine. Division of Insects Affecting Man and Animals. Stable Flies: How to Control Them., book, May 1953; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1556/m1/2/: accessed October 14, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.